MIPS has today disputed the performance of Bontrager's new WaveCel technology by claiming it falls "far below" its claims of injury prevention.
MIPS, the company responsible for the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System that is licensed out to a number of helmet manufacturers, has undertaken preliminary testing on the new Bontrager technology and claim that they, "cannot see that the helmets perform in a way that the claims Bontrager/WaveCel makes in the comparison between WaveCel and other helmets/technologies."
Launched on Tuesday by Trek's sister company Bontrager, WaveCel uses a collapsible cellular material that's designed to flex, crumple, and glide during an impact in order to absorb the rotational and linear forces of an impact. It was claimed to be 48 times more effective than EPS foam at preventing concussions and has also been quoted as preventing concussions 99 times out of 100. These claims were backed up by an academic paper, published here
, all of Bontrager's WaveCel helmets also received 5 stars, the highest ranking possible, in tests performed by Virginia Tech, here
MIPS' product is also designed to protect against rotational forces and prevent concussions in a similar way. It is the product of Swedish brain surgeon Dr Hans von Holst and researcher Dr Peter Halldin and has its own facility in Sweden where it has conducted over 22,000 tests and authored several academic papers.
MIPS also called for industry wide third party testing to ensure accurate information for consumers.
MIPS intends to share the its data with the public when testing is complete.
Bontrager replied to MIPS' claims with the following statement:
Full Statement from MIPS
As the leader in the field of rotational motion solutions for helmets, MIPS subjected the new WaveCel helmet technology to their battery of tests, with results far below WaveCel’s substantial claims of injury prevention.
Yesterday morning, WaveCel, through its exclusive licensee Bontrager, announced a new set of helmets featuring their technology, a honeycomb-like insert that attempts to decrease linear impacts and duplicate MIPS’ proven ability to lessen the rotational motion associated with potential brain injuries such as diffuse axonal injury, subdural hematoma, and concussion.
WaveCel has made sizeable claims about the efficacy of this technology, stating on their website that it’s “up to 48x more effective at preventing concussions” than a regular EPS helmet, that “adding the WaveCel technology reduced [the incidence of concussion] to 1.2%,” and, via Bicycling magazine “the company says that a helmet with WaveCel will prevent a concussion 99 out of 100 times.”
Preliminary test results of WaveCel helmets by MIPS cannot substantiate these claims. While further testing is warranted, MIPS cannot see that the helmets perform in a way that the claims Bontrager/WaveCel makes in the comparison between WaveCel and other helmets/technologies.
MIPS’ position on evaluating the possibility of a concussion resulting from a crash is that it is a highly variable event and unique to the individual impact and rider physiology. No two crashes are the same and no two people are the same, so the risk of concussion is a near-impossible claim to make. However, rotational motion itself can be measured objectively, so that is the metric MIPS can actually report and address.
For over 20 years, MIPS has been researching brain injuries and designed its system to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head, keeping people safer in the outdoors, from casual beginners to professional athletes. MIPS has conducted more than 22,000 tests in their state-of-the-art test lab in Sweden. MIPS’ own Dr. Peter Halldin, with Dr. Hans von Holst, has authored several academic papers on helmet impact biomechanics since 2001.
While MIPS finds it encouraging that more and more brands are acknowledging the damaging rotational motion, there is still a lack of an industry-wide standard from third party testing organizations to ensure accurate information for consumers – something MIPS called out earlier this month.
“We at MIPS have conducted more than 22,000 tests and we know that not all helmets are equally safe, not even the ones that claim to address rotational motion”, says Johan Thiel, CEO of MIPS. “While we hope from a consumer standpoint that Bontrager’s claims are accurate, we are curious to see how it lives up to the tests conducted in our lab.”
“We are a company of scientists, so we’re approaching this in the spirit of collaboration inherent to scientific research. If together, we can make cycling safer for riders, then we will have honored our mission to make the safest helmets possible.”