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flawed helmet alert

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Seven of ten Boeri Axis Rage (high gloss), models have failed a test conducted by Consumer Reports. In a test where the helmets were chilled and dropped from a height of six and three quaters feet, the helmets shattered into "large sharp fragments". Additionally, the strap rings also failed.

Now before anyone jumps all over this as "Naderism" or CR baloney, I am not a subscriber so I didn't have access to the full test parameters. For all I know, they may have "chilled" the helmet in a vat of liquid nitrogen and loaded it with lead shot .... I also hope the "anvil" that they dropped it on was not .... heck they couldn't have mistaken a Claymore for an anvil. Or, could they?

If anyone is, or admits to being a CR subscriber, please enlighten us with any objective data. You can always say that your "geeky cousin Albert" gave you his password.


[ November 28, 2003, 05:24 PM: Message edited by: yuki ]
post #2 of 19
I saw that too. The sharp fragments of the shell were described as being able to cut the wearer in the case of the helmet shattering.
post #3 of 19
Are there results for other brands? I was thinking about buying one of the new Marker helmets this year. Any thoughts?
: : :
post #4 of 19
Here is a link to a overview of the study... nZawmozvUyvKh6JL6Q0p17ctV1DXI2PwR1En6|963766904030 436804/169937910/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005 /-1|7347202148570520880/169937912/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005/-1&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=360429&bmUID=1068958442362 #]

I guess you are gonna have to copy and paste this cuz the URL function would not work for me...

[ November 28, 2003, 06:41 PM: Message edited by: MammothCruzer ]
post #5 of 19
Top helmet in the report was the Giro 9.
post #6 of 19
This concerned me, so I e-mailed Boeri about it, referring to the Consumer Reports article. Here is their reply:


"I've seen that article. Here's our response to it:

"Response to Consumer Report Article

"In the December 2003 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine an article was published titled "Safety on the Slopes". In this article several ski helmets were tested an evaluated by the staff at Consumer Reports. One of the tested models was the Boeri Axis Rage. The Rage was judged "Not Acceptable" because the shells of several helmets tested shattered when chilled to between 0° F and 9° F and dropped on an anvil from 6.5 feet.

"We would like to refute this rating by illustrating the following points:

"All models in the Boeri line meet or exceed at least one (if not all) stringent standards established by accredited industry laboratories such as CE and ASTM. These are the benchmark standards that were referenced by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) when they issued their 1999 report recommending the use of helmets when skiing or snowboarding. The article does state Consumer Report's decision to "go above and beyond" the tolerances referenced by these standards but fails to incorporate all the appropriate elements of them. The most glaring example is the absence of the penetration test referenced in the CE standard. This is the most widely accepted and adhered to wintersport helmet standard in the world. The penetration test evaluates protection from sharp pointed objects such as branches, ski poles and ski or board edges. In the last paragraph of the article (pg.55) Consumer Reports acknowledges the importance of such protection by stating a ski helmet differs from a bike helmet "and has a shell designed to protect against penetration by sharp edges like those on skis and snowboards". Why is it then that the two highest ranked models tested by Consumer Reports do not even meet this standard, let alone "go above and beyond" it?

"Consumer Reports is an independent, non-governed testing facility using their own bench testing methods to reach broad stroke conclusions and recommendations for a wide range of consumer products. This being the case, their results and conclusions are somewhat speculative based on their limited understanding of the intricacies of ski helmet design and function. Without that focus and insight it is unlikely that Consumer Reports would understand that partial self-destruction of the shell and EPS liner are intentionally designed mechanisms built into most helmets to facilitate effective impact management.

"The statement that "shards of the shell could cut the wearer's face during a tumble" needs to be put in context with the other likely injuries that would be sustained in a fall of this magnitude. To substantiate this point we have on file several testimonials from consumers who were spared severe head injuries while wearing the Axis Rage. We have no claims on file in four years that site any injury sustained from a broken Rage shell.

"The Axis Rage was first introduced to the U.S. market in 1999. Since that time, over 90522 units have been purchased by US consumers. In checking our warrantee return databases we have determined that in five years, 205 Axis Rages have been returned for cracked or broken shells. That equates to a .2% return rate. This number firmly illustrates that the Consumer Reports' conclusions are the result of bench testing speculation and have no anecdotal field evidence to support their conclusions.

"It is advisable for anyone who puts blind faith into what they read in this publication to consider the following: Recent media investigation of Consumer Reports' practices and methodologies raises numerous credibility issues. Below are a couple examples of this.

"Former Consumer Reports reporter Larry Katzenstein says:

"...20/20 managed to overlook the real story: the transmogrification of [Consumers Union] over the past 10 years from an organization that helped to educate the public about what was truly risky and what wasn' a group determined to scare people about risks that in reality pose negligible or nonexistent dangers.

"Source: Letter from Larry Katzenstein to Brian Ross, investigative reporter for ABC's 20/20, April 20, 1999

"Media watchdog Brill's Content says:

"When it comes to deciding which products and services to buy, there's no more trusted source of information than this 63-year-old magazine. But the self proclaimed bastion of unbiased testing may not be as fair or conflict-free as it claims.

"Source: Brill's Content, "Testing Consumer Reports," September 1999"

And the following contact info was provided:


Jeff Ravreby

Vice President of Sales

MPH Associates Inc / Boeri Sport USA

781.551.9933 ext 14
post #7 of 19
... so then the 0.2% return rate, which wouldn't surprise me pretty much corresponds to the skier accident rate, means that in a collision your Rage helmet will likely shatter.

