Motorcycle gear can be expensive, and I mean really expensive. The cost of gear is something a lot of new riders forget to take into account, especially when they’re balling on a budget. It can be all too easy to spend all your money on your first motorcycle – after all, that’s the fun part, right? However, when you finally have that bike sitting in your driveway, you may realize that you’re a couple hundred bucks short for a decent set of gear.
Indeed, the used market is a great place to go when it comes to gear. Great deals can be had on lightly used jackets, and maybe even gloves, boots, and pants, if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease to give them a deep clean. However, when it comes to helmets, you may want to look elsewhere. Sure, that shiny Arai helmet listed for $150 on Facebook Marketplace may seem like a steal, but just because it’s an authentic piece from one of the most reputable helmet brands in the world, doesn’t mean it’s still in good enough shape to protect your noggin’ in the event of a crash.
A couple of reasons why you’re better off buying a new helmet
There are quite a few reasons why you’re going to want to opt for a brand new helmet instead of a used one, even if it means that you’ll have to get a more entry-level option devoid of the fancy accouterments of its premium counterparts. For starters, helmets tend to have a shelf life. It’s generally agreed that a helmet works best before it hits five years of age, so anything older than five years has a big red flag on it.
Furthermore, there’s no way for you to know if a used helmet has been in an accident before. Sure, the shell may look pristine, but plastic, fiberglass, or even carbon fiber can be repaired and repainted – the inner workings consisting of the multi-density EPS liner, not so much.
So, when is it safe to buy a used helmet?
Only under a few, very specific circumstances would I say that it’s safe to buy or acquire a used helmet. First off, if you personally know the person you’re buying the helmet from – say they’re your relative, close friend, or colleague – and you can guarantee that the helmet never took a hit before, then sure, you’re probably safe buying that used helmet. Secondly, if you’re buying an old helmet simply as a collection piece, and have no intention of wearing the helmet at all, then by all means, snap up as many vintage helmets as you can find.
There are lots of affordable brand new helmets out there
At the end of the day, cutting corners when it comes to safety, especially helmets, is a recipe for disaster. As I mentioned earlier, buying used gear such as jackets and boots is not an issue. In fact, I have quite a number of used jackets in my collection, all of which I still regularly wear whenever I hit the road. When it comes to helmets, however, it’s always good to have the backing of a reputable gear shop, as well as the factory warranty of the manufacturer.
Lots of manufacturers make very affordable helmets that also conform to the latest industry standard when it comes to safety. My personal picks would be those from HJC, Shark, and Bell, brands which we’ve covered extensively and even written a bunch of reviews on here at RideApart. That said, if you’re shopping for a new helmet, it might help you out if you check some of those reviews out below.