Source: Andrei Bocan
Eric (Eni) Enescu
Every helmet is made equal. In cycling, all helmets must abide to stringent impact tests, protecting your head to the upmost level. As they go through the same type of tests, all new helmets with a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and a Canadian Standard Association (CSA) safety rating, which can easily be checked by looking for a sticker in the helmet with their logo, will protect you as any other helmet with this rating. There is, however, one exception: MIPS, or Multi-Directional Impact Protection System.
A new safety development, MIPS improves the safety standard of helmets quite significantly. MIPS consists of a polymer mesh integrated snugly and neatly into the helmet, acting like a retention system around your whole head. As it is an integral part of the helmet, there is no assembly required. It is connected to the helmet by resistant elastic orbital fasteners. They allow for the helmet to shift position on your head, protecting a greater area of your head during a crash and absorbing more of the energy from the impact when compared to a non-MIPS helmet. The end result: better impact protection than any helmet without MIPS.
After a few years in development, MIPS have come through major improvements. The newest editions from Specialized Bicycles comes with more advanced polymer mesh. The mesh is now lighter, more figure fitting and better ventilated than the ones from previous iterations from just four years ago. Specialized, in particular, also has different levels of MIPS to work with different price ranges. Even the less expensive options have a similar safety level, but are less comfortable and less well ventilated. On top of that, Specialized has a MIPS option for every road helmet they sell. If you are interested in purchasing such a helmet, and I would highly recommend it, knowing firsthand how much a good helmet can help. They are sold at cycling specific stores, such as at Gianella Cycles on Boulevard des Sources.
This extra protection does come at a cost, but ask yourself: is my head worth the extra $30? From first-hand experience, yes all the way. If not, ask yourself: Do I want to make others’ lives harder?
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 48 Issue 07 on January 30th, 2018