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What is 'MIPS' And Why You Should Know About It

So, you’ve been looking at some helmets on the shelf and noticed this “MIPS” thing getting around on some of the latest releases. You don’t mind the little yellow logo but you’re not really sure what it’s all about? What is MIPS?

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. What's that? In short, MIPS is an additional protective layer inside the helmet with the purpose of mimicking the brain’s own natural response to an impact.

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So why do we need it? Science has proven that if the strains associated with rotational acceleration resulting from an impact can be reduced, then so too might the risk and severity of brain injury be reduced. MIPS does this by using a low friction layer inside the helmet designed to rotate and allow between 10-15mm of head movement relative to the helmet in all directions. This is intended to potentially slow or reduce the amount of energy transferred to or from the head by redirecting forces and energies that might otherwise be transferred to the brain.

Okay, but what is rotational motion? Rotational motion is a result of an angled impact to the head and is a combination of rotational energy and forces. Rotational motion results in shearing and/or stretching of brain tissue which affects the brain and increases the risk of a broad scope of brain injuries. Research indicates that rotational motion is highly likely to cause concussion or mild traumatic brain injury more than a straight impact.

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 How can I tell if a helmet has MIPS or not? When you look inside a helmet you will see the MIPS low friction layer under the comfort padding. It’s lightweight, fully integrated and is usually yellow but can appear as black and will always have the MIPS logo imprinted on it. The MIPS layer is always designed for the specific helmet so it may vary depending on the helmet, but they all perform the same way and are equally safe.

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Is MIPS a gimmick? Developed with over 20 years of research and engineering by the world’s leading brain surgeons and scientists, the MIPS Brain Protection System has become a core feature of over 78 helmet brands worldwide. MIPS is available in helmets ranging from team sports to motorsports to winter sports and even construction. With that kind of a reputation there’s no doubt that MIPS is legit.

To MIPS or not to MIPS? Whilst a MIPS helmet might be slightly more expensive than one without, there’s no doubt that MIPS does make your helmet safer. And with Australia’s mountain biking trails being some of the gnarliest in the world, why wouldn’t you want as much protection as possible? Check out our range of helmets at our Brisbane MTB shop or online.