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What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber Helmet

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What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber Helmet

Postby Josh Lewis » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:53 am

Today I was excited that my mom gave me a new bicycle helmet for my delayed birthday present. I then got to thinking that I do very much need to replace my current climbing helmet considering the major cracks in it on many sides. My brother Michael for years has been using a bike helmet (heavy duty one) for climbing which makes me wonder if I could in my case. I mean it's rated for impact... right? But then again perhaps there is a story on this that I'm uneducated on. Any advice would be appreciated.

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And if I do have to get a new climber helmet, I was considering jumping on this deal:
http://www.campsaver.com/tracer-helmet? ... 5_c33cc767
My Websites: Alpine Josh · Alpine Ascent · AceMaps
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby paisajeroamericano » Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:48 pm

i'm not much of a biker, but i do use a multisport whitewater helmet (i forgot the company name) that i was assured would be appropriate not only for kayaking/rafting, but also for climbing/mountaineering - frankly, due to bulkiness/visibility, i prefer it for mountaineering than rock climbing, and it's kinda heavy for the backcountry... but thus far it has saved me from making a second purchase
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby mrchad9 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:25 pm

A bike helmet is designed to absorb energy (and essentially break in half) when you hit the pavement with your head. It isn't designed to deal with the different forces of a rock coming down and hitting you- the way a mountaineering helmet is. Why there is a difference I am not sure. Nor do I know if it is significant enough to actually matter. It might not be. But certainly you can mark a rope without concern with a sharpie if you want.
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:34 am

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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby Andrew Rankine » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:03 am

It depends upon the type of cycling helmet as well. I'm mostly riding road, but I wouldn't use a road helmet climbing...too light, too much ventilation on top of the head. Mountain bike helmets of a more "skating" design might work I guess. They have a hard shell and good protection that is not designed to crack in half with a hit (by the way, I've wrecked my bike, cracked helmets, and gone over the bars too many times now and I've never had a helmet crack completely in half).

But, the Petzl Meteor III+ is now CE certified for cycling as well as climbing and whitewater sports (if you are racing bikes in the US you can't race in that helmet though). I'd think the BD Vector and BD Tracer would have similar protection (but with CSPC standards in the US it will be more difficult to slap a cycling certified sticker on it in the US).

Petzl Meteor webpage: http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/mountaineering-and-climbing-helmets/meteor-iii
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby DanTheMan » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:54 pm

Maybe I am just clumsy, but there is no way a bike helmet could handle the abuse my climbing helmet takes. I bump into roofs, I strap it to my bag on the approach, it gets tossed around a lot, sometimes it rolls off a ledge while I'm eating lunch.
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby pvnisher » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:57 pm

There are many differences.
Bicycle helmets are thicker and constructed to crumple (like modern cars) due to the higher crash speeds (with a heavier mass (your flailing body)) behind it. They also have a thinner shell to better allow the EPS (foam) to deform and absorb the impact. They also have large vents for airflow. After one crash the foam is permanently deformed and the helmet should be discarded.

Climbing helmets come in a two main varieties. There's the "hard-hat" version which is just a hard shell suspended above your noggin by webbing. It's heavy, but very durable. These are the types you most often see in rental fleets. Often cheaper, but heavier. These work great for things that come flying down at you, but not as good for tumbles since the sides and back aren't well protected. These can take a beating.

Hybrid helmet combine a "hardhat"-style with some foam. Think Petzl Elios, with foam on top and just hardhat on the sides. The shell is thicker than a bicycle helmet, though. These are a blend, and thus come with some of the pros of a bike helmet (lighter, better impact protection) and pros of a hardhat (more durable). But they also have some of the cons (after a significant drop the foam will be deformed and will lose its protective qualities).

So should you use a bike helmet for climbing? Consider the following:

-You'll probably drop or significantly bump your helmet at some point. This, in all liklihood, could make it so that you have made your one helmet inoperable for both climbing and for biking: by trying to save a few bucks you ended up wasting a perfectly good bike helmet whilst climbing

-the vents could allow a pointy rock to pierce your skull and turn you into a crimson fountain

-the side impact of your bike helmet is probably better than a climbing helmet, though!

-How much is your head worth?

Not to pimp my own product (or rather, to pimp my own product), but I have one for sale that I'll sell for $35 (I pay shipping). New.
http://www.geartrade.com/item/266530/new-camp-rockstar-helmet-unused
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby Andrew Rankine » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:30 pm

With all of the helmets like the BD Tracer, BD Vector and Petzl Meteor out I don't think many of these climbing helmets are that much more durable than these. I see thicker, more durable shells on mountain bike/skate/freeride helmets than I do on the Petzl Elios/ BD Half Dome. I've also had lots of road helmets that have stood up to crashes and a lot of abuse, from Lazer, Giro and Uvex. For a road helmet, it's a bad idea because of the vents, but I think you could probably get away with a moutain bike/skate/freeride helmet without a problem.
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby pvnisher » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:59 am

Andrew Rankine wrote:I've also had lots of road helmets that have stood up to crashes and a lot of abuse


You may think that they stood up to a lot of abuse, but it is quite possible that they were degraded. If you have a crash in which you hit your head hard, you should toss that helmet or next time it likely won't be as effective. The damage isn't always visible.

Andrew Rankine wrote: I see thicker, more durable shells on mountain bike/skate/freeride helmets than I do on the Petzl Elios/ BD Half Dome....I think you could probably get away with a moutain bike/skate/freeride helmet without a problem.


Yes, those shells could be more durable (especially skate) because they are kinda intended to take low-speed, frequent beatings, and weight isn't as much a concern. I'm not saying you're wrong to use a helmet (or other gear) for a purpose for which it was not intended. It could work. But I also don't know all the specifics of different foams/shells/testing methodologies.

Are manufacturers out to profit from you by making different models and saying you can't cross over? Probably. Are they also built differently for different purposes? Yes.

For my brain, prudence trumps thrift. I've never had a brain injury and I'd like to keep it that way. How much is your head worth?
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby SeanReedy » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:14 am

^^^Exactly; get a good climbing helmet and save up for one of these invisible, airbag-like, cycling helmets:

Image

Only $600 per use (without add-ons), but very fashionable!
Demonstration and details here:
http://boombotix.com/skullyblog/2012/10/05/inflatable-bike-helmet-now-ready-for-purchase/
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby Tonka » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:42 pm

At some point vanity needs to come into play. You'll look like a dork climbing in a bike helmet.
Last edited by Tonka on Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby Gafoto » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:11 pm

The Petzl Meteor III is a Climbing, Biking and Kayaking helmet. They really aren't all that different.
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Re: What's the Key Differences between a Bike and Climber He

Postby dan2see » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:34 am

Gafoto wrote:The Petzl Meteor III is a Climbing, Biking and Kayaking helmet. They really aren't all that different.


My Petzl Meteor III looks so good, I don't have to climb anything anymore.
I just sit on a rock, and look cool.

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