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MIPS Says WaveCel Helmet Technology Falls 'Far Below' Bontrager's Injury Prevention Claims

Mar 21, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
MIPS headquarters

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.

Views: 14,569    Faves: 3    Comments: 0

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 headquarters
Hons von Holst and Peter Halldin, the originators of the MIPS concept.

bigquotesMIPS subjected the new WaveCel helmet technology to their battery of tests, with results far below WaveCel’s substantial claims of injury prevention.

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.

MIPS also called for industry wide third party testing to ensure accurate information for consumers.

bigquotesWe 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. 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.
Johan Thiel, CEO of MIPS

MIPS intends to share the its data with the public when testing is complete.

Bontrager replied to MIPS' claims with the following statement:

bigquotesWe believe that slip liners are a good technology that provide a real benefit to riders. Having partnered with MIPS for a number of years, we have brought many products featuring MIPS technology to market. We also believe that there is room for innovation in rider safety. Trek offers helmets with WaveCel, MIPS and standard technology. Consumers can decide for themselves which products fit their particular needs based on the data and information available to them.Bontrager

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.”


  • 257 5
 Bontranger: MIPS is inferior
MIPS: No u
  • 138 10
 As far as I am concerned they are both inferior because no one is making a helmet for dogs and that is the real issue here amirite? Also if this is a pissing contest one of these companies should call me up to the majors.
  • 5 70
flag knightmarerider (Mar 21, 2019 at 14:04) (Below Threshold)
 @IamTheDogEzra: does your dog ride one wheels? Cuz as far as I know of, nobody's wearing helmet in running sports
  • 43 2
 Not really. MIPS is just saying you can't claim concrete concussion prevention numbers, since the crashes leading to concussion are shaped by so many factors.

If Bontragger changed their wording to something like, "in our test scenarios, WaveCel was 48 times more effective than EPS foam at preventing concussions", there's nothing MIPS really say.
  • 47 3
 @knightmarerider: Why are you asking about Ezra's dog? Ezra is a dog.
  • 4 6
  • 2 6
flag endurocat (Mar 21, 2019 at 15:12) (Below Threshold)
  • 1 10
flag trails801 (Mar 21, 2019 at 16:24) (Below Threshold)
 HAHAHA This is an iconic Trump move. Sarcasm or is it?
  • 5 0
 @IamTheDogEzra: If you want a helmet you can ask your owner to buy you one of those:
  • 24 7
 Yeah, cause MIPS has absolutely no incentive, monetary or otherwise, to discredit WaveCell or make themselves look good. Rolleyes COUGH lol
  • 13 1
 Basically every rider should have this website book marked
Independent testing by VA Tech and IIHS
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Thanks for the link. First time I have seen this.
  • 10 5
 @mtbikeaddict: ya but in this case I'm inclined to side with the company that DIDNT give us boost spacing.
  • 6 2
 @reverend27: Well sure, Trek is known to make over the top claims and marketing and whatnot, so I figure, initially pretty much take it with a grain of salt, but it does sound interesting, so wait to see if it's validated. Pretty much like that for anything nowadays, I just figure that's common sense. I just find it funny that MIPS is now saying, as the OP said, "I'm not inferior and outdated! ... You're ... YOU'RE inferior and outdated!" For those who've seen Cars 3... nice comeback Cal... Rolleyes Razz
  • 12 1
 As far as I'm concerned, Mips f*cked it when they convinced helmet companies to licence their technology at such a price it would almost double the price of the helmet in which it is installed, when in reality it's just a bit of yellow plastic.
I know I know, R&D, supply and demand blah blah blah. I don't care. That little yellow bit of plastic is a ripoff. The costs have been recouped long ago. They should drop the licence fee to something reasonable, like perhaps $1 per unit.
  • 2 0
 You could say, they are going HEAD 2 HEAD on this topic. Last man standing gets the golden ticket
  • 1 0
 @mammal: Even that would not be correct. WaveCel to be correct would have to talk about the amount of rotation dissipated; the amount of energy absorbed or some other directly measurable metric.

Any claims of concussion reduction cannot really be determined using laboratory tests but would require a large sample size of long term rider testing.
  • 1 0
 @RoboDuck: That's true actually. Good point. Claims about brain injuries are a sticky practice, when the mechanisms of those injuries themselves aren't completely understood.
  • 2 0
 (Dr Evil meme) “48 times more effective”
  • 3 0
 @reverend27: To use some of what @twelvemonths said below... do I trust all of Trek's marketing claims? No. Do I trust the quick rather petty and perhaps insubstantial reply from a rival company who currently has a virtual monopoly, and has their best interest to squash competition? Heck no.
  • 3 0
 @mtbikeaddict: Yup, nothing more than a knee jerk reaction from the MIPS folks; scrambling to do some damage control.
  • 1 0
 Technically Bongrager/Trek never said MIPS is inferior, they said Wavecell is much better than standard EPS, You can infer it is better than MIPS also. This is probably because MIPS is used in Bontrager helmets, so directly attacking them undercuts it.

Personally this statement is not a good look for MIPS. First they may have started out as scientists, but they have a market position to protect—MIPS is trademarked, but protecting against rotational or shear forces is not. It is obvious they have a huge economic incentive to hide behind the power of that yellow logo to add $20 MSRP to a helmet. Not admitting to that under the guise of “science” puts them no better then Trek.

