As I found myself sliding along the macadam sort of midway between my left side and my back, I took a moment to reflect and take inventory. I had just traveled over the handle bars of my bike and I had a vivid recollection of seeing the sky and leaves of the trees doing a one-hundred and eighty degree loop through my field of vision. The next things I saw were my helmet mirror and visor going south as they shook off of their attachment points as we slid feet first along the pavement.
The next impression was the sound of my helmet and spandex sliding along with me. It was a sort of cellophanesque schlissshhing kind of sound. My inventory continued. OK I have the wind knocked out of me, my left side hurts like hell, but all of the major limbs seem just fine, I think I can feel everything.
Strangely enough the one thing that never occurred to me in my inventory was my head! I have been in pretty substantial pain for the last three and a half weeks, laughing, sneezing, coughing are all very painful acts that only now are beginning to become bearable, but the one thing which has never bothered me is my head! There are those who would assert that this is because it is empty, but getting beyond that I have never even suffered a headache. It is actually fairly rare that we actually get the opportunity to physically crash test equipment, and we do not recommend that you try this at home as it is extremely hard even on a highly trained professional on a closed course, but here it is, Destruction Testing of the TREK VAPOR 2000 Bike Helmet.
On the trail the first thing that impressed me was the fact that all the parts which had separated from the helmet immediately snapped right back into place. Obviously the Rhode Gear Mirror's attachment is intended to disconnect, but I was surprised to see that the visor on the Vapor was as well. These break away designs serve to create a very clean profile to the helmet, eliminating areas which could catch and cause a snapped neck. Obviously a bad potential outcome. So reassembled on the spot we continued on our way.
Once I managed to pedal home and recover enough to really inspect the gear I was wearing, i got to the helmet late in the day. I was literally surprised to discover the degree of abrasion it had sustained. (red circles on the large image) Since the cover was formed from white plastic the deep scratches were not immediately evidenced, but close inspection revealed a level of abrasion that would have left my scalp very seriously worn down to the skull! There were some slight dents in the tough but flexible plastic cover, so I wondered about the inside.
Now any helmet that has been dropped seriously or been in an accident is now considered compromised and should be replaced (they should also be replaced seasonally or every two years due to exposure to the uv rays of the sun which weaken the plastic), so destruction testing here was called for. When I removed the cover, I was further shocked to see the degree of denting which had occurred to the foam helmet body.
The human skull if dropped from a height of 16" will split like a watermelon. This is a fact! The impact of my body traveling at around 27-24 MPH flipping over the bars and landing on my shoulder, neck, and apparently head, then sliding on my helmet, shoulder and hip about 15-20 feet down a macadam path would have been a far greater stress test!
Where the impact damage occurred on the helmet told me I would have hit on the left occipital lobe and the damage to my brain could have caused blindness or death! Having survived that, the road rash would have worn me a whole new world of ugly bald scabby head modification that I don't even want to think about.
No I am not throwing out the helmet, it rode with me from Bear Mountain to Boston twice, and it did a few centuries with me and we raised a lot of money for charities together. Instead it will be given a place of honor in my computer lab to serve as a reminder to use what was contained inside to remain safe, instead of relying upon what is outside to save my insides.
This helmet saved my noggin!
Smell -5 (but hey it's not Treks fault is it?)
Overall I give it a ten who cares what it looks like, it worked!