FIT LIFE: Choosing a bicycle helmet

Published: Sep. 6, 2019 at 9:38 AM CDT
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On this Fit Life, if you're in the market for a new bike helmet,

we've got some information for you on all the new technology that's out there. Joshua Even with Sunshine Bike Shop is here with us.

And, I'm seeing some marketing that says, MIPS, What in the world is MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection Systems)?

In the last five years, we've seen a lot of research going into helmet technology. It mainly focused on the safety of the rider. In the past, helmets have just been a styrofoam bucket that just helps absorb shock.

Now they're finding through research, that you want to prevent the brain from spinning inside the skull. So, MIPS technology is an insert inside of a helmet. The helmets are built around the idea that when the helmet hits the ground, the cage inside the helmet will spin around your head, and the head will stay more stable.

Does this helmet have the technology in it?

Well, this is our starting lineup for helmets. And, this one does not have MIPS. Most companies are offering a helmet now with or without MIPS. So, you have a choice. What we are finding though, is that these companies are starting to lean more towards having MIPS technology.

Can you see it just by looking at it? Yeah, for sure. So, in this helmet, you have your basic styrofoam and foam padding and harness. But, when we look at a MIPS technology, you'll usually see these little yellow buttons inside of the helmet. MIPS allows the harness itself to rotate. So, there's movement right there as your head hits the ground. It allows your head to make adjustments on impact and not be whipped around. And, that's what's saving or reducing the risk of concussions.

If you're primarily going to be on trails, is your helmet going to be different than a helmet somebody uses for being out on the road on a bike?

For sure. It's mostly just style differences versus protection levels. What you'll see here in a road helmet is more of an aerodynamic cut. The road helmets are usually lighter and have a lot of holes for ventilation. Inside this one, they actually have the MIPS technology labeled all over the harness.

If you're going to be mountain biking, the helmet is a little diffeernt. Mountain bikers do require a little bit more protection down the backside of the head to protect the rider who falls backwards off the bike. That's much more likely when you're mountain biking, versus on the road where most likely you're going to fall forward. A mountain bike helmet will also have a more robust exoskeleton to keep crushing from happening.

If you want to get into a helmet with this newer technology, you're talking about what price range?

Most bike shops are going to carry a helmet starting about $40. For an extra $20 to $25, you'll get a version with MIPS. I think our starting lineup with MIPS begins around $60.

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