Second, the main criticism of MIPS is that there is no way to prove reducing such forces reduces concussions in real life. MIPS using that exact same attack line against a competing product is rich.

Finally, why pick this company/tech to attack? This is not the first sort of variant to attempt to improve on MIPS with a gel approach. I own a Kali Interceptor whose LDL liooks like it operates similar to WaveCell. My guess is Trek, being so large with a lot of distribution and marketing clout represents no new threat to the MIPS tech, but is a serious threat to MIPS *marketing and branding*. The other vendors with competing tech (like Kali) do not license MIPS and charge significantly less for their tech (I believe Kali is introducing a new helmet with LDLlike performance for $60 MSRP) which makes it an ???? to ????, but it lacks a ???? to ???? comparison. My Giro Synthe MIPS is sold side by side with the Synthe telling me I paid exactly $x more for a piece of plastic and some yellow breakaways. Here Trek is selling regular EPS helmets, the same helmets with MIPS for $x more and a helmet with “WaveCell” but without MIPS in their top end price range. they are telling through price and marketing that they have tech that does what MIPS does, only better, and that must be attacked, science be damned.

The only thing I have to say this in MIPS defense is that the real innovator here in the last 30 years is the idea of designing helmets to reduce rotational/shear forces instead of rigid impact, and that was innovated not by Bontrager, but by the team behind MIPS. I’d be pretty butthurt by that. But you either take the high ground and stay above it, or you don’t and roll around with the pigs,

Gut instinct: 20k tests and whatever, I fail to see how a bunch of people with a deep understanding of materials and a large marketing and research budget can’t improve on a plastic done and some breakaway tabs. MIPS probably should have taken their licensing $ and introduced MIPS2 while lowering the fees on MIPS or turned MIPS into a certification/rating, instead of letting encourage their licensees to look for ways to get around their intersources fees, You know, when Apple introduced the LaserWriter, they paid $1k per machine to Adobe for Postscript. You don’t see anyone paying a penny for PDF. At some point you got to pivot your monopoly into a lasting advantage, looks like that timer has started in earnest.

I’ve still got a lot of mileage left in my Kali LDL and Giro MIPS to be bothered to throw around some benjamins when I have yet to crash in either (let alone crash twice in the Kali), but my girlfriend needs a new helmet, and I’m going to have her try on a WaveCell first.
  • 212 0
 Cool, good science needs validation through independant replication of the experiments. I am eagerly waiting for the paper by MIPS. If we can have competitors fight on who's helmet is proven to be safer, that will be amazing for us, users.
  • 7 1
 I can't upvote your comment enough.
  • 10 1
 Competition is the right answer to so many questions.
  • 16 2
 the sling mud now, ask questions later approach by mips is pretty average though
  • 7 7
 Thought MIPS response here was very professional.
  • 12 2
 Professionals present data.
  • 1 3
 Look at my post above yours, there already is.
  • 7 2
 I can't wrap my head around it
  • 11 0
 @half-man-half-scab: They are releasing the data once they conclude testing. For now they are calling Bontrager out for making wild claims that are only loosely backed. While yes, attempting to curb the hype about the new guy will help maintain MIPS sales, its still good to remind people that just because someone says something doesn't mean its true.... unless that someone is multiple independent researchers!
  • 1 1
 this, i cant wait for the bro-down!! love me some actual competition and companies throwing shade at another
  • 4 0
 @Tfield221: exactly, calling for a third party research project says a lot. Could it be subterfuge on MIPS behalf, sure. But their response thus far is exactly what I’d expect from a company that’s fround a competitor’s claims to be BS.
  • 4 0
 I agree the paper will be interesting, but I for one would not be able to trust a company at ALL that has the monopoly on the 'anti-concussion' market. MIPS have their technology in nearly every helmet manufacturer for pretty much every sport that requires one. Just because they are 'scientists' does not give them the mandate to be the judges for any other technology that comes to the market. I've been researching new technologies in helmets and concussion reduction for several months now as my thesis is based on this. From my findings (which include the wave cell technology) there are plenty of technologies out there with reason to be better than MIPS. I see MIPS playing a game here, although they've obviously done wonders for head protection they seem to be blocking other technologies coming through.
  • 2 0
 There’s no proof of this information from MIPS, we’ll have to wait for that. But looking at Verginia Tech’s website who gave the Bontrager helmet 5 stars, they also show no proof for any of their testing. One thing I noticed looking down their list of tested bike helmets that raises a lot of questions is their rating for the Schwinn Intercept helmet, costing $18 (I googled this, it’s true), scores 4 stars & pretty much the same score as the Poc Tectal helmet at $190. Now either we’re all mad spending more than $20 on a helmet or something’s up with the testing procedures or results analysis!
  • 2 0
 I too have been following this for some time. As a product developer in the PPE industry (work-at-height professional/recreational) I have searched extensively for a peer-reviewed and/or independent third-party paper corroborating MIPS claims and have found nothing.
It is beyond bold to make a statement against a competitor product when there is no independent research validating your own product.
Furthermore, WaveCel closely resembles Koroyd - another 'crumple' technology claiming big improvements over current impact absorption in helmets.
My skepticism for MIPS grows
  • 1 0
 @IdRatherNotPeddle - The other interesting thing is that the road helmets are rated more highly than the mountain helmets. I wonder if this has to do with the more prominent visors and various protuberances on mountain helmets.

