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OMGWTFBBQ
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Discussion Starter #1
Based on seeing a bunch of helmet recommendation threads recently (here and on other boards) I'd like to ask a question...

Why would anyone want to use, let alone buy, an M rated helmet for use in a car? In the unlikely event that you were to need it, as your car starts to roll and tumble towards the nearest pole would saving a few bucks by buying an M helmet seem like such a good deal anymore? Good helmets aren't dirt cheap, but they aren't prohibitavely expensive either (certainly not compared to what regularly tracking your car will wind up costing you over a period of time). The difference between a cheap M helmet and a quality SA helmet is probably in the same neighborhood as a tire.

I don't know...Even though I may have suggested it in the past, after thinking about it a little more, I just don't see the wisdom of using M helmets in cars.
 

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Gone Motoring!
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Yup, do not cheap out on your brain bucket! I got a Bieffee SA2000 one for a little less than $300, not bad at all. Costs less than a track weekend.

but for beginners, it's very unlikely to roll over (in a bimmer) or catch fire, but yeah, it *might* happen.

--Andrew
 

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blubb blubb blubb
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You have a point. That was my attitude- until I started looking for a helmet. Around here, there are a zillion motocycle shops with lots of M helmets. Car places with SA helmets are pretty tough to find. But I'll keep looking until I find an SA helmet that I like. I think I found a place that has what I want.
 

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This weekend at the local dragstrip a built Honda bit the wall, the impact split the drivers helmet in half...he was ok, car is a total.

A helmet is not the place to pinch pennies
 

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Why would anyone assert that a M helmet is less worthy?

Maybe you could educate me. Why would you assert that a M helmet is less worthy in a crash situation than an SA helmet. I believe that the SA has only one advantage - fire resistance. If you are worried about fire, then maybe you need a SA Helmet. But for the crash where the helmet splits - what evidence is there of any advantage for the SA? M helmets are cheaper because the sales numbers are vastly greater than SA - which are specialty items. JMHO.

No Big Science (BS for short) - any facts would be appreciated.
 

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blubb blubb blubb
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Re: Why would anyone assert that a M helmet is less worthy?

abqhudson said:
Maybe you could educate me. Why would you assert that a M helmet is less worthy in a crash situation than an SA helmet. I believe that the SA has only one advantage - fire resistance. If you are worried about fire, then maybe you need a SA Helmet. But for the crash where the helmet splits - what evidence is there of any advantage for the SA? M helmets are cheaper because the sales numbers are vastly greater than SA - which are specialty items. JMHO.

No Big Science (BS for short) - any facts would be appreciated.
My understanding of it- and this might be just heresay- is that there are 2 differences between M and SA. 1. The SA's must be fire resistant. 2. The SA's are designed to take a stronger, sharper impact, like a hit to the rollbar of your car.

1. makes sense to me. If you're in a motorcycle accident, there is not as muich danger of being caught in a fire.

2. does not make too much sense. If I was in a motorcycle crash, I'd want as much protection as possible.

Anyone out there know the truth on this?
 

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I like cookies.
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Re: Why would anyone assert that a M helmet is less worthy?

abqhudson said:
Maybe you could educate me. Why would you assert that a M helmet is less worthy in a crash situation than an SA helmet. I believe that the SA has only one advantage - fire resistance. If you are worried about fire, then maybe you need a SA Helmet. But for the crash where the helmet splits - what evidence is there of any advantage for the SA? M helmets are cheaper because the sales numbers are vastly greater than SA - which are specialty items. JMHO.

No Big Science (BS for short) - any facts would be appreciated.
SA helmets are tested for multiple impacts, MA helmets are tested for one big one...
 

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OMGWTFBBQ
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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Re: Why would anyone assert that a M helmet is less worthy?

nate328Ci said:


SA helmets are tested for multiple impacts, MA helmets are tested for one big one...
I think that the Ms are also tested for sliding. They also need larger vision ports.

The Snell certification specs can be found here

M2000
SA2000

I just found them and haven't read them yet.
 

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A quick comparison.

Thanks to Clyde, I did a quick comparison of the M and SA impact testing requirements. They are vritually identical except that the SA helmet is impact tested against a roll bar of 5.0 cm diameter in addition to the normal tests against a flat anvil, an edge of 6.3mm width and a hemispherical anvil of 48 mm (4.8 cm - note similarity to the roll bar anvil). I have no way to evaluate the importance or significance of the roll bar test, but my observation is that it is very similar to the hemispherical anvil and most cars at Drivers School or autoX do not have roll bars anyway.

Why buy an M helmet? Because you can go and find one that fits your lumpy head instead of buying one mail order and hoping that it fits. And, because they are cheaper. My paraphrase - based on my memory of a few years back - the most extensive study of helmets "in use" that I am aware of - the Hurt study - found cheap helmets to be as effective as expensive helmets.

If you are worrried about fire go SA.
 

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I like cookies.
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Re: A quick comparison.

abqhudson said:
Thanks to Clyde, I did a quick comparison of the M and SA impact testing requirements. They are vritually identical except that the SA helmet is impact tested against a roll bar of 5.0 cm diameter in addition to the normal tests against a flat anvil, an edge of 6.3mm width and a hemispherical anvil of 48 mm (4.8 cm - note similarity to the roll bar anvil). I have no way to evaluate the importance or significance of the roll bar test, but my observation is that it is very similar to the hemispherical anvil and most cars at Drivers School or autoX do not have roll bars anyway.

Why buy an M helmet? Because you can go and find one that fits your lumpy head instead of buying one mail order and hoping that it fits. And, because they are cheaper. My paraphrase - based on my memory of a few years back - the most extensive study of helmets "in use" that I am aware of - the Hurt study - found cheap helmets to be as effective as expensive helmets.

