When you strap on your stylish helmet to bike your way to work, you can pedal easy with the knowledge that your noggin’ is 100 percent protected, right? Well, maybe not. Counterfeit bike helmets (yes, seriously) have become a concern for Clint Mattacola, a product developer for helmets at Specialized Bicycles in the Bay Area, NPR reports. The spinning-gear specialists says the dupes, which he finds are commonly sold online via e-commerce platforms, designed to copy the facade of skillfully engineered models, but they could actually split upon impact if you do take a fall.
Though bike shops very well may check out all their products for quality and safety control before swiping your credit card, as always, it’s best for you to advocate for your own well-being. So before you power your ride into high gear (or even flip up your kickstand, for that matter), run your helmet through this pre-road checklist.
Check, check, and check: Make sure your helmet satisfies this checklist before you hit the road.
1. Its inner tag has a stamp of approval from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
Side-by-side, the two helmet models featured in the above video look like twinzies, but according to the folks at Specialized Bicylces, a peek inside at the tag will reveal whether or not the product adheres to the standards set by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you can’t find the stamp, then you can’t count on the model to do its protective due diligence during your commute.
2. Make sure the sizing sounds familiar to you
If the size options read more to you like a jigsaw puzzle than your traditional small, medium, large, etc., Mattacola says there’s a solid chance you’ve run across a hazardous product. A reported 90 percent of the counterfeits seized by customs in 2017 came in express or international shipments, and sizing methods beyond common Western go-tos are likely to indicate a fake product. While there are, of course, well-made non-Western helmets available, when a given piece of headgear aims to mimic a certain model without being that model, the promise of standards is nothing to be counted upon.
3. The price is right—not too good to be true
Think you’re scoring a sweet deal with a helmet that only leaves a $50 dent in your bank account? Well, you can consider that a major red flag. Mattacola says a real-deal helmet should set you back closer to $200, so if you see a steal somewhere online, beware that your head may not reap the benefits of the bargain.
Gearing up properly is key—no matter your workout of choice. Here’s the one thing that matters when you’re buying a new pair of running kicks and a mat that will totally see you through the sweatiest yoga class.
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