@ratatat: Precisely, you don't counter bad science with posturing in an online mountain bike magazine. You counter bad science with better science in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • 1 0
 @IdRatherNotPeddle: There is a PDF with Virginia Tech's testing methodology linked from the rating page:

On the price vs. safety aspect, there are many other areas that brands charge more for other than safety. Aesthetics, breathability, weight, aerodynamics are all big-ticket items that are separate from protection.
  • 89 0
 Battle Royale time: MIPS vs Wavecell in a no holds barred watermelon strapped in a helmet smash off.
  • 231 2
 Take the CEO's of both companies, strap on their own helmets and see who is willing to get hit with the heaviest weight.

  • 5 0
 @Klainmeister: YES Excellent idea
  • 91 0
 @Klainmeister: or head butt each other like bighorn sheep. Last one standing wins.
  • 9 4
 Never seen a watermelon with concussion
  • 7 0
 @dh1stan: are you suggesting watermelons aren't good proxies for human heads?
  • 6 1
 @Klainmeister: First one to bail wins, because the other company is provably headed by an idiot?
  • 1 0
 Wait, Battle Royale will be when Giro, Bell, Specialized, FOX, Lazer, MET,... will enter the ring Wink
  • 2 0
 I vote for @mungbean's idea.
  • 3 0
 Hell in a Wavecell
  • 2 0
 @ThisIsDan: I like my head to be filled with vodka too so yes, watermelons are good proxies for human heads.
  • 55 0
 Lol.....meanwhile BMXers are like; hold my beer!
  • 39 2
 BMX Rider: “The skull is the true helmet. Meets safety standards and exceeds it as well. See, mine has staples in it for more regitity.”
  • 24 2
 More like hold my helmet.
  • 11 1
 More like debilitating mental issues from repeat concussions.
  • 6 2
 Meanwhile BMXers are like: Proud of my titanium hardware/plate. In the long run we're all dead.
  • 21 1
 @martin737: Yes. But in the short term some of us are pooping in bags as a result of injuries that could've been prevented by a helmet.
  • 4 0
 @jclnv: That's why they had to shorten the name to "BMX"
  • 1 3
 @chillrider199: the shoulders and elbows are your best way to protect your head and a mouth guard will do way more than a helmet that covers the top 1/4 of your head. Believing that any product can prevent 99 out of 100 concussions is a far better way to f*ck your shit up. BMX may have its issues but at least its not full of knobs that overspend and judge peers for not buying shit like enve wheels and make-believe helmet tech. MTB it the space of over equipped and under skilled and bmx is the opposite and it really shows.
  • 48 8
 You can never trust the word of a company that's selling a competing product. They may be right, but that has to come from someone with no monetary incentive... Maybe someone like Virginia Tech
  • 27 5
 Virginia Tech absolutely has a monetary incentive. Honestly, I don't see why this couldn't fall under the NHTSA for non-biased 3rd party testing.
  • 7 6
 @djbutcher13: The world of academia is very careful about maintaining transparency when it comes to funding and other potential external influences. Being a public research university I would expect no less from them.
  • 15 1
Can you point to a source for your claim that VA Tech has a monetary incentive to find one way or the other?

I found this on the NIH web site ( which is a 2012 response to a claim by a single Football (Hand Egg?) helmet manufacturer that VA Tech was biased in their testing. If the claims made by VA Tech are still true, then I will accept them as the best source of independent testing of helmets.


Virginia Tech is Independent

We have no financial interest whatsoever with the HIT System or Riddell. We have never received any funding or royalties or promise of payment in any form from any helmet manufacturer. We submit that we are one of the only truly independent helmet research laboratories in the world. Our funding is unbiased and comes from the NIH, DOT, DOD, Toyota Central Research and Development Laboratories, and Virginia Tech, all of which have no interest in any helmet company.
  • 2 2
 @Dangerous-Dan: My concern comes from the big "DONATE" button at the top of the page when you look at the list of helmets. What stops Trek or one of their subsidiaries from making a large donation?
  • 39 0
 It didn't perform to it's claims, but did it perform better than MIPS?
  • 8 0
 That was my thought. All I know is that surely in the high tech world we live in, there must be a better way to protect your brain than polystyrene.
  • 10 2
 Putting my money on WaveCel (figuratively speaking).

