Like MIPS, rotational impact protection systems have taken the helmet world by storm, finding their way onto a staggering proportion of the helmets on the market. Thankfully, these systems have benefitted from that trickle-down effect and are the most affordable they’ve ever been. Here are the best helmets we’ve tested for less than £100, with a rotational impact protection system.
What is rotational impact protection and why do I need it?
A rotational impact protection system is a low friction layer (or something that acts similarly) that lives within the interior of a helmet. It's designed to work very much like the brain's own protection system, allowing for relative, multi-directional movement between the skull and the helmet, thus reducing harmful forces during angled impacts.
The best known rotational impact protection brand is MIPS, having pioneered the tech. Still, it didn't take long for brands to create their own ways around the protection. For example, 100% has SmartShock, Leatt has Turbine360, and Koroyd is a brand in itself. While they all do the same thing, it's all done in slightly different ways.
As for why we need it, let me send you over to our sister site, road.cc where Mat pays MIPS a visit to take a deep look at the tech.
Helmets with a rotational impact system for £100 and under
- 100% Altis
- Specialized Tactic 4
- MET Terranova
- Smith Optics Engage
- Lazer Chiru
- Kali Pace
- Smith Optics Convoy
- Giro Fixture
100% Altis // £90
The 100% Altis is the budget-friendly younger sibling of the very well-reviewed Altec. While its lower price means fewer features and a noticeable reduction in build quality, it’s a proven case of substance over style as the Altis is pleasantly surprising with its superb comfort and effective ventilation.
Specialized Tactic 4 // £100
Specialized has redesigned the Tactic for its fourth iteration. This time, it gets a fresh look and a handful of useful features that make the Tactic 4 quite a lot of helmet for the cash. It’s comfortable, and it offers tonnes of coverage for an open face lid, but cooling comes with its quirks, and the visor seems to only be superficial.
MET Terranova MIPS // £100
The MET Terranova helmet is a solid contender for any trail helmet duties. Its lightweight, sturdy, well-fitting, and equipped with MIPS. The colourways are limited, but as long as you can find a style to suit, it should be well worth a try. All at a very reasonable price point, it’s a hard offering to look past.
Smith Optics Engage // £95
The Smith Engage is quite simply one of the best priced, comfiest helmets that Jim's tested. It’s got good coverage of the head, it feels light when riding, the airflow is effective, and it’s great value. It’s got solid, modern looks and has lasted well.
Lazer Chiru MIPS // £60
The Chiru MIPS from Lazer is a budget-friendly trail lid that brings the rotational impact protection of MIPS down to an accessible price. It’s as impressively comfortable as it is breezy, but its looks might not be to everyone’s taste.
Kali Pace // £60
The Kali Pace is an entry-level lid that feels like it costs a lot more, and offers boosted protection via a ‘Low Density Layer’ that claims to reduce rotational forces. It's light, sharply styled, offers a traditional 'XC' rather than deep-dish 'enduro' sort of fit, and is pretty well-ventilated. There's a lot to like.
Smith Optics Convoy MIPS // £65
The Smith Optics Convoy MIPS helmet is a great-quality trail lid at a bargain price. It's clear where costs have been saved, but that doesn't impact on safety, styling, comfort or fit – it's a very savvy choice for pound-stretched riders.
Giro Fixture MIPS // £70
The Giro Fixture MIPS is a great value, well-fitting and sharp-looking trail lid. With a ton of colour options and the MIPS cradle for added protection, there's little reason not to put this at the top of your list – though it’s a shame the shell doesn’t wrap the inner foam fully, as it's vulnerable to knocks at the edges.
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