What Is A MIPS Helmet? Meaning & Technology

With the explosion of technology and its impacts on vehicles, numerous devices, like MIPS, are created to secure users’ safety and reduce associated risks. Many have wondered: Should I get a MIPS helmet? The answer is yes, but why? Figure out the reasons in the following sections.

What Is MIPS Bike Helmet?

Its longer name is a multi-directional impact protection system, which was invented with the purpose of minimizing the rotational forces caused by certain impacts.

More specifically, prominent scientists and surgeons in the brain analysis field have planned and developed its concept. They have tried to mimic the human brain’s operation when it reacts to unpredictable forces from outside.

After a long time of searching, the final product has been released to the public and is known as the MIPS nowadays. A small layer is placed inside the helmet to lower the energy amount transferred towards your head.

In this way, your brain may be less susceptible to serious injuries when encountering an accident. Generally speaking, a MIPS helmet seems nearly the same to the none-MIPS one. You only spot the difference when looking inside, a thin yellow liner beneath the pads.

What Is MIPS Technology Originated?

Hans Von Holst, a Swedish neurosurgeon, is assumed to be the father of MIPS technology. Depending on the scientific work undertaken by Peter Halldin about the finite element model of the human brain, Han realizes that it can manage linear impacts more effectively than oblique ones.

MIPS Technology

In most cases, the rotational pressure derives from the latter. And this strain is found in numerous sports, such as cycling, horseback riding or skiing. For that reason, Han decided to dive deeply into the force before coming up with the technology which helps protect the human brain more efficiently.

Through years of testing, MIPS was eventually introduced in the public eye. It is the outcome of two friction layers combined together. Still, it uses the theory proposed by the FE model to evaluate the risks and damage intensities.

How Does A MIPS Equipped Helmet Work?

A MIPS helmet has a sliding layer inside, which helps turn the rotational impact into a linear one. In turn, your brain will less likely be vulnerable to severe injuries when exposed to a dangerous crash.

The Halldin professor has regarded this injury as the pain induced by ten adults standing on your head because the impact happens very quickly, at only between five and ten milliseconds.

The MIPS-equipped helmet also follows the idea of cerebrospinal fluid, a liquid substance moving around the skull to facilitate the brain’s sliding capacity.

Based on its operation, the helmet will adjust the direction of the angled impact by redirecting the energy’s transmission flow to your brain. Just a small change of about 2 millimeters can make a great difference to the force that your brain has to suffer.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of A MIPS Helmet?

Below are notable benefits and drawbacks to which you should pay close attention before buying the MIPS helmet model.

Advantages

An increase in user safety is the most outstanding. As we have mentioned earlier, when you use this helmet type, your head is less affected by the rotational strain, a primary culprit behind most accidents or crashes.

Demerits

  1. The first disadvantage you must face when deciding to use a helmet equipped with the multi-directional impact protection system lies in its cost, ranging from 100 to over 500 dollars per each. This figure could not be suitable for many middle-class households.
  2. You may feel stifled when using some MIPS helmet types. The slip pane blocks several vents, created to let the airflow in and out. Hence, you can feel uncomfortable wearing it, especially on sweltering hot days.
  3. Its size and fitness level might vary greatly, depending on the temperature and manufacturers’ error. It is made of plastic and rubber so that the slip pane could expand a bit in the summer.

Furthermore, many purchasers worldwide have reported their MIPS helmets are added with extra panes between the pads and shell, causing them to become tighter than normal.

Does MIPS Technology Affect The Helmet’s Size?

The answer is no.

When the MIPS equipment first appeared, it was intended to retrofit helmets already available on the market. Therefore, when you add this device inside, your helmet’s size may increase between 0.5 and 0.8 millimeters.

The headspace was apt to decrease a bit, but the reduction figure was negligible. Yet this gap could result in great inconvenience for some users.

Accordingly, many brands have now tried collaborating with the MIPS technology company to bring out the product, which integrates safety tech from the get-go.

Is MIPS Helmet Effective?

MIPS Road Bike Helmets

Its efficiency has been proved through numerous laboratory and practical tests. To clarify our point, we have mentioned two testing platforms from the MIPS company and in external contexts.

