The Helmet Update
Volume 34, #4, June 28, 2016
All issues index
Consumer Reports publishes a helmet articleSummary: Consumer Reports has updated its 2015 bicycle
helmet report, adding new models and testing two MIPS models compared to non-MIPS versions. They found that MIPS reduced
rotational force up to 43 percent, but drew no conclusions about what that might mean for injury. They gave Excellent
impact protection ratings to 24 models, with the remaining 10 scoring Very Good. They check-rated 18 models. Of those
they picked seven Best Buys, none of them MIPS models. No helmets tested were rated Do Not Buy.
The highest overall ratings went to the Scott Arx Plus, Cannondale Quick, Bell Gage MIPS, Bell Draft,
Bontrager Solstice Youth, Bell Draft MIPS, Bontrager Circuit, Cannondale Teramo, and Smith forefront. The Bell Draft
scored higher than its MIPS twin due to better ventilation.
Impact protection ratings
The impact ratings have been CU's biggest contribution to consumer information, and our
key criterion for helmet choice. After testing 34 models in the lab, CU rated 24 of them Excellent, and the remaining 11
as Very Good.
Fit is our second key criterion, and here CU was more discriminating. They rated Excellent the Scott Arx
Plus, Bell Gage MIPS, Smith Forefront, Kali City Helmet, and Bontrager Solstice Youth. Rated Poor were the Overade Plixi
folder, Razor V-17 Youth, Bell Disney Frozen Tiara, Wipeout Dry Erase and Raskullz Mohawk.
Only the Cannondale Quick, Bell Draft, Specialized Chamonix and Specialized Chamonix MIPS rated
Excellent for ventilation. The Smith Forefront, with a liner partially made of hollow Koroyd[tm] straws, was rated only
Good. Eleven models rated Poor.
CU discussed recent concussion concerns. They had tested MIPS vs Non-MIPS models and found that MIPS
reduced rotational force by 43 percent. We do not know what testing protocols they used. They concluded that "The MIPS
helmets in our ratings are priced $20 to $25 more than the non-MIPS versions. Even if the extra benefit isn't definitive,
a MIPS helmet might be worth the extra cost."
What We Missed
This is CU's best recent helmet article and certainly worth a look if you are researching a new
helmet, although the number of helmets included is still small. Most of the models are available only in bike stores,
leaving out the millions of helmets sold in discount stores. There were no Bell True Fit models
tested, the only major advance in helmet fitting in the past decade. But testing is expensive, and no single lab,
including the US Government, can afford to test every helmet on the market. Our own listing of helmets for this season
is much more comprehensive, but has no lab test results, severely limiting its
Here is the article in Consumer
. The ratings are behind the pay wall.
See this link for reviews of Consumer Reports articles in subsequent years
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)