If you are worrried about fire go SA.
Thanks, this is what I thought too. I bought an inexpensive MA helmet :angel:
 

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Automotive Monomaniac
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I bought an "M" helmet.

First, it has a larger eyeport - critical for Driving Schools when there is other traffic around you.

Second, I could try it on at the shop - critical for fit.

Third, my 330i did not have a rollbar - and is unlikely to catch fire.

The only idiots are those who get open-face helmets (funny, most BMWCCA Driving Events rent open-face helmets to novices). If you are getting a helmet, get a full-face!
 

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Gone Motoring!
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Emission said:
I bought an "M" helmet.

First, it has a larger eyeport - critical for Driving Schools when there is other traffic around you.

Second, I could try it on at the shop - critical for fit.

Third, my 330i did not have a rollbar - and is unlikely to catch fire.

The only idiots are those who get open-face helmets (funny, most BMWCCA Driving Events rent open-face helmets to novices). If you are getting a helmet, get a full-face!
well, open-face helmets are good for instructors, so they won't have to yell to you out at the track. most of them got a microphone but still open face is more convenient.

--Andrew
 

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OMGWTFBBQ
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Discussion Starter #13
Emission said:
I bought an "M" helmet.

First, it has a larger eyeport - critical for Driving Schools when there is other traffic around you.
The M is required to have a large eyeport, but the SA isn't prevented from having a large eyeport. Personally, I don't have any complaints WRT this in my Bell M2 SA. I did try on others that noticably limited my view though.

Second, I could try it on at the shop - critical for fit.
Absolutely. There aren't many local shops around here that carry SA helmets. If there weren't I would have done the best I could at guessing what size of what particular helmet would fit, ordered it from wherever had the most generous return policy and dealt with ordering and returning until I got the one that fit. That's just me, though, and I'd go the extra mile to protect my head...no matter whether anything in there is worth protecting.
 

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OMGWTFBBQ
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Discussion Starter #14
Re: A quick comparison.

abqhudson said:
Thanks to Clyde, I did a quick comparison of the M and SA impact testing requirements.
After reading through the two things that I linked to above, my feelings on the matter have changed. I probably wouldn't have started this thread, but I did still buy an SA if I was helmet shopping today.

The other advantage to buying an SA helmet would be that you wouldn't be f'ed at a track event that requires an SA helmet. :yikes:
Why buy an M helmet? Because you can go and find one that fits your lumpy head instead of buying one mail order and hoping that it fits. And, because they are cheaper.
My comments above about mail order and fitting.

The price difference is so minimal in total dollars vs what it might do for me that I wouldn't be thinking about price at all. Obviously, not everyone feels the same way.

My paraphrase - based on my memory of a few years back - the most extensive study of helmets "in use" that I am aware of - the Hurt study - found cheap helmets to be as effective as expensive helmets.
What I remember about M helemts the last time I went shopping for one (almost 15 years ago), the more expensive ones generally had better ventilation and convience features and/or fancy graphcis. Sorta like the difference between a base model car and a fully optioned one. Not a lot of difference safety wise but a lot of difference in price, comfort and convience.
 

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into things retro
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For people that know they won't go to the track and want an affordable AutoX helmet, I posted a thread on the For Sale board with a location to a great deal on Bieffe B8s with an M2000 rating. :)
 

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M Mad
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Re: A quick comparison.

abqhudson said:
Thanks to Clyde, I did a quick comparison of the M and SA impact testing requirements. They are vritually identical except that the SA helmet is impact tested against a roll bar of 5.0 cm diameter in addition to the normal tests against a flat anvil, an edge of 6.3mm width and a hemispherical anvil of 48 mm (4.8 cm - note similarity to the roll bar anvil). I have no way to evaluate the importance or significance of the roll bar test, but my observation is that it is very similar to the hemispherical anvil and most cars at Drivers School or autoX do not have roll bars anyway.

One clarification, the SA roll bar test anvil is 5.0 cm in DIAMETER and 20 cm long. A pipe.

The hemispherical anvil is 48mm RADIUS, and is shaped like part of a ball 96 mm in diameter.

Very different shapes.

Also the SA tests requires 3 impacts on the roll bar anvil. The other anvil shapes are the same as the M helmets, two each flat and hemispherical, one edge..
 

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Another data point: I cannot speak for the BMWCCA Driving events/races, but the PCA club races require SA hemets - some PCA chapters require SA helmets even for Drivers Ed - M rated helmets are not allowed.
 

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into things retro
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It's a maze . . .

There is a lot of variations out there on safety standards and not just for helmets. LA BMW CCA will not allow roadsters without permanent roll bars (of a correct height) in track events, but they're okay for AutoX. TracQuest driving school at race tracks will take the roadsters with factory roll hoops (or 3 series conv. with roll over protection) and M helmets are okay. I think Driving Concepts will take the roadsters, but gotta have an SA helmet. :confused:
 

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M Mad
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Re: It's a maze . . .

scottn2retro said:
There is a lot of variations out there on safety standards and not just for helmets. LA BMW CCA will not allow roadsters without permanent roll bars (of a correct height) in track events, but they're okay for AutoX. TracQuest driving school at race tracks will take the roadsters with factory roll hoops (or 3 series conv. with roll over protection) and M helmets are okay. I think Driving Concepts will take the roadsters, but gotta have an SA helmet. :confused:
Bottom line is, get an SA2000 to make sure you can use it for all events.

BTW same in the East. No BMW CCA track event will allow a convertible without a real (race type) roll bar. Some will not allow them at all. Many commercial track events allow the factory roll bars.
 

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depends on the intended use . . .

I think for a lot of people, that is the correct approach (getting the SA 2000). But for people that only intend to autocross or can't take their car to a BMW CCA track event, why spend the extra money?
 
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