Bern Baker vs. Watts vs. Smith Maze - EPS or Hard Hat - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bern Baker vs. Watts vs. Smith Maze - EPS or Hard Hat

two part question, typically which is the better helmet

and eps vs. hard hat? i usually just ride, not too much in the park
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I like the concept of hardhat tech. My head feels much better after impacts compared to EPS. Love the look of the Brim on the Watts but no-brim fits better imo.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by snowklinger View Post
I like the concept of hardhat tech. My head feels much better after impacts compared to EPS. Love the look of the Brim on the Watts but no-brim fits better imo.
hardhats are called hardhats because they do not meet the standards for helmet testing (forgot what they're called, there are 2 major standards), and cannot legally be called helmets.

The EPS foam in helmets (and the proprietary foams that some companies use) is designed to protect your head against massive impacts, ie something that would split your skull. For example, landing headfirst onto a rail. Or a rock (like in Michael Schumacher's case - his helmet split in half but protected his skull).

Hardhats feel more comfortable because the liner is much softer than EPS foam - it's literally a cushion o your head. They won't protect your head in cases of a large impact, but they do a better job at cushioning your head from minor glancing blows.

Bottom line - hardhats cushion minor falls much better than EPS and leave your head feeling better, but EPS will save your life when you have a major accident whereas the hardhat will simply stop the pieces of your skull from flying too far

Both have their uses, so it really depends on what you are doing. If you're just riding smooth groomers a hardhat is probably all you need (and it'll feel much more comfortable too), but if you're jibbing, hitting jumps, bc and all then you should probably get a helmet.

Last edited by ThisIsSnow; 02-04-2014 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There's also the argument that even an EPS helmet wont save you over a certain level of impact. It would be good to see a graph showing the G-force level of impact protection offered by both, i imagine it would look like this:

Impact force: 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9
Hardhat....... |-------------|
EPS helmet.........|-----------------|

Where the EPS starts higher because below that level the hardness of the foam would transmit more force to your skull than a hardhat would (although that would not be a dangerous hit, it might still have you feeling uncomfortable).
One thing that scares me is the thought of hitting your head on something sharp - something which most hardhats would still be able to protect you from. Hitting your head hard on something flat is where EPS seems more beneficial.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Here's a simple guide to sports helmets:
http://www.thinkfirst.ca/documents/T...glish_2011.pdf
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ThisIsSnow View Post
hardhats are called hardhats because they do not meet the standards for helmet testing (forgot what they're called, there are 2 major standards), and cannot legally be called helmets.

The EPS foam in helmets (and the proprietary foams that some companies use) is designed to protect your head against massive impacts, ie something that would split your skull. For example, landing headfirst onto a rail. Or a rock (like in Michael Schumacher's case - his helmet split in half but protected his skull).

Hardhats feel more comfortable because the liner is much softer than EPS foam - it's literally a cushion o your head. They won't protect your head in cases of a large impact, but they do a better job at cushioning your head from minor glancing blows.

Bottom line - hardhats cushion minor falls much better than EPS and leave your head feeling better, but EPS will save your life when you have a major accident whereas the hardhat will simply stop the pieces of your skull from flying too far

Both have their uses, so it really depends on what you are doing. If you're just riding smooth groomers a hardhat is probably all you need (and it'll feel much more comfortable too), but if you're jibbing, hitting jumps, bc and all then you should probably get a helmet.
This is partiallytrue. Hardhats are made to stand up to multiple impacts. The testing system used for helmets doesn't allow for helmets to sustain multiple impacts, it's not that the helmet necessarily failed to protect against a level of impact, it's just that it's a different design. That being said the hardhat foam is technically meant for slighter lower impacts. However neither (and this goes for nearly all helmets with a few exceptions) are designed to prevent concussions and the like. As mentioned they are basically just designed to protect the exterior of your head. And if you hit your head hard enough to break through a hardhat design where a "helmet" might have just managed to stay together then I can assure you the brain damage is gonna be pretty traumatic either way and a helmet is gonna do little if any better to prevent it.

I was lucky enough to spend over a week in a coma after a bike fall (which also resulted in my 4th concussion) so I've started getting much more cautious. And despite being ultra conservative I only ride a hardhat and feel 100% confident in it's ability to provide maximum protection and would recommend either of them. Out of all my falls since I started using a helmet here's the breakdown of my head injuries: Hardhat: 0, Helmet: 2 concussions. I've smashed a hardhat on a rock boarding and flipped my mountain bike later in the same hardhat and it's survived both although I am going to replace it now as both falls were pretty solid... I don't know what it takes to shatter a hardhat but I have no desire to find out...
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lab49232 View Post
The testing system used for helmets doesn't allow for helmets to sustain multiple impacts, it's not that the helmet necessarily failed to protect against a level of impact, it's just that it's a different design.
Yes, the Brock foam used in Bern hardhats is designed for multi-impact use instead of the single-impact EPS foam. And yes, the testing system is single-impact (not exactly sure of the specifics, but it involves strapping the helmet to a dummy and dropping it onto a hard surface once). But you are wrong when you say that "it's not that the helmet necessarily failed to protect against a level of impact". ASTM/CE standards simply describe a certain level of impact that helmets must fulfill at least once. Hardhats by definition fail to protect against this level of impact the first time. If they could withstand the impact once, they could be marketed as "multi-impact helmets" instead of this "hardhat" name, which would make it sell even better. As an example, Pro-Tec developed their own multi-impact SXP foam that is certified ASTM/CE. Even with multi-impact capabilities, SXP foam is able to protect against the level of impact that ASTM/CE demands, which is something that the Bern hardhats cannot.