I currently have a MIPS helmet, but only because I wanted the Proframe for the ventilation+full face protection, not because of MIPS. Frankly, I don't see how this shitty piece of plastic does a god damned thing.
  • 5 2
 @rezrov: It does knock around a good bit on chattery terrain. So, if you like a distracting noise that makes you think you have a screw loose, then MIPS wins hands down.
  • 3 1
 @rezrov: it does protect, mips actually does work, helmet rotates pretty good when you have a crash, cannot comment mips vs non mips sice crashes happened unintentionally, however mips far superior then non mips to my subjective opinion.
  • 2 0
 @jm2e I bought a large last night. I noticed that flopping around only after I got it home. Thought it might not be assembled correctly, but no, it’s a floppy mess. How do they expect the fidlock gizmo to work at all if it rattles like that?
  • 31 0
 I always thought it was Moops.
  • 12 5
 That's not "Moops" you jerk! It's a misprint!
  • 11 3
 @pinhead907: Anyone who downvotes this…no soup for you!
  • 6 0
 Nothing's finer than being in your diner.
  • 29 0
  • 26 2
 Holy eff everyone. Can we not hire one person who knows statistics enough to look over any of these PR claims?
The original waveCel paper describes that waveCel is better than standard EPS helmets, and MIPS is better than EPS helmets. There was NO statistical tests done to determine if waveCel is better than MIPS. Trek/Bontrager are using poor wording in their PR and are making it seem that waveCel is significantly better than MIPS, which was NOT demonstrated in this paper. Yes, the magnitude of the force reduction was greater with waveCel, but we cannot say this is significantly different.
Now, obviously, MIPS is upset, so they release some bold claim saying that waveCel is 'far below' Trek's numbers. Then it says that 'preliminary tests...', which means they have not replicated the study. Maybe they have done one or two tests and it looks like Trek's numbers were inflated, but until they entirely replicate the waveCel paper and discredit it, whatever they say kind of means nothing.
Moral of the story: can a company full of professional engineers not get one person with any knowledge of statistics to look your statements over before you make silly claims?
  • 3 0
 From a scientific standpoint all the papers by MIPS and the one by Trek are preliminary at best and normally I would be deeply skeptical of any safety claims derived from these. As a MTB rider I am boundlessly excited that something is happening in helmet safety after 30 years of stagnation and will be throwing large amounts of money at any company that can provide even the slightest shred of evidence.
  • 20 0
 My tin foil hat protects me from both impacts AND alien mind control. I've carried out my own tests and can conclude that the way the foil is folded is key!
  • 3 0
 @ZappBrannigan: it's ok, tin foil has come on a long way since 05, plus I dont see my folding technique on any of the test scenarios. I'm still safe and they cant get me!!!!
  • 3 0
  • 3 0
 The key is that one must use TIN foil, that modern Aluminum stuff is total horseshit. I think that's what all the naysayers are missing.
  • 19 0
 The joy in this dispute is that the result will likely only increase helmet safety, which is good! Sorry this isn't a good one liner or a sarcastic joke about either/both companies
  • 17 1
 BREAKING NEWS: Bontrager's wave cell department says that when MIPS's mother sits around the house, she really sits around the house.
  • 13 1
 "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."
  • 3 0
 Channeling PVD
  • 3 3
 Please read the article in your link carefully. This is not a case of McNamara fallacy, simply because there are no qualitative observations here. There is only quantitative data and marketing claims.
  • 6 0

Not my link, but:

MIPs can't measure what's important (concussions prevented), but can make what they can measure (rotational force) important. That is exactly the same as

Quote from link above "The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured"
  • 4 3
 @nouseforaname: Keep in mind that this is about lab testing. Concussions prevented is not a thing "not easily measured", concussions prevented don't exist in this discussion because they are not happening in crash test dummy heads.
The way to avoid the McNamara fallacy is to not disregard qualitative observations. In this case, there is nothing to disregard because there are none. No case studies, no anecdotes, no surviver stories, no nothing about WaveCell.
  • 4 2
 @Ttimer: You..... have made my case for me?

The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured - rotational motion
The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured - risk of concussion

They've just stated it in reverse order:

"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." - since we can't measure that, we'll disregard it.

"However, rotational motion itself can be measured objectively, so that is the metric MIPS can actually report and address." - and instead, we'll measure this (its easy) and report this.

I'm not saying MIPS or WaveCel is better, but MIPS is literally saying "we can't measure or quantify that, so instead we measure this," with no real backup or connection between what they're measuring, and what we're all looking to prevent. Concussion.
  • 3 0
 @cooperquinn-wy: To bad we can't strap helmets on people and have them lawn dart at 15-25 mph. Even then your data could be dismissed from variables we may not understand yet. Hell just being dehydrated can change your risk for a concussion. Science has to start somewhere, correct? It sounds like the worst thing to worry about are the repetitive smaller sub concussive hits, but even that could be misleading. We simply don't understand the brain enough yet to be 100% sure. Either way I hope these people further our chances of having a healthy brain after years of abuse. Go science!
  • 2 0
 @MikeGruhler: I completely agree with all of that.
  • 14 0
 And thus began the Helmet Wars of 2019.
  • 6 0
 Shots fired. It's such a frustrating area as products aimed at safety are products that can be easily connected to fear or a reduction in fear- which really sells. I'm happy to see that we are making advancements in safety but just wish it didn't come from the people who directly profit from creating a silo around their product and corner markets. I'd love to believe that they would love to work together to make the world a safer place... but that's not how companies stay in business. So it is what it is- they keep slinging products that they argue are the greatest things ever and we try to sift through and make decisions to keep our brains in tact. Pinkbike can you just run some independent tests? find out the variable they are both studying (or create your own as no doubt people pick constructs that skew towards their marketability) and just run every helmet you get through it for us.
  • 13 2
 One word: liability. I'd love to don a lab coat and start smashing helmets, but the reality is that the potential for lawsuits is too great for us take that task on. At the moment, Virginia Tech's research is worth paying attention to, and hopefully a standard for rotational impacts gets implemented sooner than later, although things seem to be moving very slowly on that front.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: one interesting point around rotational and shear impacts is the persons head is not taken in to account and the hair effect. Sounds crazy but it does effect and also work as mips.
  • 4 2
 @mikekazimer: Yeah- but they disclosed in the Virgina Tech paper that they were biased parties with financial gain. That study was pretty problematic also given the claims it made- It literally tested two versions (MIPS and non-MIPS) of the same Scott helmet and then generalized safety findings from that to all slip and nonslip helmets. I agree on the liability front- let's hope some eager grad student takes up the cause!
  • 2 0
 I see this as being one of two possible events — either MIPS tested the helmet and it outperformed their own products but fell below the ‘48x better’ claim, so MIPS is simply throwing dirt in the sandbox to create consumer doubt, or the Bontrager product actually doesn’t live-up to the ‘standards’ MIPS feels are adequate. Third-party testing along with universal standards of performance really is the answer. We saw this a few years ago when the EU standards emerged in response to sleeping bags not performing to their claimed temperatures. It was a safety concern then and it is a safety concern now. Time for government and policy?
  • 3 0
 @snl1200: I'll take VT's word over that of MIPS because
A. That research paper was not VT. It did disclose financial involvement, but it wasn't VT.
B. As for the VT research "Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have been providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of research on head impacts in sports and identify which helmets best reduce concussion risk. This work is done as part of Virginia Tech’s service mission and is 100% independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers."
  • 1 0
 @snl1200: they always seem to be
  • 1 1
 @cwatt: From the press release, they don't dispute the claim of reduced impact forces due to WaveCell, they cricicise the "concussion" claims. Because equating a reduction in rotational impact forces with an equal reduction in concussions is wrong.
  • 1 0
 @taquitos: Yes- sorry- you are correct. I was wrong in my assumption that the study posted was what was being referred to. Thank you for pointing that out. The VIT stuff does look more unbiased ( and I appreciate that they have made their process transparent ( Also interesting that the Blaze helmet did not outscore a number of MIPS helmets on the list.
  • 1 0
 @enduroFactory: No it doesn't
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: are y'all hiring helmet smashers any time soon?
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: How might PB be at liability risk if you were to hire out testing to an independent lab and report the results, plain & simple? Tough to legally point fingers if you're only reporting results...

