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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Researching helmets and I want the best available protection. Reading about the helmet certifications, and so far finding some clarity about the differences, but some greyness too. Are ECE, SNELL, and DOT not different enough to matter? Or is there just enough difference to prevent becoming paralyzed, or worse?

I'm hoping for feedback that includes fact or opinion. Prefer fact, and I think personal experience is very valuable. I realize it may be difficult to qualify an opinion, but one from someone with good intentions is golden.

I've only read about Shoei RF-1200 and Schuberth S2 and C3. Schuberth does not seem to have a mechanism to safely remove the helmet from an unconscious victim like the Shoei's do. (This removal system was recently tested on me, and it worked very well.) I thought this feature was on all helmets. Prior to this I really did not care.

I'm not locked into any one brand, I just want the maximum head protection, short of staying home. Ideal helmet should be the safest, quietest, lightest, and best ventilated. It's a goal. In this discussion, cost doesn't matter. I've worn the Shoei RF-1100 and most recently a GT Air. Can't comment about the protection level of the RF-1100, but I still have it (7 to 8 years old) and I love the fit and comfort.
 

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When I was interested in the new Shoei Neotec II I was a bit concerned that it's only rated with a DOT sticker. Turned out SNELL wont even test a helmet with the tented visor that goes up into the helmet..
I bought it anyway and think it's the most comfortable helmet I've ever owned. I think sometimes we get carried away with what helmet is certified and it's best to get a name brand helmet that fits correctly. Also they recommend we replace the helmet after 5 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When I was interested in the new Shoei Neotec II I was a bit concerned that it's only rated with a DOT sticker. Turned out SNELL wont even test a helmet with the tented visor that goes up into the helmet..
I bought it anyway and think it's the most comfortable helmet I've ever owned. I think sometimes we get carried away with what helmet is certified and it's best to get a name brand helmet that fits correctly. Also they recommend we replace the helmet after 5 years.

Enzo and Rick

Thank you for the feedback. The test standard article lays it out very well. I was wondering if an $800 helmet is safer than a $200 helmet, if both meet the same standard(s)? I know marketing, distribution, and profit margin are factors. But what else might explain the price difference?
 

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Enzo and Rick

Thank you for the feedback. The test standard article lays it out very well. I was wondering if an $800 helmet is safer than a $200 helmet, if both meet the same standard(s)? I know marketing, distribution, and profit margin are factors. But what else might explain the price difference?
Noise insulation, weight among other things.......I use the Neotec 2 and the C4 Pro. Both are amazing helmets!
 

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I just started riding last July after a 20 year hiatus. Back then last helmet was an Arai Signet.

New into it I struggled with what style I wanted, so I bought three over the first six months back: HJC FG-17 street, then HJC CL-X7 motocross, then LS2 OHM advendure. All were around $100, all are Snell rated.

I'd say the difference is fit/finish, comfort, and noise. For the money HJC models I have are good, the LS2 does feel like a $100 helmet. If you buy online you need a place that has a good return policy as fit is most critical (oval vs. round and padding thickness).
 

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Researching helmets ... Are ECE, SNELL, and DOT not different enough to matter?

DOT is a safety standard which allows those salad bowls the hog riders use when required to wear something on their heads. I don't think it's worth much, but theoretically, your helmet must have that certification if you are riding in a state that requires helmets.
SNELL is a private foundation founded in 1957, and named after William "Pete" Snell, a popular sports car racer who died in 1956 of head injuries he received when the racing helmet he wore failed to protect his head. A group of friends, scientists, physicians, and others joined together to create a group that would promote research and education as well as test and develop standards to improve the effectiveness of helmets. It's worth noting there are sub-categories for helmets that recognize the risks of fire and/or smacking the roll cage in an automobile. They get S(port)A(uto) ratings. M(otorcycle) helmets are rated based on the kind of hazards one might expect when sent flying through the air by an impact while riding a bike; abrasion, puncture, impact. SNELL also has high performance ratings for helmets used in racing like Formula 1 where speeds are really high.
ECE is Economic Commission for Europe and has been around since 1982. Its the most widely used standard (about 50 countries) but isn't universally respected. It contains the minimum requirements for motorcycle (or scooter) helmets sold in Europe One nice feature of this standard is a test of the chin strap to see if the helmet will stay on your head in a crash. Recently, however the ECE 22 certification stopped testing for penetration which might seem like a big deal to you.
I wouldn't ride with a helmet having only DOT certification. At the same time, both SNELL and ECE are only saying the helmet has satisfied a minimum requirement for use on motorcycles. Likely, the quality and level of protection provided by more expensive helmets is better than that provided by cheaper ones, but YMMV.
One more thought. There is LOTS of evidence showing that full-face helmets (modular or fixed) provide substantially more protection than otherwise open helmets. In fact, the great majority of helmet strikes are on the visor/chin bar area. So, protect your grill girl!
Let us know what you decide to buy.
 

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The Shoei is a quality helmet. DOT and Snell ratings are different neither one better than the other. The Snell foundation was created to test and certify helmets primarily for racing and as such it has a more rigid shell and liner than a DOT helmet which is designed primarily for the speeds folks ride on the street. I has been shown that on lower speed collisions the Snell helmet could actually transmit more impact and for a longer time to the head than a DOT helmet. For this reason is is very difficult for a helmet to pass both Snell and DOT ratings. There are some, but no modular helmet such as the Shoei Neotec are not Snell helmets but are nonetheless very good lids.
Choose a helmet for the type of riding you are doing. If its primarily street, a DOT helmet is just fine.
 

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DOT and Snell ratings are different neither one better than the other.
I would disagree. As I understand Snell actually tests every helmet approved while DOT only a very small fraction, primarily manufacturers self-approve.

While a DOT helmet from a reputable manufacturer may be ok, Snell is held to a higher safety standard. A no name manufacturer with DOT? I wouldn't do it.
 

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Check out motovlogger RyanF9's helmet "review" here:

Go to the 4:40 mark if you don't want to watch the entire video; he goes over Snell, DOT and ECE standards. He's usually pretty spot on with his reviews as he isn't beholden to any particular vendor or manufacturer. He doesn't worry about pissing anyone off, he just gives his point of view, backing them up with some pretty funny tests most of the time!

He REALLY goes off on the DOT standards here:

For a two-man shop (he vlogs for Fortnine, which used to be Canada's Motorycle and it's just Ryan and his videographer), his scenic vlogs are just outstanding! Like being there without...actually being there! 😆
 

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Ryan's videos are excellent. There are differences. I'm perfectly happy with my Neotec II and the ECE standard it carries. If you need a DOT certification, Amazon has DOT stickers for a few bucks that will satisfy the local gendarmerie.

This falls in the same category as LED signals on eurobikes. Europe gets them, but the US bikes must have old school light bulbs because the standards haven't been changed in decades so LEDs doesn't meet the standard.
 
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