Invented by neurosurgeon Hans Von Holst, MIPS (Multidirectional Impact Protection System)technology is hugely becoming a part of helmet manufacturing nowadays. But are MIPS helmets worth it?
MIPS helmets are worth it because they reduce the head’s rotational impact by at least 10%. As a result, they are better at preventing concussions than non-MIPS options, making them slightly safer.
It’s clear that 10% is a small percentage, but it could be the difference between suffering a brain injury and being okay when you suffer a crash.
Besides, the helmets have other aspects, such as the polycarbonate shell and the EPS core lining, which make up the remaining percentage.
I’ll explain more about how MIPS technology works and how it protects your head against rotational forces.
But first, let me explain what MIPS is.
In a hurry? Then check out the hottest MIPS helmets on Amazon in the below:
6 Best MIPS Helmet On The Market
Bell Super Air R Helmet: Best Bell MIPS MTB Helmet
Bell Z20 Bike Helmet: Best Bell MIPS Road Bike Helmet
Giro Switchblade Helmet: Best Giro MIPS MTB Helmet
Giro Agilis Helmet: Best Giro MIPS Road Bole Helmet
Smith Bike-Helmets: Best Smith Optics MTB Helmet
Smith Persist Helmet: Best Smith Optics Road Bike Helmet
What Is MIPS Helmet?
MIPS, short for Multidirectional Impact Protection System, is a brain protection technology that mimics your brain’s protection when you crash and reduces rotational impact. As a result, it minimizes the risk of brain injuries.
MIPS technology employs a slip-plane system, which allows the brain to rotate at about 10-15mm, which is slight and redirects the rotational energy released during a crash.
Does MIPS Technology Really Work?
The truth is that the brain experiences some rotational motions whenever you move at high speed. So, unless a helmet can absorb the heavy impact during a crash, your brain is likely to take the hit, resulting in a concussion.
But thanks to MIPS, the technology redirects the energy released during a heavy impact.
Generally, MIPS technology adds a low-friction protective layer around your brain that reduces rotational impact when you crash.
The MIPS low friction layer allows your head to move about 10-15mm, relatively to the direction of the helmet, and that reduces excessive rotational movement of the brain during a crash.
So, MIPS technology works and is worth it, as I explain in the next section.
Are MIPS Helmets Worth It?
It’s easy to disqualify MIPS helmets on the basis that the low-friction layer makes them bigger and heavier. But lately, there have been lighter and average size MIPS helmets, which makes the argument unfounded.
So, back to the question, are MIPS bike helmets worth it?
Before I can answer that, let me explain what the brain’s rotational motion is.
Usually, the brain responds to the movement of the head. The problem is that the moment the brain’s natural movement is interrupted by a sudden impact, the brain is likely to absorb the impact energy, resulting in a concussion.
However, the chances of that happening with a MIPS helmet are much lower.
MIPS helmets provide the needed low-friction layer that absorbs the rotational impact released during a crash. So, instead of the brain absorbing the impact, it’s redirected to the MIPS low-friction layer.
In the end, that reduces the risk of a concussion.
One study claims that MIPS reduces rotational impact by at least 10%. That makes MIPS helmets 10% safer and 10% more effective in preventing concussions.
The other benefit is that MIPS helmets feel more comfortable. Newer designs are lighter than ever before, well insulated, and breathable, thus more comfortable.
Who Makes The Best MIPS Helmet?
Though many companies make MIPS helmets, below are the three most reputable brands:
- Smith Optics
Let’s discuss them
a) Bell MIPS Helmet
Bell MIPS helmets are made by Bell Sports, whose parent company is Vista Outdoors. The brand employs a slip-plane design in their MIPS helmets to promise optimal protection against rotational impact and minimize the risk of concussion.
The helmets are also certified by the Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmet Authority (CRASH), thus safer.
One fantastic option for mountain biking is the Bell Super Air R MIPS Helmet (Amazon Link).
This helmet combines MIPS technology and EPS form lining technology to absorb maximum head impact during a crash, thus safer.
Its in-molded polycarbonate shell doesn’t disappoint either, as it protects your head against direct impact.
But if you are looking for a road cycling alternative, you cannot go wrong with the Bell Z20 MIPS Road Bike Helmet (Amazon Link).
