HELMET TECH: keeping your melon intact

Cycling helmets. Do you buy them based upon 1) Price, 2) Fit, 3) Color, 4) Style, or 5) Safety?

Let’s start with safety. Helmets should be replaced after 3 years or sooner if you are involved in a crash. It’s relatively cheap insurance, so you shouldn’t balk at updating a piece of equipment that is designed specifically to keep your noggin from sloshing around .

Traditionally, there have been two types of bike helmets on the market. First, there is the thick hard shell helmet with a shock absorbing liner of EPS. A hard shell helmet provides good protection against penetration and is durable.

However, the nature of the stiff outer shell also has its drawbacks. On impact, the hard shell causes an abrupt stop of the head, increasing the risk of brain injuries and whiplash injuries are more likely as hard shell helmet is more prone to rebound on impact.

The second type of traditional bike helmet is the in-mold type. These helmets have a thin shell of polycarbonate molded together with an EPS liner. With this construction any energy on impact is well absorbed, as the thin shell allows the helmet to deconstruct on impact, transferring less stress to the brain and head, which results in minimal rebound. Traditionally, in-mold helmets have disadvantages when it comes to resistance to penetration and durability.

The helmets we carry at CFC (GIRO, BELL, POC) utilize the following technologies:

MIPS - a system used to reduce the rotational force to the brain in case of oblique impacts.(Multi-Directional Impact Protection System). Accident statistics show that the most common accident occurs in an oblique impact to the head, resulting in a rotation of the head and brain. The brain is more sensitive to oblique impacts than radial impacts. In a helmet equipped with MIPS technology, a low friction layer separates the shell and the inside of the helmet. When subjected to an oblique impact, the low friction layer allows a small controlled rotation of the shell relative to the lining.

SPIN - a safety system developed by the Brain-savers at POC. It’s a silicone gel-like membrane inside the pad, which forms the basis of their patent-pending SPIN (Shearing Pad INside) technology, and is just one of technologies that form their whole-helmet approach when creating head protection.