Let's talk MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) Helmets- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Let's talk MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) Helmets

    I think we would all agree on one important thing - helmet safety is one of, if not THE most important protection we as bikers can wear each time we ride. Agreed?

    With that being said, there are a myriad of helmet makers out here who make every size, color, and model known to mankind. While the technology of MIPS has been played with for many years, it took the biking and skiing world by storm in 2010. Touting greater safety to our craniums upon crashes due to how they were made, and what they did on your head while crashing.

    I'm all for better protection for the head and brain area. I will admit that when I saw the new Major League Baseball oversized helmets for batters I laughed my hiney off as they reminded me of the little martian cartoon character and all you saw was a helmet on him! They looked ridiculous at the time but, more and more players are wearing them and I can't say I blame them with a 95mph fastball locked in on their head that they only have a split second to react on.

    My issue or maybe dilemma are these MIPS bike helmets. The size on these are so so huge but more importantly, the real vs imagined protection they supposedly tout in protection. These MIPS helmets from what I have gathered SHOULD be fitted by someone who knows about how to size them for your head in regards to slippage, etc. Not just throw a helmet on your head and say "Hey, that looks good on you!"

    I'd wear a helmet the size of a skull cap if I knew it would protect my head properly! The smaller the better for me, but that's just my humble opinion in regards to preference.

    In case you are still confused about any of this and/or wasn't aware of it at all, below is a short, quick snapshot of what MIPS is:

    MIPS IS A REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY THAT LETS THE HELMET SLIDE RELATIVE TO THE HEAD, ADDING MORE PROTECTION AGAINST ROTATIONAL VIOLENCE TO THE BRAIN CAUSED BY ANGLED IMPACTS. TO IDENTIFY THE NEW GENERATION OF HELMETS, LOOK FOR THE LITTLE YELLOW MIPS LOGO.

    MOST HELMETS ARE TESTED ONLY BY DROPPING THEM VERTICALLY ONTO A FLAT SURFACE. MIPS TECHNOLOGY IS THE HARD-EARNED RESULT OF OVER 19 YEARS OF STUDIES AND TESTING BY SOME OF THE WORLDíS LEADING RESEARCHERS AND BRAIN SURGEONS. BECAUSE WHEN YOU FALL, YOUR HEAD USUALLY HITS THE GROUND AT AN ANGLE, CREATING A ROTATIONAL FORCE THAT LEADS TO STRAIN IN THE BRAIN. WITH THE MIPS LOW FRICTION LAYER INSIDE, THE HELMET CAN ABSORB MORE OF THAT ROTATIONAL VIOLENCE, ADDING BETTER PROTECTION THAN HELMETS NOT EQUIPPED WITH MIPS.

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  2. #2
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    Your preferences have nothing to do with physics or human biology.
    I like bikes

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBiker View Post

    My issue or maybe dilemma are these MIPS bike helmets. The size on these are so so huge but more importantly, the real vs imagined protection they supposedly tout in protection.
    My experience is limited but the MIPS bike helmets I've seen look no different than regular ones, my Scott MIPS is identical to the non-MIPS version once you put it on. I chose it mostly because it fit better and was therefore more comfortable, if it offers more protection in a crash that's just a bonus and the extra cost is worth that gamble for me.
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  4. #4
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    The helmet already slides relative to the ground and relative to the head. How much more, if any, MIPs decreases actual angular acceleration is debatable. I remain skeptical of any benefit.
    Do the math.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    The helmet already slides relative to the ground and relative to the head. How much more, if any, MIPs decreases actual angular acceleration is debatable. I remain skeptical of any benefit.
    What do you base the helmet slides relative to the ground and head on?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    What do you base the helmet slides relative to the ground and head on?
    The fact that the helmet is not rigidly attached to your cranium? Even a helmet that is strapped down snugly on your head is still going to move around, particularly on impact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    The fact that the helmet is not rigidly attached to your cranium? Even a helmet that is strapped down snugly on your head is still going to move around, particularly on impact.
    I disagree, you forget the amount of force, therefore friction created by over 160lb traveling at over 10 mph is going to create when it hits.