These are a couple labs I have used to certify helmets, and many labs will run any protocol you need, say perhaps the draft standard for rotational testing in committee in CE: CEN/TC 158/WG 11, or even the VT protocol. Either one is better than the issued standards (CPSC, CE EN 107Cool .

This seems to me to be the essence of investigative reporting, and also might be rad...
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: I can understand why pinkbike might want to avoid getting into the helmet testing game. For the same reasons though, Pinkbike should be reluctant to repeat questionable safety claims directly from a press release.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I understand that you are just a media site but you still have much more influence on the industry than us average riders. Please, for our common good, keep pressuring the producers to work on helmet safety. The next step should be real world testing. The tools have already been developed for NFL:
Help to make it happen!
  • 1 0
 @Konyp: You do understand that isn't real world testing right? No one is wearing that mouth guard and then running out smashing there heads into a wall repeatedly.
It's a monitor so a team can decide how hard a hit was and should the player continue or not.
You can wear one if you want while you bike-nothing stopping you.
  • 6 0
 What do 6D, Leatt and Kali have to say with their own proprietary protection technologies?

How does this stack up to Poc’s breakaway stickers?

Seems like MIPS is going to protect their market position by yelling and attacking.

Let’s have a neck brace debate....
  • 3 0
 Neck braces are more likely to break your collar bone than protect your neck! Sorry I couldn't resist. This has already played out in the motorcycle world where a company tried to set up independent 3rd party tests and everyone disputed their results.
  • 6 0
 We welcome this debate
  • 3 0
 These kind of 'test-first' scientific research driven debates are what we welcome. We would love to be apart of any sort of industry wide tests.
  • 6 0
 LOL. MIPs just admitted they have no idea if their system protects against concussions.

"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."

MIPs should have had a PR company give a statement. They come off as petty.

Mips: They are a company of scientists. Who perform their own studies, but call for an independent review of wave.

What they should have said, "this is great news for the sport. MIPs welcomes all advancements in helmet safety technology. MIPs is proud of our products...
  • 3 2
 bicydelic:No one of the best virtues is being able to admit that you don’t know or can’t know. Claiming your helmet is basically magic is bs telling consumers your helmet prevents 99 out of 100 concussions (an extremely dangerous injury) is an incredible claim this would be dr salts vaccine for head injury if that claim was correct. While I hope it is I very much doubt it.
  • 7 1
 Yes, WaveCel is snake oil, but for MIPS to try and call them out is the oiliest, snakiest form of hypocrisy. It wasn't a WaveCel helmet that Kelly Catlin was wearing when she suffered a serious TBI that led to her death.

It's simple Newtonian physics: Force = Mass x Acceleration. A foam hat isn't going to provide much protection from penetrative trauma, spinal cord injury, or road rash. It's there to help with Traumatic Brain Injury. TBI is usually caused by your brain smacking up against the inside of your skull when your head is in motion and then stops suddenly - rapid, negative acceleration.

Back to the formula: You aren't going to decrease the mass of your brain without other complications, so if you want to decrease the force exerted upon your brain, you need to lower the rate of acceleration.

The only practical way to slow down the negative acceleration (deceleration from here on) inside your brain is to start the deceleration earlier. This gives us 2 choices:

The first is to employ active measures similar to airbags in cars. I think we'll be seeing this in the pro ranks in about ten years. Until then, there are a lot of issues to solve. Car airbags cost in the low thousands to implement, and they are made in much larger quantities that we can expect from early active helmets. Also, a simple Bing search for "Takata airbag recall" will give a lot of people second thoughts about having such a device so close to their head.