MIPS Own Testing

Much time and effort have been spent on the MIPS helmet’s testing before it was finally made available to the public. The practice often takes place in the laboratory, and the MIPS corporation asserts that the examination is core to its activities and standardized operation.

Indeed, in an article, MIPS confessed that there had been about 48,600 tests undertaken on this modern device to heighten the users’ safety to a maximum. Among all of them, the dummy head test is the most notable.

These heads, whose kinematics are nearly similar to that of the human brain, are equipped with accelerometers to measure the force.

For instance, they are dropped within 6 meters per a few seconds or pointed towards the angled surfaces. Each testing performance is recorded by a specialized camera, which is good at capturing moments regardless of high speed.

Hence, consistency among several tests will be ensured. The outcomes will then be delivered to the headquartered company, and staff will subsequently analyze the damage intensity caused by each impact by applying the operational theory of the human brain based on the finite element model.

Seyffarth, one of the company managers, has stated that over 1,870 data points are reaped per each force measured by the accelerometer. They will perform a step-by-step millisecond simulation to explore the reason and solve if a real human effect arises.

By doing so, the final MIPS will produce the most accurate analysis of the pressure rendered by different levels of impact. A helmet fitted with this equipment would reduce strain by approximately 25 or 30 per cent.

Some External Testings

The examination process executed by the Virginia Tech corporation is outstanding. It has grasped the statistics from 130 cycling helmets, and the MIPS-equipped models have been currently within the top ten, especially in some categories, like street riding, mountain biking, etc.

In 2020, the Swedish insurance enterprise, Folksam, reached the same conclusion. They recommended eight must-buy items, and five of them are fitted with the MIPS helmet technology inside. Their effectiveness is above the average, by approximately 18 to 76 per cent.

However, few organizations published the opposite result, denying the MIPS’s efficiency. Although it could help lower the rotational force, its performance will likely be reduced when your head is constrained, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.

What Are Some Suggestions For MIPS Road Bike Helmets?

Following are some best versions of the MIPS helmets you can consider before purchasing one.

Bell Avenue MIPS

The helmet is widely known for its rear retention system, which helps facilitate the adjustment without a hitch. In addition, on each strap, glides and soft webbing are used to make the helmet fitter for your ears.

It is not light, but its weight is suitable enough, so you don’t need to worry about neck pain. Thanks to these features and MIPS technology, this product is regarded as user-friendly, bringing consumers comfort and safety protection.

Its cost is also reasonable, between 65 and 120 dollars.

Specialized S-Works Evade With Angi

Apart from MIPS, the Angi technology is also applied in this helmet type with the prospect of diminishing the damage and other risks once an accident happens.

More specifically, it follows the helmet-mounted format, paired with a smartphone and sends an alert warning to it whenever there are incoming dangers.

In these emergencies, every contact will be disabled, and the phone would automatically send a text stating that you are busy now. If you find this utility annoying, you could turn it off. Its price is around 230 dollars.

Bontrager Circuit MIPS

The Bontrager Circuit MIPS is particularly designed for riding or commuting use. Hence, you are not advised to use it along some off-road routes, such as the mountain track.

One special feature of the helmet lies in its ventilation system. There are numerous vents on top of it, helping ease the stress burdened on your head. In the summer, heat also escapes more easily.

It has a Boa dial system, aiding the adjustment and soft webbing on each strap, like the Bell Avenue MIPS model. Its cost ranges from 100 to 150 dollars.

Giro Helios Spherical

The Giro Helios Spherical is a premium design, and many people trust it when riding on graveled terrains. Unlike other products prevalent on the market, it focuses more on muted colors than the cooling and aerodynamics system.

With minimal padding, the airflow seems not to be restricted, thereby offering a comfortable feeling once you wear it. The EPS foams are also covered with a hardshell, which helps prevent them from accidental knocks.

Its price spans between 230 and 250 dollars, reasonable for its fabulous look and smart design.

Scott Centric Plus

The Scott Centric Plus makes a name for itself because of the four-centimeter vertical adjustment system. Thanks to this, it provides a perfect fit for your head, ensuring optimal protection.

Similar to the Giro Helios Spherical design, the number of pads is also reduced to help enhance the air ventilation and consequently ease the strain placed on your head.