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neither (and this goes for nearly all helmets with a few exceptions) are designed to prevent concussions and the like.
Yup, this is where it gets tricky...
Concussion damage research is still in its infancy, and there are no helmets in the universe that can claim with solid scientific backing that they can reduce risk of concussion. Not even NFL-level football helmets can be marketed in that way. The force of a fall is only one variable in determining whether you get a concussion or a coma, it also depends on the direction of the fall, anatomical differences between individuals, the amount of rotational forces in the fall, etcetc.




Now for the non-scientific part...

The way I see it, tokyo_dom has the right idea, but i'd probably (subjectively) put it like this:

Impact force: 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9
Hardhat....... |-------------|
EPS helmet...............|-----------------|

Why? If you look at Bern hardhats, the layer of foam is pretty thin compared to some EPS helmets (hence the steezy look). This means that the Brock foam used in Bern hardhats is pretty badass in terms of deforming and rebounding since it provides much better cushioning for its thickness. However, it also means that Brock foam cannot protect against large impacts very well at all. If Brock foam were only slightly worse than EPS in terms of single-impact protection, then all Bern would have to do was to make their helmet padding thicker and it would pass the ASTM/CE tests, and they could market it as the ultimate "multi-impact helmet". It would be darned comfortable, multi-impact, and pass helmet certification - they would sell millions of those. The fact that they didn't do this means they couldn't get it to ASTM/CE certifications with a reasonable foam thickness.


I sound like i'm anti-hardhat, but i'm not - just wanted to correct some facts out there. Falling from a bike, for example, is unlikely to generate so much force to crack a hardhat or a helmet. Bike helmets are designed with commuters in mind, so the forces involved in low-speed collisions with cars are significantly higher. If you aren't doing anything too extreme, a hardhat will probably suit you fine!

Last edited by ThisIsSnow; 02-04-2014 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, the Brock foam used in Bern hardhats is designed for multi-impact use instead of the single-impact EPS foam. And yes, the testing system is single-impact (not exactly sure if the specifics, but it involves strapping the helmet to a dummy and dropping it onto a hard surface once). But you are wrong when you say that "it's not that the helmet necessarily failed to protect against a level of impact". Hardhats by definition fail the ASTM/CE level of impact protection. If they could withstand the impact once, they could be marketed as "multi-impact helmets" instead of this "hardhat" name, which would make it sell even better.
Very true when they developed the helmets years ago. But it's my understanding they no longer test the hardhats even as design has progressed with these tests each year as they aren't designed for this type of testing. I'm by no means saying they would pass today, just that they aren't made to and as a result are not even tested the way every new helmet is required to be tested to be called a helmet. It's all a conversation of brock foam vs EPS and it is true EPS is generally rated for higher impacts, I was not trying to debate that and I hope it didn't come off as such.

Quote:
Falling from a bike, for example, is unlikely to generate so much force to crack a hardhat or a helmet. Bike helmets are designed with commuters in mind, so the forces involved in low-speed collisions with cars are significantly higher.
I can assure you mountain bike falls are more than capable of destroying helmets or hardhats haha! But yes your facts are basically 100% correct and I wasn't trying to call any of them out, in fact I love anybody promoting helmet or hardhat use. Just trying to say hardhats have come a LONG way and in my years of dealing with falls and helmets, either retail or personal experience, is that if you fall hard enough to hurt yourself in a hardhat you injuries will be nearly if not equally as bad even if wearing a lid with a "helmet" rating. Basically you can't lose but for the love of God wear something! I learned the hard way that helmet or not it wont always protect you from a TBI but it does greatly lower the risks and I'm lucky I escaped alive before I learned this lesson.

BTW for those bikers out there looking for a new helmet, wait until you see what Smith has coming out this season! It's basically an open air foamless helmet that is super sick! Not sure what the rating is on it as I was too busy drooling to ask...
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Damn. So i did some googling to find out what the helmet testing standards are for snow sports, and among the top results was this article:
Encore: The Problem with Snowsports Helmets — Progress Made - The Backcountry Skiing Blog which basically says that none of the current helmet designs will really do much except offer protection against concussion in certain situations.

I wear a helmet for quite a few reasons, not all of them being about safety (i personally think they look good, and they prevent against yardsale type situations where you have to collect your goggles/beanie after a fall). But it seems that from a safety aspect, they wouldnt do much for your typical high speed hill bomber (bopping my head on the corner of a box seems to be one area where even my Sandbox will protect me)
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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whoops, guess my eyes skipped over the word "mountain" in your previous post mountain biking is some hardcore shit, i think it has the highest head injury rate of all extreme sports!

Speaking of drool-worthy helmets, this would be pretty darn comfortable... too bad it wouldn't work for snowboarding, i hate helmet hair
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