Independent test lab marks 27 industry leading helmets on merits

A Swedish insurance group with history in the testing of safety goods has published fresh results of tests on 27 of the cycling industry’s leading helmets.

Folksam, which has similar form in assessing equestrian and ski helmets, released its data late last month, revealing an unconventional test winner in the Hövding airbag style helmet.

The tests run alongside an independent test lab considered a broad range of scenarios, accounting for shock absorption testing in line with EN 1078 standards, an oblique impact test with rotation around the X, Y and Z-axis, as well as computer simulations.

In each of the tests the Hövding was pre-inflated, as you would expect it to do in the event of a sharp move towards the ground.

Eighteen of the helmets tested came equipped with MIPS technology, two with SPIN and One with WaveCel. These technologies are all designed to counter rotational acceleration on the brain in the event of a crash by offering movement of an inner structure against the outer shell in the event of a crash.

In the tests helmets equipped with such technologies did tend to fair better, with all of Folksams “recommended” helmets carrying some form of protection against rotational forces.

Helena Stigson, PhD, Associate Professor with Traffic Safety Research wrote in the report’s opening: “Every day several cyclists sustain head injuries, which are some of the most serious injuries a cyclist can sustain. Studies from real-life crashes show that bicycle helmets are very effective in reducing serious and fatal injuries. Two out of three head injuries from bicycle accidents could have been avoided if the cyclist had worn a helmet.”

Stigson is referencing data from both Britain and Sweden. In Britain, hospital data covering England and Scotland revealed that 18,546 cyclists were admitted in between April 2018 and March 2019, with as much as 78% likely to have sustained some head injury, according to cross referencing of data (Talbot et al. 2014). That equates to around 40 such incidents per day.

A prior study (Olivier and Creighton 2016) demonstrated that head injury risk can be reduced by 69% when i bicycle helmet is used.

As determined by the test lab, the market leaders in protection and those badged “recommended” are as follows:

Hövding 3 – 76% (Recommended)
Biltema Cykelhjälm MIPS – 37% (Recommended)
Tec Quadriga MIPS – 23% (Recommended)
Bell Super Air R MIPS – 19% (Recommended)
Bontrager Specter WaveCel (Recommended)
Scott Vivo Plus – 22% (Recommended)
Bell Trace MIPS – 20% (Not among recommended, though performed higher than median for shock absorption)
Specialized S-Works Prevail II MIPS – 18% (Recommended)
Occano MIPS – 18% (Recommended)

The full results of the study can be found here.

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