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The Helmet Update

Volume 32, #2, September 17, 2014

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Interbike Report

Last week we spoke with reps of more than 60 helmet brands at Interbike, documenting the new models for 2015. The big news is that MIPS is arriving in 2015 in a big way.

MIPS is short for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. A Swedish company, it has revived and patented the slip plane concept, using a second layer in the helmet to help the head rotate slightly on impact. The hope is to reduce the rotational component of an impact, a prime brain injury mechanism and related to concussion.

For the 2015 model year, many more manufacturers have MIPS models. Bell has bought "a substantial stake" in the MIPS company, and has a slew of Bell and Giro models with MIPS. Bell tells us they wanted good access to the MIPS team expertise to develop their helmets.

Aside from POC's first model, everybody is implementing MIPS by adding a thin layer of polycarbonate plastic inside the normal liner. Most of them leave a large uncovered space in the rear where stabilizers attach.

We are not convinced that MIPS makes sense. Bike helmets are not closely coupled to the head, and will move on impact anyway. The MIPS layer takes up space inside the helmet, can interfere with ventilation and does not cover the rear of most models. We don't think you need to scrap your current helmet for a MIPS model. Our page on it is at www.helmets.org/mips.htm.

Manufacturers have some new 2015 models, but most changes are incremental. There are more bright colors, more magnetic buckles, more "compact" road helmets with fewer extreme rear points. Smith has a second model out using their Koroyd/EPS liner. Shred has a model with a thin layer of vinyl nitrile foam interspersed with dots of EPS. Leatt has a model with spinning squishy foam disks at points on the liner that they say will disperse energy sideways. Uvex is retesting some of their older models. An Asian company is working on a "mind control helmet" that will turn on lights, cameras, etc. by thought control.

We will have more detail eventually when our Helmets for 2015 page is up.

The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Randy Swart, Editor
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA
(703) 486-0100 (voice)
(703) 486-0576 (fax)