Helmet manufacturer H&H Sports Protection has issued a recall for a specific batch of its VCAN V531 model of half-helmets. NHTSA recalls for motorcycle helmets are rarer than those for motorcycles, but they do occasionally occur and are important to be aware of.
According to the manufacturer, it has only ever been sold via Amazon. The NHTSA safety recall report states that there was one key manufacturing change made over the course of the lifetime of the V531 helmet in the factory. Initially, the retention system that anchored the straps into the helmet was sewn in with five passes.
By contrast, the affected batch, which was manufactured from October 1, 2017, through November 30, 2017, only used three passes to sew the straps in place. The manufacturing date is displayed on the warning label. The NHTSA report states that a total of 4,218 helmets were potentially involved, and estimated the defect rate to be a rather alarming 100 percent.
Under the “Description of the Safety Risk” heading, the full text in the NHTSA report makes the danger plain. “Helmet retention system may fail to protect the rider and could be unsafe to wear for any kind of protection.”
According to H&H, sewing procedures for this batch were ‘streamlined’ to meet a production deadline. This recall affects all sizes for this batch: XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL helmets. The manufacturer also states in the recall report that it suspended all sales of this model as of July 10, 2018, and also contacted Amazon to suspend sales. While you can’t find this VCAN model for sale on Amazon at the moment, a quick Google reveals that at least one reseller is still attempting to sell this lid for $32.49.
Per the recall schedule, notifications will be sent to all customers who purchased this helmet through Amazon no later than January 8, 2020. All helmets affected should be returned to Amazon so that they can be destroyed. Additionally, any helmet stock remaining at Amazon will be returned to the manufacturer for destruction. H&H will issue full refunds for both product costs and shipping. Owners may contact H&H Sports at 1-626-444-0107.
It’s worth noting that consumer news site Consumer Affairs wrote about a very similar VCAN V531 helmet recall through H&H Sports in 2018. The description of the defect is very similar, but the total number of affected helmets listed is a slightly higher 4,314. At the time of that site’s writeup, that particular recall was expected to begin in August 2018. It’s unclear whether this is the recall that NHTSA just issued at the end of October 2019 or an additional, earlier recall for a very similar problem.
I don’t need to tell you how important a good helmet is to protecting your head in the event of a crash. How you choose to protect your head is your business—but a helmet is one place where you don’t want to cheap out. Both you and the people who care about you are counting on you making good choices when it comes to protecting your head.