In case you missed the recent NPR article on the subject, fake bike helmets are big business and a real threat to your safety – basically they almost certainly will leave you with a skull fracture, brain damage, or even dead in the event of a crash. So how can you be sure you are buying the real deal?
I reached out to Giro to get some tips for spotting counterfeit helmets and they basically said the number one thing you can do is buy from an authorized retailer, whether that’s from the brand’s online store, your local bike shop, or online retailers such as Competitive Cyclist.
At the same time, skip buying a used helmet as you have no way of knowing where the person originally bought the helmet, how it has been treated, and whether or not it has ever been in a crash.
A few other tips from Specialized as seen in the NPR article are as follows:
- Weight: Counterfeit helmets usually weigh less than the real version as they are made of cheap plastic, less foam, and lack the reinforcement roll cage or the internal skeleton that holds the helmet together upon impact.
- Price: You may think you are getting a great deal on the helmet you want but most likely you are simply about to purchase a fake one.
- Specialized says that fakes often have markers relating to European standards but do not carry the interior sticker that indicates the helmet meets the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
- Check the seller: If buying from Amazon, be wary of any product not shipping directly from Amazon or from a U.S. seller. And you may want to skip eBay. While it’s great for some cycling items, helmets are an issue. Specialized has a dedicated team monitoring almost a hundred different ecommerce sites and noted that in the helmet category on eBay there were 34,582 listings for people selling directly from China to the United States — all the helmets counterfeit.
- If the helmet says Asian sizing and doesn’t fit properly, then its mostly likely counterfeit.
If you remain unconvinced and think a helmet is just a helmet, watch the video below.