What do I do with old helmets (motorcycle and bike)?

So the spouse and I ride both motorcycles and bicycles (though more of the former than the latter) and over the years we’ve both accumulated a large number of both types of helmets. All of them are well cared for, always kept in the garage out of direct sunlight, and never been in an accident or dropped, but prevailing wisdom and advice is that you shouldn’t use them after 5 years, give or take a couple for rougher or better treatment.

I just hate to throw them away, especially the rather high-end motorcycle helmets with really spiffy paintjobs, but I don’t feel right about selling them even if I warn the buyer that they’re past their sell-by date. I don’t want to be responsible for some cheapskate teenager getting hurt because he bought my flashy dragon paint-job for $50 and then crashed his crotch-rocket.

So…does anyone know of any place that might take them and make use of them without…you know…using them as helmets? Would something like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or other riding schools be able to use them since the worst they’d be subjected to is low-speed crashes? Maybe an art school who uses them in projects? I dunno–I’m just tossing out ideas.

I’m in the SF Bay Area, btw, if anyone knows anything local. I’d be happy to donate them to a good cause as long as I could be reasonably sure that they wouldn’t be resold as safe helmets.

Thanks in advance.

You could try the MSF or something similar as they will sometimes cut the helmets in half to show what’s on the inside. Other then that I wouldn’t know. I tend to just throw them out.

Paint them gold and use as race trophies?


5 years does not sound like much for a nice (motorcycle) helmet. I intend to keep all of mine until I break them on the road. I love my Nolan. Fits me like a glove.

Send them to me. Here in Mexico. They will be better than they have now. Here there is no DOT standards.
Gracias. I will find a home for them.

Don’t listen to harmonicamoon. Send them to me, here in Oregon. I only have two.

That’s actually the reason you’re supposed to throw them away (as opposed to give them away or sell them) when you’re done with them. They fit you like a glove because the all the foam inside has conformed to your head over the years, but if someone else puts it on it’s not going to fit them very well and may not protect them as well in a crash. My helmet said that when I’m done with it I should actually go so far as to destroy it to make sure someone else can’t reuse it.

From the HJC website
“If you buy a new helmet, destroy the old one to ensure it cannot be reused. Do not sell or give away your old helmet, even if it has not been damaged. Over time the protective foam in the helmet will adjust to the contours of your head. If someone else uses this helmet it will not provide them with as much protection.”

ETA, to be honest, I’ve always wondered how you’d go about destroying a helmet in a way that would be obvious to someone that would happen to find it. I hammer might crack the shell…or it might just bounce off of it. A sawzall might cut it in half like butter, or it might be too hard to hold the helmet with one hand and the sawzall with the other and the whole thing will vibrate all over the place. I figure I’ll just throw it in the garbage and assume no one will find it.

I’m not sure that I personally believe EVERY helmet 5 years old is bad or compromised, but if you believe in it enough that you are worried I say trash em.

Cut em up, have a buddy drive a 4x4 over em, drop em in a bucket of quick crete make it impossible to be worn.
BTW, My first sentence reads a little snarky, I tried rewording it, and that’s the best I can do. :smack: I don’t mean to comment on your belief in the 5 year rule, just that if you feel you might be endangering someone, give yourself piece of mind and don’t allow anyone to use those lids.

If it matters, I’m a 45 year old lifetime rider, and have been a dealer tech and MMI grad.:smiley:

Well, to be fair, most of our old helmets are quite a bit older than 5 years old. We’ve been riding since 1991, and I think we’ve still got several of the ones we’ve used over the years.

And no, I’m not going to send them to anyone here, because if they’re not safe for my head, why would they be safe for someone else’s?

Maybe put up a shelf in your garage or basement (or over a bar) where you can display them. Might look nice and it would certainly be unique.

Please don’t ever try this. This is A really great way to loose a finger or whole hand. I realize you weren’t being serious, but I’ve seen several very nasty incidents involving a sawzall and someone using their hand to hold an object. Just the mention of it turns my stomach.

Sawzalls are really unwieldy with one hand. The only way you can really do them one handed is if it’s on something with a flat ‘front’ so the guard can rest on it and the machine is going straight down, but you still need two hands to start and end. I wouldn’t attempt that on a helmet. A jigsaw on the other hand, lots easier to control one handed and it’s not going to launch something (like a digit) across the room if it catches on your work.

The best thing to do would probably be to clamp one side of it to a bench and go at it with an angle grinder.

Trophy wall. If I hadn’t thrown them all away, I could do a nice display. With a gold frame around the Skid Lid. Safer to ride with a foam chum cooler taped to your head.

maybe use 'em as flower pots, or lawn ornaments?
I once lived near a house that had a whole row of bowling balls “planted” in a straight line along the driveway.


( Yeah, the owner was proud of his bowling league. And, yeah, he also was not a scholar of Renaissance art. )

Donate them to be used in a costume

You can get them relined with foam.

It also depends upon the material of the outer shell.

Its true that polycarbonates are rated for 5 years, however carbon and Kevlar composites have no such limitation. The old aluminium also have no limitation.

You would have to decide if the cost of relining is worth it, and for a good Shoei, or AGV it may be worth it - your problem is finding someplace reputable to do it

I have a Shoei shaped head, tried on a ton of others always come back to Shoei. I get paranoid after a few years when they start to get too comfortable and the foam is compacted to my head and I replace them.

My best friend and I had this same conversation a few years ago, what to do with the old ones? Lined up on a shelf was so boring. After a few beers we got out a drill and screwed in some eye hooks. Some lengths of wire and a few metal rods later he now has hanging in his barn a really really expensive oversized mobile.

No, we have Normas Oficiales Mexicanas better known by the acronym NOM.

You repeatedly post falsehoods about Mexico.

I agree planters would be awesome.

Do you have a long driveway or a big yard? I wouldn’t think it would be too difficult to turn them into garden lamps and mount them on poles…

Or with those polystrene wig head things, I could imagine making a pretty cool halloween display