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  1. #1
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    The problem with MIPS helmets

    Okay, first off let me quickly explain MIPS. It's two helmets in one. An inner shell that can rotate freely against the normal helmet. Here is the inside of a POC helmet with MIPS:




    And above you can see just the MIPS inner shell by itself with the pads stuck to it. Here is how the system works:


    Great idea right? Could be, haven't found out for myself yet. In theory this seems great and safe. Yes, it's a little heavier. Yes, the inner shell can make wind noise at high speed on some helmets. But there's another issue.

    Funk.

    I was JRA wearing my MIPS equipped helmet and could smell a funk when my head was down. It was coming from either my glasses, helmet or head covering. When I got home I found it was the helmet.

    But I just washed the helmet the previous day. Seriously. Just washed it really well in the shower. Here is the problem:


    In order for the MIPS inner shell to glide freely against the foam of the helmet, it needs pads. You know the soft side of velcro? Those pads are stuck all over the place in between the inner MIPS shell and the inside of the helmet. They allow the inner shell to move freely. Well guess what? They soak up sweat and hold it. Guess what else? You can't clean them without peeling up the inner MIPS shell.


    So... all MIPS helmets are VERY vulnerable to serious funk. And it's not very easy to peel back the inner shell, scrub the little pads, rinse them and keep the shell peeled back long enough to dry them. I have to use a paper clip to hold the shell away from the helmet, can't be good for it.

    So keep an eye out for funk in your MIPS equipped helmet, don't let it get you. On some helmets is much worse than others, just be vigilant.
    use a torque wrench

  2. #2
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    I don't think I understand. Is it something we can see in the photos you posted - Are you talking about the orange pads stuck to the yellow part in your photo, or is there something else stuck to the yellow part, on the other side that's not showing in your photo? If it's something stuck to the yellow part, can't you just remove the whole yellow part like you did for the photo and wash it?

    Or are they stuck to the foam on the inside of the helmet itself? Same question for that - why couldn't you just remove the yellow part like you did for your photo and wash whatever is stuck to the helmet?

  3. #3
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    No, you cannot see them in the photos posted.

    No, the orange pads are the removable pads in all helmets.

    Nothing else is stuck to the yellow part.

    They are stuck to the foam on the inside of the helmet.

    You can't just remove the yellow part, like in the photo, it's not my photo, it's a promo photo of a helmet torn apart.

    I'm guessing you don't own a MIPS helmet.
    use a torque wrench

  4. #4
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    I've been using a POC MIPS helmet for months now, including riding in the northeast soup weather we've been having lately and I'm not having this problem.

  5. #5
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    I think the POC helmets are the best in this category. If you peel back your MIPS liner you will find tiny little patches/stickers/velcro spots. Very small and spread out pretty well. On the helmet I'm using, the Giro Foray it's a totally different story. The patches/stickers/velcro spots are all over the place and some are enormous. Probably literally 100x the surface area as what's in the POC helmets.

    So with POC you've gotten lucky with this problem, their design seems to now allow for many or for large little lubrication patches. But with Giro I got screwed pretty bad.
    use a torque wrench

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    I think the POC helmets are the best in this category. If you peel back your MIPS liner you will find tiny little patches/stickers/velcro spots. Very small and spread out pretty well. On the helmet I'm using, the Giro Foray it's a totally different story. The patches/stickers/velcro spots are all over the place and some are enormous. Probably literally 100x the surface area as what's in the POC helmets.

    So with POC you've gotten lucky with this problem, their design seems to now allow for many or for large little lubrication patches. But with Giro I got screwed pretty bad.
    Yea...MIPS from a basic design standpoint is snakeoil intended to make patent-holder MIPS Inc lots of money....and make helmet manufacturers lots of money by getting consumers to self-obsolete their helmets.

    MIPS and Sliding Resistance of Bicycle Helmets

    That POC, like all MIPS helmets are not even properly designed/implemented according to MIPS....and MIPS being concerned with $$$$$$$$$$$$ first, doesn't care. They get their money $$$$$ and are happy.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    In theory this seems great and safe. Yes, it's a little heavier.
    In theory to me it seems to accomplish the same thing wearing a helmet a size or two too big would accomplish.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    In theory to me it seems to accomplish the same thing wearing a helmet a size or two too big would accomplish.
    The thing about MIPS, per my link above, is that it is based on the theory of slip-planes....and it assumes that all bicycle helmets (unlike football helmets) cannot and do not slip plane already. Now, anyone who's ever had a bicycle helmet run into something can tell you that no matter how much you tighten down the straps on a helmet such that the wearer cannot breathe, it will always change position AKA be disheveled AKA slip-plane in a crash.

    It might not be a lot, but the MIPS helmets cannot slip plane alot either.

    Which is why MIPS is more likely than not snakeoil from a sheer design theory standpoint....and then OEMs and manufacturers screw it up even further. The POC pictured up above is not really MIPS at all. It lacks MIPS in mos of the back hemisphere of the helmet. Further due to the ventilation holes necessary the liner is likely to bind up velcro interference or no. ALl MIPS helmets tend to have the same exact design and implementation problems-and MIPS Inc does not care. They get their patent royalties and they're fat and happy

  9. #9
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    One man's funk is another man's treasure.

