What happens when you hit a bicycle helmet with a sledgehammer - video and images

While cleaning up in preparation for another project, I found two old bike helmets. Both had small cracks (less then 1 inch long) in their Styrofoam, and so I had retired them as unsafe for biking (considering how much I've invested in my head), but hadn't managed to discard them yet. I cut out the webbing and plastic snaps, and decided to see what would happen if I hit them with a 12 pound sledgehammer.

First, I hit the Scott square on the front-top:


I mostly let the sledgehammer fall, and didn't really put much swing into. Seeing that it couldn't stand up to face of the hammer, I hit it with the side of the hammer, again mostly letting the hammer fall rather than really swinging it:


Next, I hit the Bell Aquila with the side of the hammer:


The Bell really did a remarkable job standing up to the hammer. The Styrofoam was completely cracked apart the first strike, but the shell managed to hold the pieces together through several beatings. The Scott was a much older helmet, and its shell had already, for the most, part broken apart from normal wear and UV damage (it started out white, not yellow).

Obvious conclusions: If I'm going to get hit in the head with a sledgehammer, I'll choose a bike helmet even with cracked foam over nothing at all.

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trebuchet0310 years ago
Yikes... methinks I am finally going to retire my old helmet :p What did I learn? When hitting others with sledgehammers in a totally consequence free environment without trying to cause lethal injury... I will hit with the side rather than the head of the sledge hammer :p Something to keep in mind for the weekly intern sledge hammer fights behind the work shop.....
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Aeshir10 years ago
That bell is crazy good. How old was it?
ewilhelm (author)  Aeshir10 years ago
The Bell is only a few years old. The Scott dates from 1993 or 1994.
they really DO think of everything i wish i had tried this before
HICKFARM10 years ago
I guess it is worth buying a new Helmet after a while.