Back in May we did a roundup review of 5 MIPS road helmets. As we wrote in the review: “Modern (non-MIPS) bike helmets are wonderful pieces of technology in terms of their impact resistance. They are designed – and tested – to help prevent skull fractures and other major blunt-force trauma. They are not, however, designed to mitigate the forces that can cause a concussion.
“A Swedish company called Multi-directional Impact Protection System — MIPS — patented the slip plane concept (what it calls a low-friction layer), using two layers in the helmet (the MIPS “liner”) to help mitigate the rotational force of an impact, which can result in a concussion or other brain injury.”
Regarding the actual testing of those MIPS helmets, we wrote: “Short of wanting to test the helmets to their true capacity, none of us on the RBR Review Crew volunteered to crash, so we did the next best thing: We came up with a set of criteria to evaluate the helmets against one another using a standard helmet as the baseline.”
Well, last Friday I received an email from RBR Premium Member and frequent correspondent Seth Shaw to the effect that he had, two days prior, tested his MIPS helmet “to its true capacity” in a crash involving a deep road rut, an endo, and a guardrail! Thankfully, Seth came away relatively unscathed, and he quickly thought to himself: Hey, I should write about this for RBR! [Editorial comment: What great readers and friends we have who are willing to share their worst days on the bike for the benefit of all of us! And Seth is absolutely representative of all the roadies I know in his concern for his bike after the crash! Read, and watch, on.]
So, what follows is Seth’s first-hand account of his crash, complete with a Fly6 video of the crash. (Seth is the guy who alerted me to the Fly6 over a year ago; he’s obviously a safety-minded rider.) As with all such reports, this is not a scientific account, by any means. But like any of us who’ve ever crashed and been grateful that there was a helmet between our heads and the road (or guardrail post, etc.), Seth’s position is one of thankfulness.
Red Is NOT My Color
By Seth Shaw
On Wednesday, as I’m fitting my brand new Bell helmet with MIPS onto my noggin, I was reminded of the last time I wore a spiffy new red non-MIPS helmet 6 years ago: I crashed. The helmet saved me from a bad injury but I had a nice headache and perhaps a mild concussion. That couldn’t happen again. No way.
Herewith my fabulous adventure 2 days ago (thanks Fly6!): http://bit.ly/1UINnEW
Tangled Up and Blue
Going about 21mph, a 2-inch wide, 2-feet long, 4-inch deep rut grabbed my wheels, propelling me over the handlebars. I hit my helmeted head on the guardrail post and got hung up on the rusted cables supporting the posts after almost going all the way through them into the embankment.
I never lost consciousness and, astounding for a 69-year-old guy, suffered no really serious injury.
Even though I was in some state of shock with the cuts, bruises — the usual road rash — and contusions, with back pain, I remained absolutely lucid. Arguably, I’m living proof that MIPS works. One of my first thoughts was that I just channeled Geraint Thomas‘s TdF crash (fortunately I found my $500 prescription glasses.)
No More Non-MIPS for Me
My helmet might suggest otherwise, but I suffered no head trauma. I started wearing MIPS helmets 16 months ago, the red one becoming a short-lived 3rd member of my repertoire. On occasion I’ll grab another non-MIPS lid as a slave to fashion to match my kit. Never again!
It seems nuts to me that everyone doesn’t wear one for the few extra dollars it costs, even if you have some doubts about the technology. Geez, you’re protecting the most important part of your body. The red Bell helmet was $70, so in this case it didn’t cost any more than a non-MIPS lid; in fact, it cost far less than many helmets without the technology. (I’m not speaking to those who don’t wear head gear. If you lid-less folks think the same freakish accident couldn’t happen to you, you’re delusional.)
My bike, at first glance, suffered no damage, but on further inspection the right shifter ain’t workin’ right. It’s a Di2, and I’m seeing for the first and, I hope, only time, a downside to electronic gear. I hope it’s the cable harness. My rear wheel rims need some cuts to be filed but both it and the front remain true and neither tubeless tire flatted. Something to be said for 28- and 32-spoke wheels?
I’m happy to report I did a 31-mile ride today (two days after the crash) on my backup bike and it was great to be back in the saddle. No pain. I was thinking how fortunate I was.
Freak Accident, Could Have Been Much Worse
I went back to the scene of the crime and the crack was filled by the road crew thankfully, but I’m telling you it could have happened to anyone. There are a multitude of like-sized cracks on this particular road, the difference here was its depth. At 4 inches, nothing would escape its grasp. Freak accident, but it could have been so much worse.
Indeed, I wrote my story with RBR in mind. It’s all about the MIPS helmet. I’ll take on anyone who questions its effectiveness not because I believe it saved me from a concussion. Rather it’s the incremental cost of MIPS, which is quickly approaching zero. No one argues that there’s added harm from it, therefore there’s no reason not to wear one no matter how much doubt one has.
At least that’s the way I see it.