How Snell tests motorcycle helmets

Motorcycle helmets in the United States must meet certain safety standards. The DOT standard is the base standard that ALL motorcycle helmets must meet. But there is a higher standard set forth by the Snell Memorial Foundation.


I spoke with Snell’s Executive Director, Ed Becker, for over an hour. He made the complex sound so simple. My interview with Ed is in 3 parts below.

Note: The audio had a loud buzzing noise in the background. Fortunately, the second audio engineer I hired was able to remove most of it. There’s still a some distortion… especially in Part 2 and 3. But trust me, it sounds wonderful compared to how it sounded originally.

Here is a link to each part of the interview:

MMP 14: Snell Motorcycle Helmet Testing — Interview with Snell Director Part 1 [Podcast]

MMP 15: Snell Motorcycle Helmet Testing — Interview with Snell Director Part 2 [Podcast]

In this session Ed steps us through the process a company must follow to have their helmets tested by Snell. He describes how they dispose of tested helmets (see video below). We talk about testing standards and he describes how helmets have changed over time. This session is jam packed with useful information.

MMP 16: Snell Motorcycle Helmet Testing — Interview with Snell Director Part 3 [Podcast]

In this session Ed tells us how much Snell charges to test/certify a series of helmets and he tells us how much the manufacturer has to pay for each Snell certified helmet they sell. He also explains which Snell test gives manufactures the most grief. We also talk about helmet maintenance, helmet modifications and how often we should replace our motorcycle helmets. I also ask Ed if we should replace our motorcycle helmet if we drop it. You’ve gotta hear his answer.

Snell Staff


On a personal note…

I want to thank Ed for coming on the show. When we started emailing back and forth about potential questions we both agreed to talk for up to 2 hours, hoping to get 25 minutes of good content. As it turns out, I couldn’t find much to edit out. It was all valuable information.

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This is how Snell destroys tested helmets…

Transcript for the entire interview…

coming soon…

Photos from Snell




Leave feedback or ask a question

Ed has agreed to answer your questions section at the bottom of this page. You can learn more about Snell by visiting the Snell Memorial Foundation website.

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