3 Things Thursday: Trail Helmets with MIPS

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Hannah and Mark have made it into the studio together to look at that kit essential, the trail helmet. With three different open face helmets, all with MIPS, all designed for trail riding, they look at some of the subtle differences between them, giving you some points to look for next time you’re shopping for a helmet.

Of course you’ve thought about safety, but what about all the other things that makes a helmet pleasnt to use – or not. Have you thought about how your glasses might fit with your helmet? Or where you’ll put a head lamp? Do you want a peak that moves, or not? What about fit adjustment – did you realise there are differences? Watch this video and learn about some of the differences between apparently similar helmets that you might not have realised can affect your comfort and enjoyment when riding.

Can’t see the video? Try here.

Fox Mainframe

Price: £80
From: Fox Racing

The Mainframe is Fox’s newest open face trail lid and is designed to offer plenty of protection and styling, at a more affordable price. It features extended rear coverage and a MIPS liner to keep your brain safe should the worst happen. There are plenty of vents and channels in the molded EPS and inside is a removable and washable moisture wicking liner.

Specialized Tactic 4

Price: £100
From: Specialized

This £100 lid is designed for riders wanting increased coverage but still retain the ventilation of an open lid. The Tactic boasts Specialized’s own SBC Integrated Fit system and also comes with MIPS safety tech. Other features include a breakaway visor, eye-wear storage and a ton of cooling vents.

Ion Traze AMP

Price: £145
From: Ion

A collaboration between Ion and Met, this helmet is MIPS equipped and comes with an adjustable visor, room for goggles and glasses stowage, and a Fidlock fastener. The cradle inside is adjustable so you can make sure this helmet sits just as you want it.

Any more questions? Or other products you’d like us to give this compare and contrast look to? Let us know in the comments.

Author Profile Picture
Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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  • 3 Things Thursday: Trail Helmets with MIPS
  • pmurden
    Full Member

    I’ve recently bought the new Tactic to replace the previous version and I have to say it’s dam impressive.

    Free Member

    I had the fox speedframe pro MIPS…. , the helmet hands down saved my life as the blow was right on the temple wheni hit the deck…MIPS and the dual density EPS made a world of difference

    Full Member

    Nice video,
    But I’m quite sceptical about MIPS in cycle helmets.

    I understand the reason for MIPS, (to allow rotational slip and thus reduce rotational forces to the head and brain/ brain stem) but I’m not convinced it’s needed in this application. It may even introduce other problems.
    My main argument is that our scalps are our “Natural MIPS”. Our scalps can generally move about anyway. A cycle helmet only really clamps around the scalp, they don’t really hold your head that tightly anyway, and so a non-MIPS helmet can still move reasonably freely in relation to our heads. A full face helmet that makes greater contact with the lower areas of the head and jaw area is a different matter; MIPS may have a place here.

    Potential problems with MIPS may be that the helmet moves too much; it may leave vulnerable areas exposed; or allow the helmet to dig in causing other problems (ears maybe?). Additionally, the additional diameter of the MIPS helmet lends more leverage when it does catch. Using a helmet light causes the MIPS equipped helmet to rattle around too much, etc.

    My thoughts are that we should make cycle helmets that come in more sizes and shapes and fit better. They should be closer fitting, smaller and more rounded. Reducing the overall size will reduce rotational forces. Removing that edgy styling and going for a smoother shape will make the helmet less likely to catch and spin in any unwanted contact. As before, MIPS makes the helmet bigger and thus increases forces. For maximum safety we should remove the peaks* or make them very easy to ping off in a crash. We should never use helmet lights!

    *One of my most painful crashes on an mtb (I’ve done MUCH worse on a motorcycle) was when I lost control in a steep chute. My helmet (Giro Zen, 2004 ish) dragged against the side of the chute I was riding. The peak dug in to the chute and twisted my head so I was looking backwards as I continued to plummet forwards. The peak did not detach. MIPS wouldn’t have helped much either… but a nicely rounded and slippery helmet might have.

    The market seems to demand MIPS at the moment, and quality non-MIPS helmets are getting harder to find. Another case of profit and marketing?

    I’ll put my non-MIPS helmet on and await a flaming,

    Safe riding all 🙂

    Free Member

    It’s a kind of heresy in some circles, but I’m inclined to agree it doesn’t really provide much benefit in a non full face cycle helmet. It possibly depends on the shape of your head, but I find that there’s enough movement in my scalp and hair to be able to rotate a helmet till it ‘cams’ against my skull. Addition of a MIPS liner can’t provide any more movement than this, so it basically does nothing

    Full Member

    Surely if the MIPS liner rotates AND your scalp does then the effect of the MIPS is to provide increased rotational protection. The two are additive.

    Full Member

    Nice video,


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