Lastly, the common, well-tested method for deploying airbags is essentially a small rocket. Even though it is subsonic - so not as loud as a gunshot - the pressure wave, so close to your head is likely to cause permanent hearing damage. So, more testing and more cost... Implemented today, this looks like a $10,000+ helmet that may or may not work reliably.

The alternative is to simply make the helmet bigger. It impacts the ground/obstacle earlier and makes for a slower, gentler deceleration. There are a bunch of little variables that make the final results less than 100% linear, but you can reasonably expect that increasing the helmet thickness by 50%, you will reduce the impact force on your brain by about 50% as well.

It's the difference between taking a header at 25mph and 17mph. Neither sounds fun, but I know which I'd prefer.

TLDR: Stop messing around with marketing bullshit that is already killing people. Make helmets bigger! They will look goofier. They will be less aero. They will save lives.
  • 4 0
 It is not that simple. A bigger helmet will transfer greater rotational forces to the brain and these are much worse than linear impacts. Work needs to go into damping rotational forces in a controlled manner first and developing a force sensitive foam second. The EPS shell is no good if for the majority of crashes is compresses for 10% of its thickness.
  • 5 0
 This is a super vague claim from MIPS at the moment. I'm totally down to see more data on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of WaveCel, but I don't see any data or evidence coming from MIPS, just a claim that WaveCel is not as effective as Bontrager claims. Even if this is true, maybe it's still 45x more effective than EPS foam at preventing concussions. That still makes WaveCel far superior to MIPS.
  • 6 0
 I'm all for a helmet arms race for safer helmets. The concept of essentially putting a foam cooler on your head and calling it good enough seems archaic in this day and age, IMO.
  • 4 0
 It's a bummer Bontrager made that silly claim of preventing concussions 99 times out of 100 because that's what MIPS is calling out here. I don't see how MIPS can refute the results from the academic paper. When compared to standard EPS helmets, MIPS reduces rotational acceleration by 22%, while WaveCel reduces rotational acceleration by 73%. MIPS provides a brain injury risk of 34.2% while WaveCel has an AIS 2 brain injury risk of only 1.2%.

I understand that it's only one test but it seems like a pretty simple and straightforward test of which Bontrager WaveCel is outperforming MIPS and standard EPS helmets.
  • 1 0
 "Nearly 99 out of 100 times, WaveCel prevents concussions from common cycling accidents.* "

*Results based on AIS 2 Injury (BriC) at 6.2 m/s test at 45° comparing a standard EPS Helmet and the same helmet modified with WaveCel insert as described in detail in Comparison of Bicycle Helmet Technologies in Realistic Oblique Impacts.

Asterisk is important to note when evaluating validity.
  • 2 0
 @mkultre: Exactly, their claim of preventing concussions 99 times out of 100 needs more validity but here is no extra validity needed for the results that were produced in the academic test which showed that WaveCel is more effective than MIPS.
  • 1 0
 @mkultre: Ah, just realized two of the founders of WaveCel published the study, that changes things.
  • 6 0
 How did they have time to do proper testing in 2 days? Bontragers claims seemed very great. let's get Kali and leatt to chime in too!
  • 9 0
 Personally I am excited about this debate. We do testing in 4 different test labs, why? we get different results in each lab, which lab should I trust? the lab that gives me the best results? yeah, not so much, so we keep trying. MIPS, and now Bontrager are convinced that their testing methodology is proving they have the best technology ever! There is so much good research going on it is hard to keep up and really understand it, so let have this debate and learn. I'll be watching this closely, I can t wait to get my hands on a Wavecel helmet and see how it does in our testing, I just have to decide which lab to do it in.
  • 2 0
 @Brad-Kali: thank you for responding and being so open, I have always liked that about you guys and the fact that you make more budget minded new tech helmets. I am sure we all want to hear about your testing results too for wavecell.
  • 1 0
 @joelsman: if I was mips kali or anyone I would not even talk about releasing data unless I had 101% chance to win a court case with multiple lab data. Even then in court wavecel produce the testing method and number are correct to a test and you just lost.
Still waiting to see the kali vented full face enduro lid appear, as my trusted net parachute looks very out of date now.
  • 4 0
 I feel like MIPS just bit the hand that feeds it ... why pick a word battle with a company that is paying you to use your technology along side their own. It seems like a really bad move. Why would Trek/Bontrager continue to use your product if you are going to publicly bash them? It just seems like it could have been handled in a slightly better manner, and you could still salvage a relationship with a company that pays you a lot of money. Just my initial thought.
  • 1 1
 Somebody had to call Trek on their bullshit eventually.

All they ever do is introduce new standards that quickly erode the value of your existing equipment, looks like this one's met some resistance.

