Is it time to upgrade your helmet?
Your helmet is one of your most important accessories - if not the most important accessory. Your helmet has the incredibly important job of protecting your head and brain in the case of a crash. Consequently, it's an accessory worth investing in. When was the last time you replaced your helmet? It is recommended that helmets be replaced every three years if you ride regularly, or after a significant crash. Replacement is necessary even if damage or wear is not visible on the helmet. The foam in a helmet deteriorates due to sun, heat, salty sweat and other environmental factors. This deterioration is not always visible.
Another reason other than the passage of time to replace your helmet is advancements in technology. Manufacturers are constantly improving helmet tech to give you a more comfortable, safe, and secure helmet. Read on for some of the latest advancements in technology.
MIPS helmet technology
MIPS, or Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, is a helmet technology created in 2001 by members of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. MIPS is a low friction layer placed in the helmet that allows 10-15mm of relative motion between the helmet and the head in all directions in order to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain in the event of an impact. In other words, the layers in the helmet mimic the rotation of the brain’s own cerebrospinal fluid, which is the body’s natural defense against oblique impacts.
In a crash, the outer shell of a MIPS helmet absorbs linear impact, while the inner layer rotates, absorbing rotational impact. This small rotation of the liner relative to the shell results in a signification reduction of the forces on the brain, which reduces the likelihood of concussion and other brain injury. When shopping for a helmet today it's wise to look for a MIPS helmet for increased protection.
Considerations when shopping for a helmet
First and foremost you need a helmet that fits well! A bike helmet should be level on your head, touching all around, comfortably snug but not tight. The helmet should not move more than about an inch in any direction, and must not pull off no matter how hard you try. Consider whether you need mounts for a light or for a camera. A light and bright colored helmet will increase visibility with motorists. You may like the sleek look of a black helmet, but consider increasing your protection with a brighter color. Coolness, ventilation, and sweat control are some of the most critical comfort needs. Air flow over the head determines coolness, and larger front vents provide better air flow.