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Racer's Market 

Sun, 23 May 1999

Subject: Helmet information

Racer's Market,

I would like to know which of your helmets will give me the most safety and impact protection at highway speeds. Do you have a list or chart by impact rating so I can buy the safest one?

Many thanks,

From: "Sales" <sales@racersmkt.com>
Subject: Helmet information
Sun, 23 May 1999


All of our helmets are equally rated for auto racing, with the latest rating being Snell SA-95. These are for auto racing, and are not the same ratings as for motorcycles. FYI, with motorcycles, the assumption is that if you fall off your bike, your head will hit the pavement only once, then you slide. With automobiles, the possibility of rolling the car exists, so the ratings are done with the assumption that your head could hit multiple times. I think that the number of hits required for SA-95 is 5, but my memory could be wrong on that.

That having been said, though, the lighter, carbon-kevlar helmets are exceptional. They have been tested, and I have been told (by Stand21) that they were rated higher than Simpson, Bieffi, or Bell.

What application would you need your helmet for? Knowing that would be best to make recommendations. You may, or may not, need the protection of a helmet that costs as much as Stand21 helmet. You may, or may not, like the lightness of the Stand21 helmet enough to justify the cost compared to an inexpensive helmet that affords the same protection at lower speeds in an enclosed car.

Let me know what you need this for, and Nancy or I can be of more assistance in determining your specific needs. You can reach us by e-mail, of course, or call us at (770) 995-8771 or (800) 742-7224.


From: Steven Shmerler <sas@sasnet.com>
To: Sales <sales@racersmkt.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 23, 1999 8:04 PM
Subject: Re: Helmet information


Thanks for your quick reply. My use is for street riding.

I can't relate to just "hits" per se. What does this mean to me in a crash. Obviously, even if a helmet is rated at 1 hit, there must be a level of force for which the helmet will protect you and then a level after which it can't.

I guess the question is what is the absorption capabilities of your helmets if they're all the same. Is there a speed or impact after which the helmet doesn't protect your head anymore in an accident? I'm assuing there must be a point where the helmet stops working. I've always wondered about this.

Can you translate from "hits" to MPH. For example, will a 1 hit helmet protect my head at 20 MPH if I hit a tree? How about at 30?, 40? 50? At what point does the helmet stop being effective for me?

I'm I making better sense for you to answer?


From: "Sales" <sales@racersmkt.com>
To: "Steven Shmerler" <sas@sasnet.com>
Subject: Re: Helmet information
Sun, 23 May 1999

This is quite the topic for study! Helmets can take far more punishment than the human brain can. G-loads that may not destroy the helmet may none-the-less destroy the gray matter of the brain!

In automobile racing, helmets have hit concrete barriers (IRL, CART, F-1) at speeds of 200+ MPH, some with good outcomes and some not. The angle of impact, the neck protection, etc. all play a role in survivability.

In a street vehicle, it is unlikely that you have the rest of the structural supports needed to firmly hold you in place with proper support, as a proper race seat and 5-point harness will do.

The speed of impact if the helmet actually hits something is important. Likewise, the speed of impact with a heavy helmet when you don't hit something with your head is important, as the heavier helmet stretches your neck more, with more risk of neck injuries.

Thus, heavy helmets are "bad", and light helmets are "good", as long as each is equal in impact absorbtion. Thus, there is not a set speed at which a helmet becomes not "effective".

Since your head contains important parts, I do recommend get the best helmet you can afford. Call us tomorrow for further discussions if you like.


Tuesday, May 25, 1999


Yes, I've heard that helmets can be a trade off between padding your head and hurting your neck. I see your point how there is not a set speed at which a helmet becomes not "effective". This is just one of the reasons I'm trying to find the lightest and strongest helmet. But I also want to know after what speed, even with a helmet, is a head-on going to mame or kill me no matter what is on my head.

So maybe I'm asking the question wrong.

"What is the maximum impact your helmets can withstand before they break?"

If you cannot answer this in on the street terms, then please tell me in lab testing terms.

"How much impact do your helmets handle before they break in your compliance testing?

Many thanks,

Wed, 26 May 1999

All helmets tested for Snell SA-95 ratings use the same methodology to test: they drop a weight onto the helmet in a test rig, and measure the impact through sensors in the dummy's head. I do not recall exactly what the requisite weight is, but I'll bet you can look it up through Snell.

I'm afraid that is the best I can do in answering your question about impact!

I do think that the Stand21 helmet is an excellent helmet. I am not sure for your use, though, if it is what you will want or need... Feel free to call us to discuss things further.



I'm curious. With so little data about the helmet available, how can you recommend your Stand21? I would like to know by what criteria do you make that recommendation.

Thank you,

Sat, 29 May 1999


It is not that little data is available, rather, the data that is available is not really applicable to street use.

Likewise, the specifics of the data that are available are not scalable, in that one cannot say that just because a helmet (Brand X) passed a certain test, that if Brand Y also passed (but sustained more damage) that it is exactly equivalent to Brand X.

The Stand21 helmet passed the requisite tests to have a Snell 95 rating. In the Stand21 lab, the other competitor helmets were tested for comparison, and while they did pass the tests required for the Snell rating, the Stand21 fared better.

Perhaps a different analogy would be appropriate:

A Ferrari F-1 car is an excellent race car built to meet certain specific rules and requirements that the FIA has set for the class. I can say that it, and the Mercedes F-1 engined McLaren are both excellent race cars. For driving to the grocery store, though, I cannot necessarily say that the McLaren is better, or worse, than the Ferrari.. There is ample data to suggest that the McLaren is the better car than the Ferrari (without Schumacher in it), but that data does not translate into better grocery pickup performance...

As I said, I would be happy to discuss the relative merits of the Stand21helmet versus our competitors for racing applications. I do not know what other information would be of benefit in your analysis!


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