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  1. #1
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    Bicycling magazine MIPS helmet article

    http://www.bicycling.com/sites/defau...-13-Helmet.pdf

    Interesting. Some evidence of more concussions (or at least more diagnoses) despite more helmet use. Apparently regular helmets are good at preventing skull fracture, but not brain injury.

    Ends with a plug for the new MIPS helmets, but without any actual data to show they reduce concussions. But in theory they should...

    The new scott with MIPS is $75, which is much less than other MIPS helmets (~$200). It's actually less than the dual density Cdale Teramo helmet also.

    Anyone actually using a MIPS helmet or the like?

  2. #2
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    Even a k-pot wont prevent TBI (Traumatic brain injury). But, it sure helps to keep shrapnel out of your head.

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    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Strictly speaking, the source of concussion is your brain slamming against your
    skull due to the sudden deceleration of your skull, without similar deceleration
    applied to your more liquidy brain. This has been evident in football players for years.

    Still, it's considered desirable to keep the skull more or less intact. Brain tissue is ugly.
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    About time. My 37+ year old Mountain Safety Research bike helmet is the same technology as a "modern" CSPC rated skate style helmet. Tough exterior shell with EPS foam interior and web strap.
    Amerika, Land of the Very Brief.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    About time. My 37+ year old Mountain Safety Research bike helmet is the same technology as a "modern" CSPC rated skate style helmet. Tough exterior shell with EPS foam interior and web strap.
    You might want to look into foam degradation.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Yeah. Less dense EPS foam would work better at reducing the severity of brain trauma for low-moderate impacts but would be less effective at preventing skull fracture for hard impacts. Might be a tradeoff worth making.

    As far as twisting of the head (angular acceleration), yes it's bad, but I think that the typical cycling helmet is already somewhat free to rotate on the head and slides pretty readily on road surfaces so I don't know how much of an improvement could be made in that regard.

    This reminds me of the first time I went roller skating. I grew up near a lake that froze over in the winter so did a lot of ice skating. Years later I went to a roller rink for the first time. Roller skating and ice skating are quite different, but most memorable was the first few times I fell and learned that you don't slide like you do falling on ice. Ouch.

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    scott mps helmets

    I have a Scott MPS helmet. There are two models, a one size fits all, and one that comes in 3 different sizes. Of course the one that comes in different sizes is more expensive - $120 v $75. Since the fit is supposed to be the most important factor in helmet efficacy, I bought the multiple size model and was lucky enough to get one that fits very well since I was right on the dividing line between medium and large.

    The MPS technology is simply a thin plastic liner similar in weight and feel to plastic milk carton material. Evidently, it allows the helmet to rotate a little and the friction between the head, liner, and helmet is what damps the impact. I am trusting that the research has been done to select a superior material to milk carton plastic. The liner is tethered to the shell. All that I am saying is the technology is remarkably simple.

    The rest of the helmet is very similar to any good bike helmet, but the mfg. literature doesn't do a good job of describing how it works. There is no noticeable difference in the way the helmet affects the rider until it is actually used in a crash.

    FWIW, I called the dealer I found online. He says that helmets are selling very well, but are not widely available in the US. The British online dealers seem to have supplies.

  8. #8
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    Helmet design is a compromise, and the maker would need to know the speed at impact to optimize the helmet. Denser foam protects better at higher impacts, but is too hard, and so provides less cushion than softer foam at low impact. Conversely softer foam crushes too easily and bottoms out on higher impacts. There's no definitive answer, just a best guess at the ideal energy range to expect.

    As for the concussion data, it's difficult to draw any hard conclusions. It's possible that the medical community are defining down, or simply more conscious of concussions than they used to be. OTOH, depending on how the data is collected and adjusted for an expanding base (hopefully) it might be skewed upward by larger numbers of new cyclists.

    If one looks at long term data, bicycle fatality rates rise when the sport is growing, and shrink as it declines or plateaus. This reflects different percentages of more or less experienced riders in the mix. Then there are probably different injuries between riders on roads and those off road.

    The problem with statistical data is that you can make it support almost any conclusion by slightly changing what and how is factored.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Helmet design is a compromise...
    Agreed, one of the interesting take aways from the magazine article was that the official bike helmet safety standard was basically lifted from the motorcycle helmet standard. The standard is based on preventing skull fracture in a relatively high speed impact. The foam won't compress enough in a lower speed impact to protect the brain.

    It's only been a few years since doctors, researchers, and the public got seriously interested in concussions. Hopefully they can soon draw some accurate evidence based conclusions on how to prevent concussions. My wild guess is that a dual density helmet may be the thing for that, but it looks like more data and stats are needed.

  10. #10
    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    About time. My 37+ year old Mountain Safety Research bike helmet is the same technology as a "modern" CSPC rated skate style helmet. Tough exterior shell with EPS foam interior and web strap.
    You might want to look into foam degradation.
    It's an antique hanging on the wall. I wear new helmets and their tech hasn't changed. The one exception is the average bike helmet has a thin poly layer binding the EPS foam and more holes than Swiss cheese.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    It's an antique hanging on the wall. I wear new helmets and their tech hasn't changed. The one exception is the average bike helmet has a thin poly layer binding the EPS foam and more holes than Swiss cheese.
    Apologies. I misunderstood what you were saying.

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    Agreed that it is important to decide what a helmet is to do. Also, modern helmets are compromises. From posts I suspect most people don't have a reasonable idea or expectation about their helmet.

    In my case, may not apply to everyone, I have no expectation of protection from a high speed impact. I define High Speed as being motor vehicle highway speed. Trauma to the rest of my body at such speeds is likely to be so severe as to cause death, or severe disability. Not surviving would be a blessing.