    Just because you shake it around while wearing it does mean that's how it's going to behave once the forces of a crash are introduced.
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  8. #8
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    For me, the fundamental logic of MIPS sounds logical and the dollar premium wasn't too far outta bounds so I took the plunge. I have cracked several helmets over a spread of years, so I'm in need of all the help I can foster.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    The helmet already slides relative to the ground and relative to the head. How much more, if any, MIPs decreases actual angular acceleration is debatable. I remain skeptical of any benefit.
    I have several Kali helmets and I had chance to ask one of their reps if they are going MIPS...and he told me no. He said the owner did not want to do it. Instead they developed their own (LDL) with that octopus suction cup looking things. Rep mentioned that helmets without all kinds of angular cut outs on the outer shell will reduce the chance of it "catching" the ground in the event of a crash.

  10. #10
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    The problem I have with helmets is that there is little or no independent data to support the claims made by manufacturers. While a particular helmet might perform well in specific lab tests what happens in the real world is little more than a guess.

    I reckon the situation is broadly parallel to car safety. Air-bags and seat-belts no doubt make a big difference in crashes under thirty but hit something very hard and very fast, you're not walking away no matter how many air-bags you have.

    I would actively like to buy better helmets for my son and I but the lack of facts is frustrating. Top helmets are expensive and I'd hate to buy them if they only offer marginally more protection.

    At the minute, the ones which look the best to me are the Smith ones. The stated goal or reducing deceleration forces make sense to me: LINK

    Now see what you made me do? Just ordered a Smith Forefront!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post

    Now see what you made me do? Just ordered a Smith Forefront!
    Yes, we're all guilty as charged.
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  12. #12
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    Perhaps the very large MIPS helmets I looked at yesterday while visiting REI was all they had in inventory. I mean, Their selection on helmets was quite lacking to be perfectly honest. But as most of you know, sometimes the hesitancy in purchasing a helmet (of all the safety items) online is dreadful due to the fit, and look. It's a sheer gamble. I was rather disappointed at the REI selection of helmets. As someone so eloquently stated earlier to my OP, you're right about my preferences. My point was mainly about sacrificing what all MIPS is SUPPOSE to accomplish for looks, style, color, and even price at times. I almost broke down and bought my 3rd helmet in less than 2 months. lol. And it was a non-MIPS helmet at that.

    If I can find a MIPS helmet that doesn't look like a huge chrome-dome sitting on my head, I will purchase it that moment. We all ride with some degree of danger each time we go out. The helmet for me is the ONE single thing that determines if and how I will return home should I have to withstand a nasty crash. The thing is as it was also pointed out above is how this MIPS technology would ever hold up in court for example if someone decided to take legal action against one of these helmet companies. The sad part of the story would be the poor individual who suffered the crash and would most likely be paralyzed or worse to never return back to the health they once enjoyed.

    That's my other 2 cents on this.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I reckon the situation is broadly parallel to car safety. Air-bags and seat-belts no doubt make a big difference in crashes under thirty but hit something very hard and very fast, you're not walking away no matter how many air-bags you have.
    I doubt you'd have to search very hard to find hard data that contradicts that statement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBiker View Post
    The thing is as it was also pointed out above is how this MIPS technology would ever hold up in court for example if someone decided to take legal action against one of these helmet companies. The sad part of the story would be the poor individual who suffered the crash and would most likely be paralyzed or worse to never return back to the health they once enjoyed.
    I find this part of your statement is concerning. Are you suggesting a helmet company, in some way bears responsibility for some major head injury (assuming the helmet was not compromised by a defect)? An injury received by someone who knowingly accepts (or should accept) the risks and dangers that are inherently present when that person elects to participate in the activity of mountain biking?
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  15. #15
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    I checked out a couple mips helmets in person at performance bike they didnt look any bigger than the other ones. They are basicaly the same old helmets just with a simple 1mm plastic shim in there that lets it slide around. Pretty basic design "improvement".

