How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

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How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby admin » 15 Jan 2016, 2:26pm

As far as I can tell, the costs involved in making cycle helmets fall into two main parts:

  1. One-off: design, testing, tooling
  2. Per-helmet: materials, energy
I'm expecting that the design costs are large, and that tooling costs are also very large. Does anyone have an idea of ranges? £10,000 for a new design, perhaps?

I'm also expecting that the per-helmet costs are very small, the materials are mostly very basic. Does anyone have an idea of cost? 50p per helmet, perhaps?

You can find very cheap helmets from China from wholesalers on the internet, but I'm more interested in the sort of helmets you see in UK bike shops. These presumably have more spent on design and testing, to conform to the EU standards.

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby gaz » 15 Jan 2016, 3:10pm

You are not the first to wonder, although all the figures quoted are guestimates: http://www.bhsi.org/helmcost.htm
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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby DaveGos » 15 Jan 2016, 3:27pm

Cheapest I could find for sale on line was a fiver. For most helmets marketing costs are going to be the greatest , persuading people that there brand is a must have ( which to me , reads must not have)

Transport distribution will not be cheap as they are bulky and presumably made in the far east. I reckon for most helmets they can be manufactured and packed for less than a £1

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby al_yrpal » 15 Jan 2016, 3:27pm

You forgot marketing distribution and profit. These are by far the biggest components of the price (but not the cost) .My Bikemate helmet from Aldi is just as well designed and made as those from Bell etc yet it costs only a tenner. My guess is that Aldi buy them for a fiver.
There was a thing on TV recently from a big Jeans manufacturer in Turkey where they were making everything from weaving the cotton fabric to making up, all in house. When asked the lady in charge said the jeans cost anything from £7 to £11 to make dependent on the weight and quality of fabric. Asked what was the difference between Primark stuff and £100 Levis, she said practically nothing. Its all about marketing costs and margins. Which is why I would never want to own a Rolex - my £100 Casio Waveceptor is a better more advanced and more accurate watch anyway.
The only redeeming feature of such pricing is it employs more people albeit in useless jobs. Without all the marketing flim flam there would undoubtably be much more unemployment.

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby RickH » 15 Jan 2016, 3:32pm

gaz wrote:You are not the first to wonder, although all the figures quoted are guestimates: http://www.bhsi.org/helmcost.htm

Those guestimates seem to be fairly reasonable. If Aldi & Lidl can sell a (seemingly) well made one for around £10-12 with probably less mark up than a bike shop would reckon - trade price does seem to be typically around 50% of RRP.

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby admin » 15 Jan 2016, 4:53pm

Yeah, I can guess too. I was wondering if anyone, perhaps with closer links to the industry, has more solid numbers.

I'm not really interested in marketing, distribution and profit, as these are highly variable and brand-driven. These costs are not related to the helmet's effectiveness in any way. Some helmets have large advertising budgets, and that will obviously affect the sale price, as will bike shops adding more profit margin than the big sheds like Aldi and Lidl.

I'm interested in the design and manufacturing costs only. Which will vary depending on the materials used and the manufacturing process, but on the whole will probably be "as cheap as possible to pass the standard tests". Perhaps with a bit more cost for helmets designed to have a longer life-span, or different materials to allow more ventilation slots.

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby AlaninWales » 15 Jan 2016, 5:04pm

What about disposal (recycling? :lol: ) costs?

Oh, the manufacturers don't need to factor that in do they! We just have to cover it as a society - or rather we have the failure to deal with it.

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby admin » 15 Jan 2016, 5:09pm

AlaninWales wrote:What about disposal (recycling? :lol: ) costs?


I'm interested in the design and manufacturing costs only, for the purposes of this conversation thread.

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby Bicycler » 15 Jan 2016, 6:10pm

It would be interesting to know whether they are made in a limited number of factories and labelled with different branding.

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Re: How much does it cost to make a cycle helmet?

Postby Vorpal » 15 Jan 2016, 7:14pm

The estimates don't include tooling. Tooling won't be terribly expensive for the cheap helmets, they can probably use open moulds. But for more complex designs, the tooling will be moderately expensive (£200000?). It is recovering the cost of tooling, for the most part, that will define the cost of a helmet. Cheap helmets are cheap not only for the cost of the tooling, but also for the age. If it's more than 3 or 4 years old, the cost will have been recovered, or at least depreciated from a financial perspective.
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