The Helmet Update
Volume 36, #6, June 26, 2018
All issues index
Virginia Tech publishes helmet ratings
Virginia Tech's Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics lab has released a new STAR system for rating bicycle helmets, with
30 models rated. The ratings varied considerably, with four 5-star models and two that got only 2 stars.
The helmets were already certified to the CPSC standard using severe impacts, so the ratings are based on testing that
explores their ability to perform in lower-level impacts, and their ability to handle rotational forces that are widely
believed to be important in causing concussions. The full methodology is explained on the Virginia Tech site
The four 5-star models (all of them MIPS-equipped) were: Bontrager Ballista MIPS, Louis Garneau Raid MIPS, Bell Stratus
MIPS, and Specialized Chamonix MIPS.
The results give MIPS a boost after Snell's recent announcement that their own testing showed no benefit for the
technology. But Tech used the type of setup favored by MIPS for rotational testing, with a very rough slanted anvil and a
headform with a polyurethane skin and no scalp. And one of the MIPS helmets tested scored only three stars. Tech did not
test an identical MIPS and non-MIPS model.
For more detail on the testing, we recommend
this excellent article in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
We have a page up on Virginia Tech's program
We welcome this new approach to bicycle helmet testing and believe that ratings systems will be more useful to consumers
as other standards remain stagnant in the face of new concerns about concussion-level impacts.
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)