    When i tried one on i felt how the shell could slide around a bit. The first thing i thought was how much the helmet would be uncomfortably be moving around with the weight of my light mounted up there so i decided no mips for me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    I find this part of your statement is concerning. Are you suggesting a helmet company, in some way bears responsibility for some major head injury (assuming the helmet was not compromised by a defect)? An injury received by someone who knowingly accepts (or should accept) the risks and dangers that are inherently present when that person elects to participate in the activity of mountain biking?
    Ok, let's get real here for a second. Surely you know that there are people who, when feel wronged, cheated, mistreated, lied to, etc with the help of "ambulance chasing" Lawyers will find a way to go after a multi-million dollar bike helmet company because of a big payday. Does the company bear responsibility? That's a slippery slope here. Whenever you make a product that is for the sheer purpose of providing safety and someone gets hurt in (fill in the blank) sport, there has to be SOME semblance of responsibility. I'm certain their products have warning labels of some kind on them but, get hurt and a lawyer will do his or her best to chew that up in a court of law. People have gone thru fast food drive-thru's to have a scalding cup of coffee spilled on them (in some manner or another whether intentional or not) and what happens? Law suit. Did the person in the car KNOW the coffee was hot and if spilled on them it could result in tremendous pain? Of course but they still took the risk regardless. I personally think anyone who tried to sue a helmet company already has a few screws loose as I feel they should've known a crash could happen and bodily harm a potential so why go after anyone?? But this stuff happens everyday in this country unfortunately.

    So my friend, don't get too worked up and stay overly concerned. I'm here to find a helmet which by the way, I did a couple hours ago and purchased one!
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBiker View Post
    Ok, let's get real here for a second. Surely you know that there are people who, when feel wronged, cheated, mistreated, lied to, etc with the help of "ambulance chasing" Lawyers will find a way to go after a multi-million dollar bike helmet company because of a big payday. Does the company bear responsibility? That's a slippery slope here. Whenever you make a product that is for the sheer purpose of providing safety and someone gets hurt in (fill in the blank) sport, there has to be SOME semblance of responsibility. I'm certain their products have warning labels of some kind on them but, get hurt and a lawyer will do his or her best to chew that up in a court of law. People have gone thru fast food drive-thru's to have a scalding cup of coffee spilled on them (in some manner or another whether intentional or not) and what happens? Law suit. Did the person in the car KNOW the coffee was hot and if spilled on them it could result in tremendous pain? Of course but they still took the risk regardless. I personally think anyone who tried to sue a helmet company already has a few screws loose as I feel they should've known a crash could happen and bodily harm a potential so why go after anyone?? But this stuff happens everyday in this country unfortunately.

    So my friend, don't get too worked up and stay overly concerned. I'm here to find a helmet which by the way, I did a couple hours ago and purchased one!
    First off don't be one of those people that hears a headline and runs with it. You should research that hot coffee lawsuit and get the facts. It was valid.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I doubt you'd have to search very hard to find hard data that contradicts that statement.
    Really? LINK

    " The field data analysis of both NASS/CDS and FARS were consistent with the theoretical analysis, indicating that air bags are most effective at the lower velocities, below 40 kph (25 mph), for both belted and unbelted occupants. Although it was not possible to estimate a different effect for belted and unbelted for fatalities using FARS, it was possible for MAIS 3+ using NASS/CDS. For unbelted occupants the effectiveness goes to zero or becomes negative above 40 kph (25 mph)..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I disagree, you forget the amount of force, therefore friction created by over 160lb traveling at over 10 mph is going to create when it hits.....
    How do you know what I may or may not have considered? I'm aware of that and considered it in formulating my opinion, that is I'm skeptical of any consequential benefit of the the current MIPS system.
    Do the math.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Really? LINK
    That link says they're still effective above 40kph, just less so. Are you really arguing that cars aren't safer than they used to be several decades ago? Air bags combined with engineered crumple zones allow thousands of people to walk away from crashes who wouldn't have otherwise. Science, engineering and the pursuit of improvement made it happen.

    Conversely I know of people who still won't wear a seatbelt because urban legend has convinced them that they are safer if they are ejected from the vehicle and thrown clear of the accident.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    I'm aware of that and considered it in formulating my opinion, that is I'm sceptical of any consequential benefit of the the current MIPS system.
    I'm inclined to agree. I reckon a helmet that is designed to deal with multiple crash scenarios will be better than one based on the over-simplistic standard test but I still think the MIPS system might only offer real benefit is a small range of impact types.

    The reason I went for the Smith helmet is that it's designed to reduce deceleration loading from all directions. If the claims are true, it should outperform a standard helmet in any type of crash. By how much is anyone's guess!

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Are you really arguing that cars aren't safer than they used to be several decades ago?
    No, which is obvious to anyone who has a brain and can read!