    I'll stick with my run of the mill Aeon thank you very much.

  10. #10
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    This is funny. I'm glad it hasn't devolved into a tit for tat argument. My favorite part (for me) is I bought a non-MIPS octal in black and liked it so much I wanted a white one as well. I bought the MIPS version because I liked the way it looked. MIPS shnips, cost me about 10 dollars more than the other one.

  11. #11
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    I also don't have this problem with the POC mips. I do, however, have a problem with the helmet straps and my Oakley sunglasses. When the straps exit out of the bottom of the shell they create problems with the glasses and the Garmin Varia Vision heads-up display device. Had to go back to my old Specialized helmet
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie the Unicorn View Post
    I've been using a POC MIPS helmet for months now, including riding in the northeast soup weather we've been having lately and I'm not having this problem.

  12. #12
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    To Marc's point, the jury is out on whether MIPs helmet is even as good as a non-MIPs helmet - because of that slip plane factor. To get the MIPs pieces in the helmet, either the helmet has to be bigger, or material has to be reduced... impact absorbing material.

    There's some info on the helmet website, but this sort of sums it up: "'A Snell Memorial Foundation employee was quoted as saying that in her opinion MIPS is "snake oil to get people to spend money."

    MIPS and Sliding Resistance of Bicycle Helmets

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    No, you cannot see them in the photos posted.

    No, the orange pads are the removable pads in all helmets.

    Nothing else is stuck to the yellow part.

    They are stuck to the foam on the inside of the helmet.

    You can't just remove the yellow part, like in the photo, it's not my photo, it's a promo photo of a helmet torn apart.

    I'm guessing you don't own a MIPS helmet.
    Of course I don't own one thus the questions I ask. Good luck with your problem.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    ... I do, however, have a problem with the helmet straps and my Oakley sunglasses. When the straps exit out of the bottom of the shell they create problems with the glasses...
    Yep. I really wanted a POC but a riding buddy warned me about the Oakley issue. So I stayed Giro at half the price.

  15. #15
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    I just a purchased a new MIPS helmet this past weekend. I've only rode with it for 40 miles... so far, so good. No stench yet.

  16. #16
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    Do you wear a skull cap underneath your helmet? This will absorb a lot of the sweat and may help prevent the funk.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  17. #17
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    Sure do. Started using one of those sweat buster pad things too. Doesn't matter. The amount of sweat we're talking here is pretty epic. This summer has been less than kind.

    The Giro Foray Mips has no less than 20 of these sweat sucking little anti friction pads between the mips shell and the foam of the helmet. Some of these 20 pads are pretty gigantic and some are quite long. They're all over the damn place. Helmet just started to show signs of re funkifying today, so again I had to scrub down those pads and keep the mips liner peeled up enough for the fan to dry everything out.

    For this helmet anyway, and for my conditions and such, I think it's just too much. A switch back to an Aeon or something might be in order. Pain in my arse.
    use a torque wrench

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post

    For this helmet anyway, and for my conditions and such, I think it's just too much. A switch back to an Aeon or something might be in order. Pain in my arse.
    You do mean a pain in your nose, don't you?

    With our summers the way they are and my tendency to sweat a great deal, I don't think I'll be buying one of those.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  19. #19
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    This has been an interesting thread, particularly the link Marc posted. Helmets have been a sore point with me since fracturing my skull and breaking my neck in an accident. Strangely, I never got concussion symptoms.

    I thought MIPS might be worthwhile but it looks like it could provide even less impact resistance than a traditional helmet while not offering additional rotation protection. I always wear a headsweat or cold-weather garment and that would seem a low-tech approach to accomplishing the same thing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The problem with MIPS helmets-dscn0770.jpg   The problem with MIPS helmets-dscn0771.jpg   The problem with MIPS helmets-dscn0772.jpg  

  20. #20
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    And now POC is abandoning MIPS.
    They do anything just to win a salami in ridiculous races. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me. It was the illest of times, it was the dopest of times. And we looked damn good. Actually the autobus broke down somewhere on the Mortirolo.

  21. #21
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    I'm bald, does that mean my head is MIPS self-equipped?
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  22. #22
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    I'd say rather the opposite. Hair works a lot like both Mips and Spin. Sorry.
    They do anything just to win a salami in ridiculous races. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me. It was the illest of times, it was the dopest of times. And we looked damn good. Actually the autobus broke down somewhere on the Mortirolo.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmile View Post
    I'm bald, does that mean my head is MIPS self-equipped?
    Researchers agree, in Marc's link:

    Helmets are not coupled closely to the head, and will slip anyway. The scalp (nature's MIPS) ensures that, and skin does not stick to EPS much, given sweat, hair, hair products and sunscreen. (The Koroyd "straws" pioneered by Smith Optics helmets might be a different story, given their known ability to abrade skin in a crash.) So the tendency for the helmet to slide on the user's head and to slide on pavement or other impact surfaces is substantial.

    https://helmets.org/mips.htm

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmile View Post
    I'm bald, does that mean my head is MIPS self-equipped?
    could not instead you slather your scalp with lard, or coconut oil? No need of MIPS?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    could not instead you slather your scalp with lard, or coconut oil? No need of MIPS?
    Sweat lubricated skull cap does the job. If you still have hair on top, even better!

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