|Brand / model
(in rank order)
|Overall score1 (%)
|Ease of use
|Use and care instructions
|FLITE 900 (A)
|MET Super Buddy
|# GIRO Rodeo G116
||Apollo Bicycle Co
|# NETTI Pilot TR-1
|# BELL Amigo US75B
|CYCLOPS Profile 1.0 62010
|ROSEBANK Tiny Tot TT2000
|HUFFY HX1.1 63000
|HEADSTART Skins Flame 325
|BIG W No Limits MF-II
# Price & availability check February 2006
* The size tested; some models may also be available in others
** Recommended retail, as advised by manufacturers in July 2005. We found retail prices can vary considerably, so it pays to shop around
ns Not stated
(A) Now replaced by identical model 900C, made in China.
(B) One sample failed the load distribution test — see How we tested below. The scores shown are for the samples that passed.
(C) The latest models are labelled as size 50–56 cm, but the actual helmet size is the same.
(D) Three-year crash replacement program— see the profile, above left.
1 Overall score
This consists of:
- Performance: 40%
- Ease of use: 60%
While performance is important, all the helmets passed the standard tests — some just passed them slightly better. We therefore gave ease of use a higher weighting.
2 Performance score
This consists of:
- Load distribution: 33%
- Impact attenuation: 17%
- Impact deceleration duration: 17%
- Retention system: 33%
See How we tested below for more details.
3 Ease of use score
- Based on how easy the chin and side straps are to adjust
- Extra points were given to helmets with an adjustable nape strap or an extra set of padding, as these should be easier to tailor for an exact fit
How we tested
We put the helmets through the key tests of the Australian standard, including:
- Load distribution: How well the helmet spreads the energy of an impact
- Impact attenuation and deceleration: How well the foam absorbs the energy of an impact
- Retention system: Tests the strength of the helmet's straps, to ensure they won't stretch too far or break too easily
Results of these tests make up the helmet's performance score (see the table above).
The only helmet to fail any of the above tests was the CYCLOPS Profile 1.0. During the load distribution test, the test anvil penetrated all the way through this helmet. Given that the standard is mandatory, it's surprising to find a helmet that fails - we were expecting only to be able to say which helmets passed the tests by a greater margin and so might offer better protection.
Samples from each batch of every helmet sold in Australia are tested to ensure no manufacturing problems creep in from one batch to the next. Generally, four out of every thousand helmets are tested; if any of them fail, a further eight are tested. If any of these eight fail, the entire batch is scrapped. The manufacturer of the CYCLOPS told us its helmets are batch-tested according to regulations and it's never had such a failure before.
In case the sample tested was faulty, we bought two more CYCLOPS Profile 1.0 helmets and tested them. Both passed the load distribution test.
All the other helmets passed the key tests of the standard easily, though some absorbed impacts better than others.
Fiddly to fit?
To assess ease of use, our lab looked for:
- How easy the chin and side straps were to adjust and buckle up
- Nape strap - a dial or slider on the rear of the headband - to help get the best fit
- Extra set of padding for precise fitting and more comfort
Major differences appeared in our ease of use assessment, where helmets lost points for having no nape strap, fiddly buckles or difficult strap adjustment. However, because helmet fit varies a lot from one person to another, some lower-scoring helmets may fit your kid well, so they're still worth considering.
This article last reviewed October 2005.