Helmet tech and safety features have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, and MIPS is one of the biggest developments. We put two MIPS-equipped helmets, equally suited to road or mountain biking, to a head-to-head test. The POC Octal versus the Smith Overtake - who will be the victor?
MIPS, which stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, is a third-party product developed by researchers in Sweden, and seen in an ever-increasing percentage of modern helmets. Essentially, it's an internal friction layer that sits against the head inside the helmet. It's designed to move slightly during crashes to reduce the effect of oblique and rotational forces on the brain, which should in turn provide increased protection from serious injury.
The POC Octal MIPS is an exceptionally light helmet, especially considering its size, weighing in around 250g for a medium-large size. Its looks are striking and have polarised opinion, but it's hard to argue with the airflow the large vents provide.
The Smith Overtake features an interesting new technology Smith call Aerocore. It looks like a layer of honeycomb material visible through the vents, and Smith claims it increases airflow and impact absorption. In practice, we didn't get on with it, experiencing little sensation of airflow in practice when riding.