But in the winter, it is strongly recommended that you put on a cap or hat before wearing the helmet to keep your head warmer. Its cost falls in the range from 150 to 300 dollars.

What Are Some Suggestions For MIPS Mountain Bike Helmets?

Here are some best MIPS-equipped mountain bike helmets for you to consider. Hope you will get the most appropriate one.

Lazer Chiru MIPS

It still has a retention system, allowing for easy adjustments, like other products mentioned above. However, the pads covering it cannot absorb sweat, so you may find it uncomfortable to wear.

Its price is only 60 dollars, corresponding to the function it brings. But if you want a better experience, you should choose the products below.

Smith Mainline

The Smith Mainline helmet has long been known for its high cost, at about 300 dollars each. But you could reap several benefits, so its price is justifiable.

The product meets multiple disciplines and safety standards before being mass-produced. Its light weight is suitable for long journeys or trekking, and its various sizes can suit different customer segments of the market. Good ventilation is also a plus concerning the helmet’s option.

Smith Session MIPS

The Smith Session company collaborates with the third-party technology enterprise called Koroyd to release this product. It has an extending low and deep fit on the head, coupled with many venting channels to achieve the best cooling efficiency.

Goggles are also added, providing a fabulous look. Its price is slightly lower than the Smith Mainline model, at only 160 dollars.

Troy Lee Designs A3

The Troy Lee Designs A3 is the updated version, based on the success of its predecessor, the A2 open-faced trail helmet. If you take a quick glance, you will see no difference between the two products, but the A3 offers more merits.

First, the MIPS B32 system is applied to integrate the retention cradle into the protective structure. The Sweatglide system averts sweat from dropping down on your forehead and into your eyes as well.

Besides, the liner is added to cushion the fall and reduces the brain damage intensity. The manufacturer also measures the angle and analyzes its components to give the Troy Lee Designs A3 a snug fit.

Troy Lee Designs D4

The Troy Lee Designs D4 takes inspiration from the original helmet design in 1966. Some features and materials, such as the EPS foam collarbone or TeXtreme carbon fiber, are added to make it more suitable for modern use and users’ needs.

Its weight is only 960 grams for a medium size, which is ideal if you are looking for a helmet full of necessary functions and safety features with a lust-worthy appearance. Yet, the price could be beyond the budget of many middle-class households, at roughly 375 dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The MIPS Helmet Worth The Cost?

The answer is yes.

Everything comes at a price. If you want a functional helmet equipped with state-of-the-art devices, which help vent the air, protect your safety and minimize road menaces effectively, you have to pay a higher cost than normal.

This cost would be a wise investment for the sake of your health on the road because you cannot know whether an accident arises or not.

Is A MIPS Helmet Safe?

Yes.

As we have introduced both laboratory and external tests in the above section, the MIPS helmet must pass numerous standards and criteria before being accepted to be sold on the market.

Therefore, rest assured that the MIPS helmet is safe, and only a little chance is that you purchase a faulty item. Don’t buy fake products!

What Factors Affecting Your MIPS Helmet Type Choice?

  • You must determine what activity you are going to do. Each sports type, such as cycling, snow sports, or motor racing, comes with different helmet options.
  • Your safety concern also has a say in your choice greatly.
  • Considering the climate in your living area is recommended. In the summer, ventilation is the key factor you should pay close attention to apart from the protection level.
  • Rotational management must be taken into account. You could avoid severe brain injuries if your helmet is able to resist intensive rotational force.
  • Choose the one that makes you feel comfortable and fit. You will find it stifling when wearing a helmet with no or few ventilation channels.  
  • Your budget is a deciding factor. If a helmet’s price is expensive, you may not want to buy that one, right?

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, after reading our post, you could get more in-depth knowledge about the MIPS helmet meaning and other related details, such as its origin, operation and safety testing methods.

If you are unclear about some information in this article, please comment below or directly contact our website via the hotline, and we will try our best to help you.

See more: What is Pinlock on a helmet?


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Daniel Barker

Professional Motorcyclist

Daniel Barker was introduced to racing in 2006 when he experienced his first track day on my Suzuki sv650. With more than 15 years of experience on his track. Daniel is known as for his high-energy riding, drifting, precision stoppies and technical riding ability on virtually any motorcycle.


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