When I learned about rotational violence to the brain, I bought a full-face MIPS helmet

When I attended IMBA’s Great Lakes Summit back in June, Aaron Rogers, president of the Copper Harbor Trails Club and Trails Specialist with IMBA Trail Solution showed a video about the IMBA Bronze-level Ride Center that had just opened in Copper Harbor, Michigan.


Bike magazine included the video in a June 22 article titled Andrew Shandro at Bronze-Level IMBA Ride Center Opening In Copper Harbor, MI. Aaron Rogers was quoted in the article:

We’ll be building medium- and small-sized jump trails–Flying Squirrel trail is considered a large-sized jump trail–as well as a true flow track to increase our scoring.

Some of those guys going down the Flying Squirrel jump trail in that video (as well as another one here) are wearing full-face helmets.  And so when I started experimenting with the jumps at the Lexington Ave. Pump and Jump Park, it occurred to me: I’m going to like doing this. I want to ride that trail at Copper Harbor. But I don’t want to end up in a hospital bed, paralyzed, thinking ‘Dang! I should have purchased a full-face helmet.’

When I started poking around the intertubes, I discovered that there are new helmets equipped with the Multi-directional Impact Protection System technology, or MIPS.

This June article in Mountain Bike Review titled POC and MIPS Collaborate on New Styles sums it up nicely:

untitledThe Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, MIPS, was developed by a Swedish neuroscientist to improve protection from oblique impacts to the head. Concussions and brain injuries are often caused by angled head impacts that create rotational violence to the brain, causing strain on the brain tissue.

MIPS utilizes either a low friction layer on the inside of the helmet liner for inmold helmets or a low-friction layer between the outer shell and liner for hard shell/two piece helmets to absorb much of the energy created by both unilateral or oblique blows to the head.

POC Cortex DH HelmetBy mimicking the brain’s own protective mechanisms, MIPS can significantly minimize brain injuries in connection with angled impacts and rotational violence. The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) of Sweden has conducted tests concluding MIPS helmets can significantly minimize brain injuries.

Griff Wigley, POC MIPS helmetOne of my local bike dealers, Mike Bikes here in Northfield, gave me a great deal (considerably better than anything I could find online) on the Cortex DH Helmet from POC (full list price $500). QBP had it in stock and shipped it to Mike’s within two days.

I know, pricey. And more helmet than I really need for my current skill level. (There are other MIPS helmets on the market that aren’t full-face, so shop around.) But when it comes to protecting my geezerly body, I’d rather err on the side of too much.

If I can get the hang of doing the beginner table-top jumps at Lex and Leb, I’ll start wearing the helmet.  I’m hoping to get to Copper Harbor this fall.

Other article links:


  1. Clay Haglund said:

    Thanks for this information Griff. I had not heard about this MIPS technology yet; but I am in the market for a full face helmet for the same reasons as you. I’m seriously considering getting into some super D racing and I wouldn’t feel safe giving it my all with the foam dixie lid I usually wear.

    Thanks for sharing the video too…That just makes me more determined to get up there someday…but unfortunately, I don’t think that will be till next year at the earliest.

    August 28, 2012
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    You’re welcome, Clay. It may be spring before I get to Copper Harbor, too.

    August 28, 2012
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    POC backcountry

    This week I bought the POC MIPS Receptor Backcountry as my main XC, bike park, and snowboarding helmet.

    The Receptor Backcountry is $250 full list. I found a returned one for $200. Cortex DH is $500 full list. Both are comparatively pricey but since my deductible is $5,000 and I don’t have disability insurance, it was worth it to me. I’m going to need a fully-functioning brain for a few more years.

    April 5, 2014
  4. Michael Linehan said:

    I just found out about MIPS today, and your article is part of my initial reading.
    Thanks for the info, Geezer.

    May 25, 2014
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    You’re welcome, Michael. Let us know what you decide.

    May 27, 2014

Comments are closed.