CapoVelo.com - | MIPS Challenges the Validity of Bontrager's WaveCel Helmet Safety Claims
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MIPS Challenges the Validity of Bontrager’s WaveCel Helmet Safety Claims

MIPS has been quick to respond to Bontrager’s new WaveCel technology, challenging the validity of the company’s safety claims.   

Earlier this week, Bontrager introduced its new WaveCel helmet, claiming the new collapsible cellular material was vastly more effective at protecting against concussions than any of the current EPS foam/ MIPS equipped helmets on the market – citing research to back up their claim.

In response to Bontrager’s announcement, MIPS, which stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, has been prompted to undertake testing of its own in order to either refute or validate the Trek Bicycle owned company’s claim. 

“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,” reports MIPS. 

“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,” they add.

While MIPS says it’s pleased that more helmet brands are seeking to increase safety, there’s currently no industry-wide standard from a third party testing organization to quality safety claims.

“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 honoured our mission to make the safest helmets possible.”

Bontrager has responded by saying, “we believe that slip liners [a MIPS system is a slip liner – Ed] 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.”

As indicated in their press release, MIPS has plans to fully disclose its findings on WaveCel testing. To wit: 

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.”

 

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