2022 is nearly past us, and at that we are 2 years into the SA2020 cycle.
Do you have a SA2015 or M2015 helmet? Relax, you’re good for 4 more years.
Do you have a SA2010 or M2010 helmet? Read on…
Time is up for SA2010 helmets.
2021 came to a close, SNELL 2020 rated buckets were released on October, 1 2020 and are officially available for sale. The regularly slow rollout was made worse with the global production issues, so 2020 helmets were allowed for a full extra year in most venues.
Below was the timeline for the release of the 2020 standard. Going forward, you can expect similar timelines with future releases +5 years (2025, 2030, etc)
To sum it up: When the 2022 season began, the 2021 season “grace period” of 2010 has ended and they are no longer accepted by almost all trackday organizations.
Can I continue to run my Snell 2010 helmet after the 2021 season?
Most likely, no. While the majority of clubs, organizations, and tracks allowed the expiring 2010 helmets through 2021, at this point they are no longer accepted.
Where CAN you use your 2010 rated helmet?
- Many Autocross clubs and regions accept helmets for more than the standard two cycles.
- Some track organizations may accept an extra rating cycle for HPDE/Track Day use, though I wouldn’t expect it.
- Many noncompetitive karting tracks allow helmets regardless of snell date (check your local place before showing up). This is my primary use for old helmets.
- Garage/Trophies/Halloween, or anywhere you could use it as decoration or a conversation starter.
How does all this relate those who are using SA2015 helmets?
You are still good for the remainder of the 5 year cycle until 2025 when the SA2025 helmets are released. Then, I would expect most clubs will allow 2026 as a “changeover” year, still accepting the 2015 helmets as helmet manufacturers try to keep up with the demand for their nearly-released lids.
One note: there are exceptions to the “changeover grace period”. New Jersey Motorsports Park is currently forced by the NJ State Police to not accept helmets for any grace period once the new helmets are released. If this continues next cycle, SA2015 helmets will have no 2026 grace period in New Jersey. I do not know of other places where this type of
overreach rule exists, but it may be around.
So my helmet rating is good for 10 years, is that safe? The rating is indeed good for 10 years from the date of the rating’s release, and as long as The Helmet is in obvious very good condition, it should still protect you for that time. Most likely you will be buying your helmet at some point during that 10 year window so you’ll usually get anywhere between 5-10 years of rating life. If you bought a SA2015 helmet on September 30 2020, you should get about 5 years before the useful rating “Expires” after two cycles. If you bought a SA2020 helmet on October 1, 2020 (The Day the SA2020’s were released) you should get 10 full years before the useful rating expires.
Even with the 10 year maximum rating life, the SNELL foundation recommends cycling helmets out after 5 years… or immediately, if they are involved in a serious crash.
I see 2015 rated helmets on sale with huge discounts. Should I buy one, or are they useless? While the 2020’s are available, dealers may still be clearing out their final remaining 2015 stock. Any 2015 rated helmet will be allowed for about 4 more years (Once the 2025 standard is released). If you are using your helmet constantly, chances are it may be pretty gross in 5-6 years. Many people choose to replace helmets after 5 years… if you are one of those people, buying a 2015 is a great option. While there are improvements in the safety standards between the rating generations, the differences are miniscule… so you aren’t actually sacrificing anything tangible for safety. Being the the cheap person that I am, I try to get as much time as I can safely get out of my helmets. Making a helmet last 10 years without being compromised or getting gross is certainly possible. A Balaclava can go a long way in keeping your helmets fresh closer to 10 years, after 6 or so years my 2015 still looks and smells new.
To sum it up… It’s your call. If you can get an especially good deal on a 2015 and you’re someone who is generally hard on gear, go for it. High-Dollar helmets will usually see the greatest discounts, so if you’re looking to really spoil yourself, now would be your time.
Want to read up more about helmets and safety gear? Check out my post: The Budget Safety Gear YOU need for Track Days and Racing and OTHER POSTS by No money Motorsports.