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The Helmet Update

Volume 36, #8, December 14, 2018

All issues index

Virginia Tech publishes more helmet ratings

Virginia Tech has published more STAR system helmet ratings, bringing the total up to 50. Six of the additions were 5 Star and another 9 were 4 Star, the range that Tech recommends. Of those, one was also rated tops for impact protection by Consumer Reports, the Schwinn Intercept. It retails for $18.

Most of the top performers in the Virginia Tech testing were MIPS models, reflecting in part their use of the same methodology that MIPS uses: sticky headform, tight strap, severe anvil angle, rough grippy anvil, no neck. That methodology couples the headform more tightly to the helmet than it would be in the real world. It would be expected to favor the MIPS models, unlike the Snell Foundation's research that showed no benefit from MIPS.

There is still no consensus that the Virginia Tech formula for rating helmets for concussion pinpoints the helmets that reduce concussion the best. Changes to the tested helmets to improve their scores might not result in fewer concussions in the field. But since established standards organizations have failed to respond to concussion concerns, these ratings represent a good start at testing helmets systematically for lower-level and rotational impact performance.

We have a page up that matches the Consumer Reports and Virginia Tech top-rated helmets, resulting in a grand total of seven where the two concur.

The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Randy Swart, Editor
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