    I wear a helmet for accidents at typical recreational bike speeds. Not only does it protect the head and it's contents, it can keep the face away from abrasion injury, as it did for me in one accident.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  13. #13
    Not quite there yet Matariki's Avatar
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    Good article. I wear a helmet 99% of the time and really don't think about how well it would function. I do assume that an incident would most probably involve shoulder, knee, elbow and that head impact (other than secondary after the shoulder hits first) is less likely. Perhaps that's a rationalization to avoid investing big bucks in a better helmet. As the sort that usually led with my head in my rough and tumble youth, I reckon I still have those tendencies. This article has prompted me to do some deep thinking on this.

    Thanks for posting

  14. #14
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikebreak View Post
    Agreed, one of the interesting take aways from the magazine article was that the official bike helmet safety standard was basically lifted from the motorcycle helmet standard. The standard is based on preventing skull fracture in a relatively high speed impact. The foam won't compress enough in a lower speed impact to protect the brain..
    This is dangerous nonsense - you have the truth exactly in reverse. Cycling helmets are designed to take a MAXIMUM OF AN 11-15 mph hit, carrying the weight of the head only. Beyond this the shell will usually fail, after which liner compression no longer absorbs energy.

    If you don't believe me, google for the snell etc standards. Or read this summary by a professional helmet engineer:

    http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1139.html

    Cycle helmets are specified by their manufacturers as meeting one or more of the international standards for this equipment. All of the standards test the helmet's protection of only a decapitated headform, (i.e. one with no body attached); and all tests involve only low speed impacts. Impact speeds are less than 6.6 m/s (24 km/h or 15 mph), and in some cases, barely 5 m/s (18 km/h or 11 mph). Unlike seatbelt tests, helmet test standards do not realistically replicate serious crashes.

    Helmets reduce the force of an impact only while the polystyrene liner is compressing. Once the liner is fully compacted, a helmet offers no further protection and passes residual energy straight on to the skull and brain. There is no evidence to suggest that helmets continue to provide a reduced level of brain protection beyond their design limits.

    When helmets fail, they do so catastrophically, rather than gradually, by breaking. The breaking of a helmet is not by itself evidence that it has provided useful protection to the wearer. It is common for cycle helmets to fail prematurely, before the polystyrene liner has been fully crushed. Indeed, very often helmets break without the liner compressing at all, perhaps because they have been subjected to oblique forces, not directed at the head, that they are not designed to withstand. If a helmet breaks without its liner compressing, it is likely that no more than superficial protection would have been afforded.

    In cases of high impact, such as most crashes that involve a motor vehicle, the initial forces absorbed by a cycle helmet before breaking are only a small part of the total force and the protection provided by a helmet is likely to be minimal in this context
    Having read the article: this has all the hallmarks of PR planted bs - one suspects that a substantial amount of advertising is to follow. The journalist is either amazingly incompetent and has accidentally distorted source after key fact - it's no wonder the OP get a completely wrong impression of the impacts helmets are capable of taking - or something very unethical happened

    Serious injury from rotation or linear effects is incredibly unlikely below the 11-15mph limit cycling helmets work at - people die when they get hit by cars at 40mph, not in 12mph wobbles. Anti-rotation is a great feature for heavy motorcycling and mtb downhill helmets, which are strong enough to be useful in dangerous collisions, but in 12mph foam beanies it's just a marketing gimmick to get mopre money from the suckers.

    Oh - and something like 80% of the cyclists who have fatal head injuries also have fatal torso injuries. Because cars = made of metal = SPLAT if you get hit by one at 40mph.
    Last edited by meanwhile; 06-18-13 at 06:47 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    ..I also notice that the article quotes the infamous Seattle 80-89% that the US government will no longer quote because it was junk science. In fact it makes the junk science even worse by lying about what the study claimed - eg most of the moderate injuries the study claimed were prevent were scalp grazes, but the hack claims they were concussions - which except in freak cases take a higher energy impact than a bike helmet shell will withstand. The MIPs won't change this, because it isn't specced for impacts at that energy level.

  16. #16
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the article. I'm thinking about buying a higher performing helmet despite having a working Metro and another brand new Metro still in the box in the basement.

    Interesting that they only test helmets down to 1*F. I wonder what happens to helmet performance below that? I ride in temps well below that in the winter.

    Good info. I think I'm definitely going to be shopping for a MIPS helmet in the next week or so. They're kind of hard to find though, there's nobody within 100 miles of me that has any.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    ...
    As far as twisting of the head (angular acceleration), yes it's bad, but I think that the typical cycling helmet is already somewhat free to rotate on the head and slides pretty readily on road surfaces so I don't know how much of an improvement could be made in that regard. ...
    I think both of your assumptions here are false.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcelian View Post
    The use of helmets is very important in cycling, You can save your brain and skull from any serious injury. There is a good discussion of the use of helmet we should learn a lesson from it.
    There's no denying that helmets reduce risk of brain injury in certain categories of crashes. The real question is what is the real risk of riding without a helmet, and whether focusing on helmets to the near exclusion of accident prevention is the smartest approach to bicycle safety.

    IMO (only my opinion) helmets are oversold and the benefits exaggerated, creating a false sense of security among users. Whether this leads to changes in behavior (what ins. companies call moral risk) is debatable, but no one seems willing to discuss the fact that bicycling is already very safe without protection, and whether a helmeted rider riding in close quarters within a group is safer than one who rides solo without a helmet.

    What there's less debate about is that that helmet proponents have created a climate of fear, which keeps many off the sport entirely.

    Everything we do entails risk at some level. helmet proponents have elevated the perceived risk of bicycling above the actual risk, and caused many to make illogical decisions about where bicycling fots into their total health risk profile.
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