    My point is that there is very possibly a big difference between the perceived effectiveness of these safety developments and what the devices can actually do. In the case of airbags, they are pretty helpful in many types of low-speed crash but how many people realise that at higher speed the physics is overwhelming. Modern cars are massively safer than cars used to be but there are limits.

    And there is a lot more research into car safety than goes into bicycle helmets. Unlike car safety devices, where we can find data and statistics to understand quite accurately what they do, bikes helmet designs are backed up by little more than theory and a few simplistic, non-independent test.

    What I am saying is that most people do not understand the benefits and limitations of the safety features they're buying. In the case of cars, because they don't bother to look and with helmets, because the facts aren't there to find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    No, which is obvious to anyone who has a brain and can read!
    I'm doing my best with what I got Mr. smart guy, not everyone is a genius with >80 IQ. Meanwhile you might want to brush up on your writing skills-

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    The problem I have with helmets is that there is little or no independent data to support the claims made by manufacturers. While a particular helmet might perform well in specific lab tests what happens in the real world is little more than a guess.

    I reckon the situation is broadly parallel to car safety.
    -where there are truckloads of independent data? I was only pointing out that airbags are also effective in crashes other than "low speed" ones.

    Nice lid btw, if the fit is good I think you'll find it worth the price.
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    If price were thrown out of the equation does anyone think there are any drawbacks to MIPS helmets compared to otherwise identical non-MIPS models?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    First off don't be one of those people that hears a headline and runs with it. You should research that hot coffee lawsuit and get the facts. It was valid.
    There is this thing we use called an analogy to make a point. That is what I was using just in case you were wondering. You missed my point entirely. By the way, I'm sorry that coffee was hot that was spilled on you.
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    JB, the only drawback that I personally have found was the size but like others have stated, it's not even that in some cases. Personally for me when it comes down to a financial decision on whether I wanted to protect the most important part of my body it is a no brainer to be honest. What price can you place on the head protection you know? Mr. Pig just ordered a $250 helmet and when I saw the price tag I almost swallowed my tongue but, then I thought to myself that is really a small price to pay to ensure I can get up from a horrible bike crash. He actually got me to thinking more about plopping down more as well. This aint about elbow or knees pads where we have the luxury and option to choose because of (..........). Even a small concussion can lead to a lifetime of misery and regret. Price here should never be a matter IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    First off don't be one of those people that hears a headline and runs with it. You should research that hot coffee lawsuit and get the facts. It was valid.
    Yeah, McD received many complaints about the temp and made their decision to not address the complaints. The burns the customer suffered were severe. Claiming coffee is supposed to be hot does not mean it is justified to make it so hot that it is scalding. It was real ignorant choice for McD and initially the victim was willing to settle for payment of medical bills.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I disagree, you forget the amount of force, therefore friction created by over 160lb traveling at over 10 mph is going to create when it hits.
    What exactly in my previous statement indicates that I "forgot" this?

    Just because you shake it around while wearing it does mean that's how it's going to behave once the forces of a crash are introduced.
    Absolutely. Which, in a roundabout way, supports the point I (and Lone Ranger) were making. I'm not saying I think MIPS is total horseshite. Just that I remain somewhat sceptical about its real-world applicability to a broad range of scenarios.

    I probably wouldn't pay a lot more for a helmet just because it has MIPS, but if I was choosing between two helmets that were more or less the same price and one option had MIPS, then sure, why not.
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    My take is that, if there is a reasonable probability that my MIPS helmet can offer me an enhanced level of protection during a specific type of crash, then I'm game. All of my impacts are different, and just maybe, I will need MIPS on one of these crashes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBiker View Post
    Mr. Pig just ordered a $250 helmet and when I saw the price tag I almost swallowed my tongue but, then I thought to myself that is really a small price to pay to ensure I can get up from a horrible bike crash.
    I actually spotted one on sale so it was much less than full retail. Still not cheap but the saving tipped it. I've looked at them before but it this thread that brought the idea back into my head.

    My wife had a brain haemorrhage a few years ago so she's a lot more aware and informed about head injuries than she used to be, which means I am too ;0) The bottom line is that it doesn't take that big a knock to do proper damage, just look at poor Michael Schumacher. And the risk of hitting your head mountain biking is quite high.

    And I'm not very good at mountain biking!....

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