If you stay up to date on the latest helmet technology, then chances are there are a couple of terms you come across quite often, especially if you have been following us. With a constantly evolving movement to increase helmet safety, new safety technologies come out pretty frequently. Two of the biggest terms in the industry right now regarding safety are MIPs, and NTA 8776. Both have to do with helmet safety, both are relatively new, and both are big points of advertisement for helmet manufacturers. But for many people it can be unclear as to what these are, why they are important, and if one is better than the other.
MIPs stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection system. It is a device used to protect riders' heads from whiplash, and from rotational forces that would rock or shake your head. The technology is relatively simple. It is a plastic insert that goes inside the helmet, keeping your head slightly separated from the helmet, allowing the helmet to be moved from impact without moving your head. The technology is similar to what’s inside a construction helmet.
NTA 8776 is something completely different. It is a safety standard developed by the Dutch, specifically designed for helmets meant for e-bike riders. Before e-bike’s became popular, helmet standards required the helmet to protect people at speeds up to 15 mph, which is typically how fast standard road bikes ride. Now that e-bikes have taken over the market and generally travel at speeds closer to 28 mph, it was time for a standard that could adequately protect these riders as well. The NTA 8776 standard also requires more protection at the temples, as well as the back of the head. Despite the extra safety the helmets still tend to weigh about the same amount as a regular bike helmet.
So with both of these safety factors becoming more popular, people tend to ask the question: which one is better? However, this isn’t really the best question to ask. The fact is comparing one to the other is like comparing burgers to fries: you can have one without the other, but they are better when they are together. MIPs works to protect riders in situations regarding rotational impacts. During head on impacts, MIPs is basically ineffective. NTA 8776 improves the overall level of safety in the helmet, but it doesn’t specifically address rotational impacts.
The best option is to get a helmet that is NTA 8776 certified, and has MIPs. In the case that you can only choose one, you should start with the NTA 8776 certification, especially if you are riding an ebike. Most importantly, you should understand what goes into making a safe helmet, and what kind of helmet suits your needs best.