Next year: Ultimate Boost 170 hubs, 31 spokes (somehow) and proprietary Ultimate TLR-X rims, "X" because the Tubeless Ready System only works with the new X1 Enduro specific tire's bead and only accepts the X System Valve, which only works with the X System Pump, which isn't available for purchase so you need to go to an authorized Trek dealer, but they have to send them to Trek because the X Pump technology is so secretive that not even the dealers can have it. And Trek charges for this service.
  • 3 0
 I'm interested to see how this will pan out for Bontrager. Bontrager was (previously?) using MIPS technology in their helmets. Maybe MIPs is not happy about Bonty no longer licensing their technology or maybe breaking a contract. Lets see!
  • 5 0
 Lol MIPS is worried their very 1 dimensional solution is being challenged by a solution for all impacts and doesn’t want to lose the hype.
  • 4 1
 MIPS just mad that a new system works better than their over the top Fancy hard hat technology. MIPS does their own in House tests to make sure the results look good and so does everyone else.... Including Bontrager. This won't go any farther than two companies pissing on each other's heads for a few months then we will all stop giving shit, go back to ranting about how expensive helmets are and the world will go on again.
  • 3 0
 I knocked myself out wearing my MIPS helmet two days ago. Pretty sure that qualifies as a concussion. Whacked my head on the back/side. I don't think there was as much rotational force based on how I fell, so maybe a wavecel helmet would have been better in my case? I'm all for better widgets, but this stuff is not cut and dry.
  • 1 0
 A major part of healing a concussion is not looking at computer screens for two months. Heal up.
  • 6 1
 I love helmet drama! I'll go grab my popcorn as the lawsuits begin rolling in.
  • 6 6
 You missed the fact that MIPS is from Sweden. US vs Swedish lawsuit culture. it’s like Abrams vs Volvo XC40 hybrid with a gun rack.

I will not give MiPS a tiniest benefit of doubt. A bit of plastic that more and more companies are dropping, first POC, now Bontrager, then alternatives like Fly, Kali, 6D. Someone’s pants are on fire. Soon Mips will be sported only by ETTO. All I need is MIPs saying: oh but we are happy that Everyone is working on minimizing injuries from rotational forces. Vad Trevligt! They have self distance, virtue signalling and sense of humor that only owner of Pole bicycles can challenge.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I think the fact that companies are dropping MIPS is that its licensed and they have to pay for it. Therefore to gain more margin, these companies are making their own designs. Vertical integration doesn't point to a particular product/design being flawed tho; instead it just means they can do it on their own and be differentiated.
  • 3 4
 @Svinyard: I get that, sure. I even get how complex solution is more attractive than a simple one. But I am pretty sure that MIPS is getting a bit worried about losing ground
  • 5 1
 So like Boeing when it comes to safety standards less manufacture testing and more third-party testing is required, anything short of that is just marketing..
  • 3 0
 Can we line up the marketing people from the helmet companies and conduct our own experiment? They can choose any helmet. We can choose any “test”.

In all seriousness I just want to know what works
  • 2 0
 Uh, perhaps the coverage of the original study should have reported the disclaimer:"Some of the authors (MB, SMM) are co-inventors of CELL technology described in this manuscript, have filed patents, and have a financial interest in the company that owns this technology. These au-
thors (MB, SMM) are founders and co-directors of the Legacy
Biomechanics Laboratory. Several of the authors (EB, AR, ST, SMM,
MB) are affiliated with the Legacy Health System, which was a partial
funder of this research. None of the authors received any money or in-
kind contribution for this work."
  • 2 0
 MIPS, can you please answer below questions:
1) Imagine you where to put an oval bolt in an oval hole, can you turn it? (an oval helmet on an oval head is the same)

2) Will it rotate easier when you ad lube it or is their a reason we usually run round axles? Oil, grease, heair, skin or mips, call it what you want...

3) Will it only rotate Once pulled out (lifted off the head) or is mechanicly deformed?

4) if lifted of the head how does reducing friction change anything?

5) based on these question would you agree mips technology is far inferior to 6D technology?
  • 4 0
 Each ceo puts on a helmet and we drop stuff off the roof. First person KOed looses.
  • 3 2
 To be honest I think all slip systems will work at some level. I have mips and I have wavecel helmets incoming next few days, found the wavecel fit is better vs mips is loose.
But for mips to come out and throw some weight about vs a global brand which have to double triple quad check the testing for the American market to avoid lawsuits.
That’s poor business acumen
  • 1 0
 I haven't seen anything on wavecel, but I have used MIPS and it makes me sweat so much that large gobs of sweat will drip into my eyes on rough descents. So no vision is worse. I'm all for good protection but not when it increases my chance of crashing.
  • 5 0
 I'm sure the guys over at MIPS have no bias whatsoever.
  • 1 0
 I'm going to wear a helmet and hope I don't use it for its intentions much. Interestingly, I ride more "full face" than I do trail rides, but I've only broken the trail helmets. Definitely rang my bell harder in the unbroken full faces.
  • 1 0
 BRG Sports (Giro, Blackburn, etc.) plus its corporate partners/investors will go to war for MIPS alllllll day. So will other companies that have staked themselves heavily by licensing MIPS intellectual property and modifying product designs to accommodate MIPS.

MIPS (and BRG) have the first-mover advantage.
MIPS was the first brand to make the entire bike-rider market believe that their product *markedly* improves hemet safety. At least the first since sized, fitted, (and in-molded) EPS foam/shell helmets became widely available.

On the other hand, Bontrager is HUGE. They can run that tech at a $ loss in only their house-branded products and it would never come close to hurting them financially by itself.

