If you’re looking for a high-quality helmet for mountain biking, and safety is a big concern, then the Trabec Race MIPS helmet from Swedish company POC combines cutting-edge science and technology with some exceptional craftsmanship. And they look pretty damn good, too.
The POC Trabec Race MIPS is aimed at trail and enduro riders, so I took it off to the Alps for 5 solid days of riding, which included some ‘tactical dismounts’ for testing purposes, and some pretty warm temperatures.
I’ve owned a Trabec before, and really liked it, so I was interested to see how the Trabec Race MIPS compared. Visually, the Trabec helmets look different from most of the other helmets out there, and this one comes in a gloss black and white colour way.
So what’s the MIPS thing all about? It stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, and it’s a new piece of technology in the world of helmets. It’s aim is to protect your noggin from oblique impacts, where your head gets a glancing, angled blow, which generally more common than the direct impacts that most helmets are designed for.
MIPS is essentially a strong plastic liner that sits inside the helmet and cradles your head. It’s designed to allow the helmet itself to move slightly with these oblique impacts, while the liner keeps your head still and secure within it. Rotational forces can have a nasty effect on the brain, so minimising these is a massive leap forward in head protection.
Another step up from the standard Trabec helmet is an aramid (AKA Kevlar) reinforced shell, which will help protect against those pesky rocks, boulders and trees should you get too friendly with the ground.
With a 54cm-sized head, I opted for the XS/S (51 – 54cm) sized helmet, which is my usual size. The Trabec Race feels like it has a slightly narrower fit compared to some of the other helmets I’ve used; I felt it grip securely at the sides of my head as well as front and back.
The MIPS liner has the usual foam padding for comfort, held in place with Velcro. Because the liner is flexible and ‘floats’ inside the helmet – attaching at the crown – it can flex to suit a variety of head shapes.
On the downside, I found the band of the MIPS liner across the forehead dug in a little over several hours of use, which was slightly uncomfortable. Although padded, it was quite narrow, which may be the problem.
The helmet adjustment is all built into the MIPS lining, as it’s critical that this fits snugly around the head. It adjusts via a push/pull ratchet system, and the drop of the liner at the back of the head can also be adjusted so it sits to the right level.
The helmet felt super-secure when riding, and didn’t loosen, move or come off during ‘tactical dismounts’ (AKA crashes) either. It’s got lower coverage over the back of the head, as you’d expect from a trail helmet, and an adjustable peak.
The chinstrap fastens with the usual click system, but the quality and workmanship shows through again here with the straps attaching directly to the helmet, another element that increases fit security.
My head remained fairly cool, despite riding in some pretty warm temperatures, and this was a vote of confidence for the venting system. 16 vents isn’t a huge number, but the helmet sits quite high allowing good airflow over the scalp. I certainly noticed it on the descents.
Weighing in at 350g, it’s not the lightest of helmets, but it packs in the features. It’s also not a cheap option coming in at around £195 though there are some offers out there. However, the research and engineering that’s gone into it are clear to see, and if you want a helmet that will work hard to keep you safe when you most need it, it’s certainly worth thinking about.
A high end, high quality helmet that’s a significant investment in your safety, performs well and looks good.
– Cutting-edge MIPS technology reduces rotational injury
– Aramid (Kevlar) reinforced shell
– MIPS liner fit slightly uncomfortable
What POC say about the Trabec MIPS helmet:
The Trabec Race MIPS is a well-ventilated in-mold helmet that combines functionality and performance for single track and enduro riders. The construction is similar to the trabecular bone structure, which has excellent resistance and durability. The inner EPS core, reinforced with aramid filaments, is tough and resilient and the outer PC shell is constructed with the seams located in the least exposed areas. The helmet is equipped with the patented MIPS system to reduce the rotational forces to the brain in the case of an oblique impact.