What price do you put on you head?
$50, $100, or maybe $200?
Rational decision making may not always come forward when it comes to selecting a helmet, where price often trumps protection.
It could be argued that paying more money for a helmet does not necessarily give you more protection, just more marketing fluff, but when you have some technological advances that are backed by independent research, it is worth looking into to see what all the noise is about.
One of these recent advances is known as MIPS or Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. Now while this technology has been around for a number of years, when you have the world’s largest bike helmet manufacturer, BRG Sports (makers of Bell & Giro helmets) getting on board, you will no doubt start to see these helmets in store and out on the trail.
To skip the technology explanation and go straight to a selection of MIPS helmets see the below links:
MIPS Helmets for Mountain Biking
What is MIPS?
You can get plenty of the history of the helmets here, but for a quick summary see below.
MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System and has been designed to protect riders brains from angled impacts.
The protection to the brain comes from the low friction layer (the yellow layer) that sits within the inside of the helmet. The low friction layers mimics the brain’s fluid to provide additional protection to reduce the impact energy to the brain.
So why is MIPS better?
Well maybe not better, but the research findings indicates that the impact energy is reduced when using a MIPS equipped helmet, versus a standard helmet.
The research conducted has found that in activities such as mountain biking and winter sports, falls are unlikely to happen vertically at 90 degrees, but rather at an angle. The low friction layer therefore provides additional benefits to protect the brain, versus non-MIPS helmets. The technology is ideal for sports where angled impacts are the norm, rather than the exception.
So how do I tell a MIPS helmet from a standard helmet?
Well apart for the obvious yellow, ‘low friction’ layer on the inside of the helmet, every MIPS helmet features the yellow MIPS logo on the outside of the helmet. I am sure that in-store there will be plenty of marketing materials to support and highlight the benefits of MIPS, should you require further detail.
MIPS has been growing over the years, which started with only a few companies coming on board, such as SCOTT and POC. In 2015 we have seen a significant increase in the number of brands offering MIPS technology, including the likes of GIRO and BELL. The support of these leading helmet manufacturers indicate that there are consumer benefits in offering this protection to riders and that it warrants the marketing and R&D spend to support such technology.
MIPS Helmet Review – Enduro and All Mountain Options
A couple of models caught my eye this year, with refreshing colourways and strong design, proving that the MIPS technology does not hamper the designers in anyway when putting together a strong ID.
The first thing you notice about this helmet is the striking colours. Although the block colours seem to work well together and are in line with the block colour clothing trend.
The ever popular Bell Super gets an update for 2015 with the 2.0 featuring MIPS technology. Running 3 colours of Red, Black & White, the Bell Super 2.0 MIPS will be a popular helmet this year with AM and Trail riders.
For riders with a more Enduro racing bent, Bell have launched the BELL Super 2R MIPS, which provides a full face styled helmet, with the added versatility of removing the chin bar. No more lugging 2 helmets and is a smart approach to this burden that Enduro racers face. The styling is based off the Super 2.0 with an easy to remove chin bar, that clips in via 3 buckles.
A couple of affordable options for MIPS helmets include:
Styled for the AM/Trail rider with increased protection for the back of the skull and the addition of MIPS, makes this an excellent choice for that AM/Trail rider. Comes in Matt Black, Orange or White
The Arx helmet is very much a trail rider helmet with a more XC feel about it, yet a very affordable MIPS helmet. A good choice for those that may be challenged by the higher price points that some companies are charging for the MIPS premium.
Are you convinced of the MIPS technology or is the jury still out?
Feel free to add your comments below.