I wear Giro MIPS because I'm far past my lifetime concussion allowance and Giro fits my dome ok (DERP!!!).
And because I've sold MIPS helmets to people. A lot of them.
  • 1 0
 The experimental work that MIPS used to cite... used solid rubber head dummies snugly fitted into full helmets as proof of the need for a "slip barrier." Most might have noticed that the skin on their heads isn't exactly rigidly attached to the skull, much less with hair, a cycling/skull cap, etc. There is plenty of rigorous analytical and experimental information that engineered periodic cellular materials can do anything that foams do, but at lower weight. So it's fun to see Scott and Bontrager trying to apply this to helmets - without saying anything about whether or not they successfully did so. But the MIPS thing? I call marketing BS.
  • 4 0
 MIPS throwing down some shade
  • 3 1
 Haha. MIPS are saying - we don't think this can work so we'll say that it can't possibly work. But we'll let you know after we've tested it.
  • 3 0
 Buy a 6D. ride, be happy. how much is your brain worth anyway? Get a 6D and forget about it.
  • 2 0
 Let's do a celebrity death match in mtv style, CEO of Bot. vs CEO of MIPS in their helmets fighting down the woods against each other
  • 1 1
 So my question... in the video diagram, when the head hits the ground, the helmet is hitting a flat surface allowing the helmet to roll, but for most riders, we dont ride on flat pavement that is smooth... our head is probably gonna hit a rock on the ground, which is going to create a very small localized area, so what happens when the rock penetrates the plastic, it doesnt look like, to me, that the material under the hard shell will do much of anything to protect a small blunt force impact, just my thought, as all of us mountain riders are generally not crashing on smooth ground
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer @mikelevy
Is there any news on the comparison of the diffrent Technologys like wavecell, koroyd and mips?
An up to date article would be mint.
Greetings from Innsbruck,Austria.
  • 2 0
 Well that's was hardly very surprizing news was it?...MIPS dispute's WaveCel ... never saw that coming *sigh
  • 4 0
 More cowbell!
  • 3 0
 Cant we have wavecell with a mips liner?
  • 3 0
 MIPS=Marketing Impact Protection System
  • 1 0
 More Information, Product Suspicious Monetary Income Possibly Suspended
  • 2 0
 Now all we need is a 3rd party review so that both companies can dispute those results.
  • 2 0
 So mips employ there own doctor scientists and write there own papers.......hmmm
  • 1 0
 Since every helmet manufacturer can introduce its own proprietary Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, MIPS must be either acquired or game over.
  • 2 0
 From the company that bought you 'ZERTS' and 'BOOST is betterer' I wouldn't trust a word of their dribble
  • 1 0
 I could tell right away that this Wavecell thing and Trek's helmets were gimmicky. I wasn't expecting another company to call it out though! Either way, 6D ODS all the way.
  • 1 0
 Interesting. WaveCel gets all 5 stars and a lot of mips helmets are 4.
  • 1 0
 Accident Analysis & Prevention
5-Year Impact Factor: 3.209
That research paper shouldn't be absolute trash...
  • 2 0
 I wonder what mips thinks about kali's version ..think it's called ldl
  • 2 0
 I can only tell you that I respect MIPS, they taught us (helmet hacks) about oblique impacts and rotational forces. It inspired me to follow the research. Believe it or not we (Kali) discuss philosophies and ideas with MIPS regularly. I can not speak for how MIPS views Kali.
  • 1 0
 @Brad-Kali: hopefully, with the same respect you all extend to others- Give it to Get it

(and thanks for the crash replacements)
  • 2 0
 Mips dominated the market and now there's more competition..........
  • 1 0
 Would be interesting to know how many ENVE components has brain surgeon Dr Hans von Holst broken Wink
  • 1 0
 I bet no one knows how many times MIPS has conducted tests on their helmets? I bet its like 22000 hehehe
  • 1 0
 Both MIPS and WAVEGEL must be feature in Discovery channel show Myth Buster! To know which is more reliable.
  • 1 0
 GoodLuk (TM) - the only helmet tech guaranteed to save your brain in a crash
  • 1 0
 This should be interesting Eek I’m looking forward to seeing the data!!!
  • 1 0
 each company picks a "champion", "champions" put on respective helmets. fight to the death. settled...
  • 1 0
 What I am wondering is how MIPS has already done these extensive tests on helmets that were just released?
  • 1 0
 After reading some of the comments here, it’s apparent half the people here done even know what MIPS actually is.
  • 1 0
 New helmets tested at Virginia Tech. Results :150$ (and more...) Wavecell's helmets smoked by a 75$ Lazer's helmet...
  • 1 0
 Almost 9 months now since MIPS promised they'd release test data on Wavecell. Still nothing. What gives MIPS?
  • 1 0
 Ruh-roh shaggy! Where’s the turbine fall on this subject?
  • 2 0
 Shots fired...
  • 1 0
 MIPS throwing concussion grenades into Bontrager HQ.
  • 1 0
 Aaaaaand here we go. . . .
  • 1 0
 The Helmet Wars of 2019 have BEGUN!!!!
  • 2 0
 I love a good cat fight.
  • 2 0
 No you don't!
  • 3 2
 MIPS is a scam. I’d trust trek / bontrager over it any day.
  • 6 2
 I would't trust Trek at all because their innovation track record consists almost entirely of useless crap drenched in endless marketing BS: Boost, Knockblock, RE:activ, Thru Shaft, Full Floater....

The good news is that WaveCell was not developed by Trek. Trek is only the manufacturing/distribution partner. Means there is a good chance that WaveCell actually works.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: that's way too much truth crammed into one post.
  • 1 0
 Knowing what I know of Trek, I'll stick with MIPS.
  • 2 0
 MIPS is Mipped off.
  • 1 0
 Long story short. Marketing is created by assholes.
  • 1 0
 Awesome! Can't wait to see more test results from MIPS :>
  • 1 0
 shots fired.
  • 1 1
 MIPS gives TBI to TREK
  • 1 2
 Begging for a lawsuit...

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