All cycle helmets are created equal, right? For 2019 Specialized has had a complete and drastic overhaul to it’s entire range of cycle helmets. Not so much to change the appearance of the head gear but to add some crucial new safety features. Features that should not only reduce the impact of a crash but could also help in locating you in the event of an emergency when out on a solo ride.
All Specialized helmets now incorporate MIPS technology
MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) is not a brand new concept, and has being used in various forms by many cycle helmet brands over the last few years. In fact we’ve covered a lot of the details surrounding this impact reducing technology in previous Coffee Stop features. But the big news here is this is the first time it will have been seen in a helmet produced by Specialized. And it’s not just one model that will see the addition of MIPS, Specialized is so convinced by the safety merits of the system that it has incorporated a version of MIPS into each helmet in its entire lineup.
That’s not to say Specialized helmets were not up to the job already, the entire range already exceed the safety standards and requirements for a helmets intended use. But now every single model incorporates safety features that are intended to minimise as much of the results of a head impact as possible.
What does MIPS do?
The MIPS technology is scientifically proven to reduce rotational motion by absorbing and redirecting rotational energies and forces transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head. MIPS is normally seen as a bright yellow layer or sheet placed on the inside of a helmet and normally underneath the helmet padding. This sheet is a low friction layer that effectively isolates the head from the helmet shell. In the event of a crash or impact this layer allows the helmet to slide more than the head inside, reducing rotational forces that could cause severe injury to the head, brain or neck.
What MIPS technology is being used by Specialized?
Specialized is using two different versions of MIPS within its helmets. At the lower price points (Align, Centro, Echelon II, Propero III, Airnet, Tactic 3 and Ambush Comp) Specialized is using the larger and more familiar yellow MIPS layer that cover a large portion of the helmet but in its top end road and mountain helmets (Ambush, Dissident, Prevail II and Evade) it is using something called MIPS SL.
Specialized worked with MIPS to design a system that minimises its effect on overall helmet weight and ventilation. This new system does away with the plastic MIPS sheet and integrates the technology within the actual padding of the helmet making it incredibly lightweight. MIPS SL’s minimalist ‘watchband’ attachment system provides 10 to 15 millimetres of rotation in every direction and offers the same brain protection benefits as other versions of MIPS.
The good news is riders needn’t be worried about dramatic weight increases or reduction in ventilation performance of the new MIPS equipped helmets. In both instances the MIPS versions have very little disadvantage for the added safety performance when compared to the pre-existing, non-MIPS helmets.
Some helmets come with ANGi?
ANGi stands for Angular and G-force Indicator and this little box of tricks comes fitted as standard to several higher end Specialized helmets, including the popular Propero III, Prevail II and Evade road helmets; as well as to the off-road Ambush, Ambush Comp and Dissident models.
ANGi is a helmet-mounted sensor with accelerometer and gyroscope (similar to the technology within your smartphone). Its key job is to measures impact forces and to effectively work out if you have had a crash and need help. It also measures rotational forces even when there’s no outright impact force, something that can also cause injuries.
Having ANGi fitted means your helmet becomes a live tracking devices, crash detector and safety beacon that can effectively connect you to assistance in the event of an emergency.
How does ANGi work?
The ANGi sensor needs pairing to a smartphone with Specialized’s Ride App installed. If the helmet sensor detects what it thinks is a crash it will connect with the app, sound a pretty loud alarm on your phone and begin a countdown. If you’re fine you can simply cancel the alarm and keep riding. If you’re seriously injured and are unable to cancel the alarm the app texts your nominated emergency contact(s) with the news and also includes your GPS location.
This is a subscription-based service so you will have to buy into the scheme to keep it running, but Specialized give you the first year for free.
The Ride App can also help even if you know you are going to be riding in an area without phone signal. Simply input a route plan and/or estimated ride duration and this will be shared with your emergency contacts. If you are not back at the time you estimated, even if you’re not in an area with phone signal, your emergency contact knows when you should be back and has some route info to try and find you.
Can I buy ANGi separately?
If you opt for a new Specialized helmet without ANGi already fitted the good news is you can purchase the unit separately for around forty pounds. All of Specialized’s 2019 helmets feature a proprietary mounting point so you can attach an ANGi unit and take advantage of the complete safety package.
For 2019 Specialized has managed to improve the performance of every single model of helmet it produces. By incorporating the very latest, cutting-edge safety technologies, even at the entry level, riders can be reassured that when the inevitable crash does occur, your choice of helmet will give you the very best levels of protection.