It also combines MIPS with EPS lining to reduce rotational impact and enjoys a polycarbonate shell that minimizes direct impact.
b) Giro MIPS Helmet
Giro and Bell share the same parent company, Vista Outdoors. So, the two brands have the same helmet quality.
Perhaps, the only difference is that while Bell suits elliptical/oblong heads more, Giro leans towards round heads.
But as far as the MIPS technology is concerned, Giro doesn’t disappoint, just like Bell.
One Giro MIPS helmet that agrees with my argument is the Giro Switchblade MIPS Cycling Helmet (Amazon Link).
Everything about it makes it a fantastic fit for mountain biking. It employs MIPs to redirect energy during a crash as expected and enjoys an in-mold rugged shell that minimizes direct impact.
Its alternative for road cycling is the Giro Agilis MIPS Road Cycling Helmet (Amazon Link).
This helmet comes in a lighter in-mold construction that utilizes MIPS to prevent concussions.
The helmet is equally comfortable and breathable.
c) Smith Optics MIPS Helmet
Smith Optics is another pacesetter in the MIPS helmet world. Their MIPS helmets don’t just redirect rotational energy during a heavy impact but also protect against direct impact.
Smith borrows a lot of design features from the aerospace industry. You can tell that from the aerodynamic nature of the helmets.
The helmets are also lighter and breathable. You can tell that from options like the Smith Bike-Helmets Convoy MIPS (Amazon Link) and Smith Persist MIPS Road Helmet (Amazon Link), best for mountain biking and road cycling, respectively.
Both helmets are lightweight, breathable, and rugged, thanks to their in-mold construction. But more importantly, they employ advanced MIPS technology to keep you safe.
1. Are MIPS Helmets Really Better?
MIPS helmets promote two things. First, they improve your brain rotation against rotation impact by 10%, thus safer.
Second, the helmet feels very comfortable on the head. So, yes, MIPS helmets are better.
2. How Long Do MIPS Helmets Last?
The average lifespan of MIPS helmets and other helmets is 5-10 years. It’s, however, advisable to replace your MIPS helmet as soon as you crash or detect wear or tear.
3. What Does A MIPS Helmet Do?
MIPS helmets reduce rotational impact to prevent brain injuries when you crash. The technology involves a slip-plane system that mimics the brain’s natural protection and improves your brain safety in the long run.
4. Are MIPS Helmets Safer?
MIPS helmets reduce the head’s rotational impact during a crash by at least 10%. That makes them 10% safer than the non-MIPS helmet. So, you are less likely to suffer a concussion during a crash with a MIPS helmet than a non-MIPS option.
5. Can You Add MIPS To A Helmet?
Given that MIPS improves your brain protection by 10%, adding it to an existing non-MIPS helmet makes sense. It may, however, be as costlier as getting a new MIPS helmet.
6. Are MIPS Helmets Bigger?
Older MIPS helmets are bigger and slightly heavier because of the inclusion of the brain-protection low-friction layer. But lately, lighter MIPS helmets have been produced.
7. Is MIPS Worth The Extra Money?
MIPS offers at least 10% extra protection against head rotational impact. As a result, the technology is more effective in preventing concussions, making it worth the extra money.
8. Is It Worth Getting A MIPS Helmet?
MIPS helmets are worth getting because they are safer than non-MIPS options. MIPS technology absorbs up to 10% of the rotational impact, enough to prevent a concussion.
Yes, they are not 100% safe, but they make a notable difference.
9. Do MIPS Helmets Make A Difference?
Generally, MIPS helmets offer 10% better protection against rotation impact, thus safer than non-MIPS helmets.
Though MIPS helmets won’t prevent a crash, they reduce the risk of suffering concussions as a result. So, yes, MIPS helmets make a difference.
10. How Should A MIPS Helmet Fit?
A MIPS helmet should sit slightly above the eyebrow line, about two-finger width, and slightly above the ears. You should, however, strap it in place to ensure it’s not loose.
Are MIPS Helmets Worth It? Closing Thought:
Though MIPS helmets are not 100% safe and do not guarantee absolute protection during a crash, the fact that they reduce rotational impact by 10% makes them worth it.
It could be the difference between staying alive and sustaining a head injury.