Want to protect not just your noggin, but what’s inside it, as you cycle? Your best bet is a specialised MIPS helmet, a unique type of headgear designed to limit the impact on the brain in the event of a head-on collision.
Here, we’ll take a look at five of the best MIPS helmets you can hope to own, as well as answering a number of FAQs on the subject.
But first, exactly what is “MIPS”?
What is a “MIPS” helmet?
A MIPS helmet contains a leading slip-plane technology, usually between the comfort padding and the EPS (a high-quality foam which reduces energy).
MIPS has been created by leading brain surgeons and scientists with the aim of reducing the rotational forces on the brain for certain impacts.
The MIPS layer is designed to rotate inside the helmet to slow down or reduce the amount of energy transferred to or from the head. This, in turn, alleviates the risk and severity of brain damage.
MIPS helmets look almost exactly like any other helmets – you’ll only spot the difference when you see a thin yellow liner under the pads inside, or through its small MIPS logo on the outside.
You shouldn’t even feel any difference when wearing them.
What Does “MIPS” Stand For?
MIPS stands for ‘Multi-directional Impact Protection System’, which is the name given to technology found inside the helmet designed to lessen the chance of serious brain injuries in the event of a crash.
The first MIPS helmet was launched in 2007, and up to 2019, more than 14.2 MIPS BPSs (brain protection systems) have been sold to more than 103 helmet brands.
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Top 5: MIPS Cycling Helmets for Commuters
Best MIPS Bicycle Helmets
A dependable helmet perfect for mountain-biking
- Available in matt black or matt grey
- Reflective detailing
- Quick-dry padding
First up is this Giro unisex model, ideal for mountain-biking thanks to its compact design and breezy ventilation.
Its In-Mold construction makes it suitable for so much more types of bike ride, though, as does its simple and comfortable Roc Lock Sport fit system.
And not to mention the MIPS function, of course, will give your brain that little bit extra in the way of protection.
- In-mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
- Quick-Dry padding
- Removable visor
A lightweight but durable MIPS helmet
- Over-moulded rubber dial which is easy to turn for adjustments
- Adjustable visor to accommodate both goggles and glasses
- Available in cliff-hanger matte, gloss grey or crimson
In whatever of its three stylish colours you prefer, this Bell helmet offers a minimalist design with a sturdy, durable In-Mold shell to keep you well-protected.
There’s also 15 vents for extra ventilation, an adjustable visor which is compatible with goggles or glasses, and quick-adjust fasteners which keep the helmet’s straps flat and in place.
And at just 500g, it’s so lightweight that you’ll barely feel this on your head (until you need it, that is).
- Fusion In-Mold polycarbonate shell - A process pioneered by Bell bonds the helmet's outer shell to the EPS foam liner to create a sturdier helmet.
- Float Fit - A minimalist, lightweight fit system with an easy-to-turn rubber overmolded dial for adjustments (integrated with MIPS)
- 15 vents
One-size-fits-all MIPS helmet
- Integrated insect net and rear mounted LED adds extra visibility
- 21 cooling vents
- Available in black (primarily) and white, hi viz yellow or white (primarily) and black
Another offering excellent levels of comfort, safety and style, this Lazer helmet comes in one size: Universal Adult (54 – 61cm), so your head is a shoo-in to fit.
It’s outfitted with an integrated insect net, and its rear is mounted with an LED light for an extra level of visibility and safety.
Plus, its MIPS low-friction layer provides all the necessary brain protection without being to the detriment of any of the helmet’s other protective qualities; it only makes it even safer, in that regard.
- The Compact DLX MIPS helmet provides comfort, safety and style, with an attractive and low-priced package
- One size is all you need with this helmet
- The helmet is outfitted with an integrated insect net and a rear mounted LED light for extra visibility and safety
The perfect multi-purpose MIPS helmet
- Made for a wide range of conditions and surfaces
- 14 vents and rear vents for maximum ventilation while keeping head safe
- Adjustable straps for optimum fit
Perfect for all sorts of cycling terrain, this BBB helmet has a plethora of protective functions to keep your head – and brain – guarded while riding.
Its removable visor offers maximum airflow, while its 14 vents and rear vents provide maximum ventilation, without compromising the safety of your head in any way.
It also offers adjustable straps so you can customise it to find your perfect fit, an easy Twist Close adjustment system, and an insect mesh protecting against any bugs flying into the helmet.
