When it comes to safety gear and road cycling, the helmet is really all we have. The helmet has been around for a long time and for nearly 20 years become the norm. When was the last time you saw a road cyclist without a helmet? Sure we may all do a quick hot lap around the neighborhood or ride to the store without one but when it comes to performance riding we never leave home without it.
In the last 30 years, the level of testing and simply understanding of what happens when we hit our heads has increased so much. In addition to that, technology has made a huge difference, allowing helmets to be more comfortable, lightweight and most importantly effective. In just the last few years a new dimension of head trauma has been the biggest hurdle for helmet companies to battle, oblique impacts (rotational).
Currently, cycling helmets do not have to pass any tests or have certificates in regards to rotational impacts to be sold. Brands have taken it upon themselves to add these sorts of features and safety measures for their customers. It should also be noted that no helmet or technology can guarantee to prevent injury but the helmet is truly our only line of defense when things go wrong. Every crash and impact is unique, so investing in a helmet is important. Here are some of the most asked questions about the subject and the information that Lazer was happy enough to supply.
How Do Helmets Help Protect Cyclists?
• Reduces effects of Linear Impact
• Linear (direct) Impact is the force applied to the helmet in one direction
• Polycarbonate Shell and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam absorb the energy of the force by redirection and/or compression to reduce fracture or contusion
How is Linear Protection Tested and Certified?
• Agency sets the minimum standard for the amount of energy that can be transmitted to helmet interior for baseline impact force
• Testing agency determined by region:
• CPSC for Americas
• CE for Europe and parts of Asia
• AUS for Australia and New Zealand
What about other impacts?
• Oblique (rotational) Impact is the force applied to the helmet in multiple directions
• Helmet and head may be moved rotationally due to the direction of the applied force
• Rotational Brain Injury could result
What is Rotational Brain Injury?
• Rotational Brain Injury (concussion) is bleeding between the brain and skull caused by rapid rotational movement of the head
• Bicycle helmets have traditionally been poor in protecting cyclists from Oblique (rotational) Impact forces
How Can Bicycle Helmets Help Protect Against Rotational Brain Injury?
• Up to now the best way to protect cyclists from Rotational Brain Injury has been to add a protection system to the helmets such as MIPS or WaveCel
• Protection system absorbs the force from a Rotational Impact to prevent this energy from reaching the head
What is MIPS and How Does It Work?
• MIPS is a plastic liner added into the helmet to create a slip plane. During a Rotational Impact, the liner isolates the head and allows the helmet shell to rotate and absorb the energy
• Lazer was the first bicycle helmet company to incorporate MIPS into an in-mold helmet and the first to include in children’s helmets in 2012
What is WaveCel and How Does It Work?
• WaveCel is a plastic cellular structure that replaces some of the EPS foam. During a Rotational Impact, the structure will flex or compress to absorb the energy of the impact.
What is KinetiCore and How Does it Work?
• Lazer developed Rotational Protection System
• Patented and exclusive to Lazer products
• Blocks and channels molded into the EPS foam of the helmet during manufacturing
• Engineered to absorb or redirect the force of either Linear or Rotational Impacts to help protect the head
• Similar in concept to a “crumple zone” built into modern cars
• In the event of an impact the KinetiCore blocks and channels serve as a crumple zone to absorb the energy of impact and prevent it from reaching the head
How is Rotational Protection Tested and Certified?
• Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings
• VT measures the helmet’s ability to absorb linear and rotational force and ranks performance from 1 (worst) to 5 (best)
• Currently Lazer is the #1 brand in cycling protection with more Virginia Tech 5-Star “Best Available” rated helmets than any other brand.
How does KinetiCore Differ from MIPS, WaveCel, etc.?
• Reduced weight: No additional system added after manufacturing. Less EPS foam used in construction
• Increased ventilation: No liner or other material blocking vents or airflow
• Reduced plastics in manufacturing: Up to 24% less plastics as compared to previous comparable models
What are the disadvantages of MIPS or WaveCel?
• Added weight
• Reduced ventilation
• Potential discomfort
• Added plastics in manufacturing
• Added cost to the consumer