All things being considered, given a choice between a helmet that shattered and one that didn't (in the same conditions), why choose the one that broke?
post #8 of 19
Nice spin from the company flak catcher.
post #9 of 19
No one has addressed the temperature issue. Fortunately, in the Tahoe Area the daytime temperatures are much warmer than 9 F. Even if the air temperature is colder, in the 0 to 9 F that Consumer Report's used, I wonder what the actual helmet shell temperature would be with a head in the shell and possibly sun on the shell. Since it will be warmer, is this a realistic test condition? I also don't remember if CR used a dummy head in the helmet or not. If they didn't, the possible deformation of the helmet during the test may also have caused inaccuracies in the fracture properties.

SO where's Physicsman and our other scientific Bears?
post #10 of 19

I forgot, thanks for getting and posting that response form Boeri.
post #11 of 19
Originally posted by NoCleverName:
... so then the 0.2% return rate, which wouldn't surprise me pretty much corresponds to the skier accident rate, means that in a collision your Rage helmet will likely shatter.

All things being considered, given a choice between a helmet that shattered and one that didn't (in the same conditions), why choose the one that broke?
Because the one that broke absorbed the impact which otherwise would have broken your head - hey, it's a theory worth examining.

Notwithstanding that pearl of wisdom, I've shelved by Boeri for now and am favoring my Giro Fuse.
post #12 of 19
There are 3 safety standards: Snell RS-98, ASTM 2040 aka ASTM, and CE UN EN 1077 aka CEN 1077 or CE in descending order of effectiveness.

Snell RS-98 tests the following:

Flat impact (2m drop 100 joules) 35% stronger than ASTM 2040 flat impact (74 joules), 45% stronger than CEN 1077 flat impact (1.5m drop 69 joules size M)

Hemispherical impact (1.6m drop 80 joules) while ASTM 2040 & CEN 1077 no test

Edge impact (1.6m drop 80 joules) while ASTM 2040 & CEN 1077 no test

Shell penetration (1m drop) 33% stronger than CEN 1077 (0.75m drop)

* Snell is the toughest standard and significantly better than ASTM 2040 and CEN 1077. It also tests round (hemisphere) and sharp (edge) object impacts which concentrate impact force far more than the basic flat surface impact test. ASTM 2040 and CEN 1077 don't even bother to test for round or sharp object impacts.

* All standards assume only 1 impact not multiple impacts so careful inspection of helmet after a significant impact is important.

* Helmets don’t replace personal responsibility as most standards assume a 12 mph speed which is very slow.

To read more on the standards: Q: Is there a standard for manufacturing a helmet? How do I know if the snowsport helmet I wear will provide me enough protection? Helmets Don't Replace Personal Responsibility Skiing Helmets An Evaluation of the Potential to Reduce Head Injury US Consumer Product Safety Commission 1/99 Comparison of RS-98 and CEN 1077 Comparison of RS-98, ASTM 2040, CEN 1077 RS-98 for Recreational Skiing and Snowboarding How Helmets are Tested
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Great post Oboe.

Did you use your "Oboe Esquire" stationary?
post #14 of 19
No, yuki, I just asked about the article.

The better info is posted by Ski03. Check it out.
post #15 of 19
Originally posted by oboe:
Because the one that broke absorbed the impact which otherwise would have broken your head - hey, it's a theory worth examining.
It's true that the energy of collision being dissipated by the exploding helmet might be helpful, but since your head is hopefully still attached to your body, there's a lot more energy to get rid of then the helmet can handle. The CU article focused on the shattered helmet as a safety problem in itself --- the sharp edges slicing you up as you continued to bounce along (I guess they didn't figure the energy dissipation was worth much, either).

While some may quibble as to CU going well past the standards testing regimen, it would be well to remember that the standards tests are run at unrealistically low speeds (12 mph and much less). Even so, the 8.5 foot drop CU used would only be about 16 mph on impact. An instant delta V much above that is usually considered severe, if not fatal. So I guess they are testing at the limit of survivability to see if the helmet doesn't add to an already bad situation.

By the way, back of the envelope calculations show that coming to a dead stop at 16mph over a 1 inch distance (assuming helmet crushes completely to zero depth) is a 100g decelleration.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 


post #17 of 19
Not attempting to hijack this thread, but merely want to put out another thing to think about when considering how safe a helmet may or may not be. Although it started as a joke, we now have in our locker room a pile of helmet's that have been "retired" by various instructors. Retirement happens when the helmet takes a hard blow (although usually NOT hard enough to deform/crack/shatter the shell).

Just remember guys, the energy absorbing materials in our helmets aren't designed (AFAIK) for repeat incidents. Save what's left of your brain and retire that puppy if you take a good shot to the head! :
post #18 of 19
I notice this thread is resurrected from 2003. I would be curious to know how the Boeri Axis Rage performs today, whether any changes were made. Also, any proof that this ever happened in "real life" to someone wearing this helmet? Or is this a test that never came to fruition on the slopes?

post #19 of 19
Originally Posted by Lucky
Top helmet in the report was the Giro 9.
Saved my melon in December when I hit a tree that was under the snow after catching a ski on an also submerged rock.

While it's not CR, a co-worker of mine recently conducted this "highly scientific" helmet test from which the Leedom Prophet got the highest rating (they tested the Giro 10 instead of the 9)
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