- MIPS PROTECTION: an extra safety layer inside the helmet will protect your brain even better when you fall
- OPTIMAL VENTILATION: overheating is no longer slowing down performance due to the airflow cooling system that channels and guides air over the head
- EASILY ADJUSTABLE: Use the Easy TwistClose to adjust the helmet with just one hand
Best Urban MIPS Bike Helmet for Commuters
The ultimate (and most stylish) MIPS helmet?
- Available in ‘racer black’, ‘club navy’ or ‘supermoon white’
- Multi-use 50-lumen magnetic light
- Premium visors for reduced glare and enhanced field of vision
And finally, there’s this Chapter MIPS helmet from Thousand, which could hardly offer more in terms of protection, style and comfort.
Not only is it available in three gorgeous colours, it offers MIPS protection, a 50-lumen magnetic taillight with one-hour solid runtime and two hours of flash, premium visors for a wider field of vision, and a secret ‘poplock’ to deter thieves.
That’s not all – there’s also eight strategically-placed vents for active ventilation on this fantastic helmet. As far as the best MIPS cycling helmet is concerned, this may well be our winner.
About MIPS – FAQs
Is it worth getting a MIPs helmet?
Of course – you can never be too careful.
Statistics show that when you fall and hit your head, you’re more likely to fall at an angle, creating a rotational motion – the sort of which the brain can be extremely sensitive to.
So, in an angled fall, these forces may hit your brain and cause it untold damage due to twisting. MIPS helmets reduce that rotation and thus reduce the risk to your brain.
You may buy it and then never end up actually reaping its benefits, but surely it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Are MIPS bike helmets safer?
Yes – in that they feel just like any other helmet, so offer all of the protection you’d expect from a bog-standard piece of cycling gear, and more in its MIPS helmet technology.
And you’ll barely notice the MIPS technology as you cycle until you need it, so it’s not as if it will add any sort of discomfort to your ride, either.
What is the safest bike helmet?
Any helmet with MIPS technology is obviously a worthy contender for the safest bike helmets, but of those without it, the Livall BH60SE deserves a recommendation (you can read our full review here).
It’s just as safe as any other helmet with the addition of concealed LED smart lights and indicator turn signals with handlebar controls, meaning that even at night you’d be hard-pressed to find better protection for your head as you ride.
What should I look for in a bike helmet?
Different people prioritise different things, of course. But here are two important attributes we can surely agree every good bike helmet should have at the absolute minimum:
- Safety – may sound like stating the obvious, but it’s always worth double-checking that your potential new helmet has been approved to the relevant standard: CSPS in the US, and EN 1078 in the UK and Europe. This will mean the helmet has passed several tests looking at its construction, field of vision, impact absorption, retention system, chin strap and buckle.
- Fit – try before you buy. If a helmet can’t provide a tight but comfortable fit around the circumference of your head, it’s not the one for you. Think of how much time you could be wearing it for – is it worth potentially compromising your comfort?
What else? Well, it depends on what sort of cyclist you are. If you’re a more leisurely cyclist or a commuter, you may want something a little sturdier but still high on comfort. If you generally cycle at faster speeds, a lighter, more aerodynamic model might suit you better.
But any cyclist should consider a MIPS helmet, simply for the extra protection they offer something as essential to the human body as the brain.
Do more expensive bike helmets protect better?
Not necessarily, but again, it depends on what sort of cyclist you are.
As a general rule, the more expensive a helmet it, the less it will probably weigh, and the more comfortable it will be (thanks to increased ventilation). This makes them more ideal for those embarking on long cycles, but if you just need something to help keep you protected on that short trip from A to B, there’s no need to blow your budget on one.
How much should I spend on a bike helmet?
As much as you feel is necessary.
OK, it’s a pretty drab answer, but a bike helmet you’re happy with also provides peace of mind, which can be just as important.
Again, it depends on the cyclist – if you just want a basic helmet to help on those short rides, there’s no need to spend in excess of £100. If you want the latest, state-of-the-art, all-singing, all-dancing piece of headgear, you’ll obviously need to delve a little deeper into your pockets.
Are cheap cycle helmets safe?
Of course; they just may be more no-frills and less comfortable than more expensive variations.
As long as it has either of those safety certificates (CSPS in the US, or EN 1078 in the UK and Europe), it’s a bike helmet worth considering whatever the price, as we’re concerned.
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