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Cycling Helmets

Terminology Demystified

When it comes to essential pieces of cycling kit there are few more important than a trusty cycling helmet. Gone are the days where a poorly shaped piece of polystyrene, attached to straps would be plonked on your head. Nowadays brands are investing heavily in your comfort and safety. With technology moving at a rate of knots it is easy to get bogged down in fancy terminology. Ensuring you know your EPS from your MIPS and ANGi from your WaveCel, our guide is a must read for those looking to stay ahead of the pack.

EPS Technology

OK, we admit it, it’s not sexy but it can, in theory, save your life. EPS or expanded polystyrene foam is now seen by many to be the industry standard when it comes to helmet construction. Favoured for its lightweight and near perfect crush characteristics, certain brands are using variable densities of foam in their helmets to offer different levels of impact protection, depending on where the impact occurs on the helmet.

Although incredibly effective, EPS foam has single impact properties meaning should you crash or drop the helmet from a height, cracks or damage to the foam will result in the helmet needing to be replaced.

This is where Bontrager's unique WaveCel technology comes in...


Bontrager's exclusive and pioneering protection system, when tested in a recent study, WaveCel has been proven to be up to 48 times more effective than traditional foam constructed helmets in certain cycling related impacts.

Lining the inside of the helmet, WaveCel is a collapsible cellular structure that works like a crumple zone to absorb the force experienced in an impact, dissipating the energy before it reaches your head.

Flex, crumple, glide. This three-step process is integral to the WaveCel’s success. Kicking off proceedings, the cells flex to reduce the initial frictional forces. Car bumper like crumple properties then come into play before the glide motion redirects the energy away from your head.

Adding just 53 grams to a standard Bontrager helmet, this technology improves safety without compromising performance.

Specialized ANGi

A relatively new technology, developed by Specialized, ANGi is an all singing all dancing system that boasts features such as live tracking, crash detection, and a safety beacon.

In essence, ANGi is a helmet mounted sensor that, in the event of a crash, measures the forces the helmet experiences when impacted. As well as direct forces, rotational forces are also taken into account. This means even if your helmet does not make a direct impact with the ground, the system still picks up on the potentially damaging situation.

Offering peace of mind for you and your loved ones, ANGi incorporates a rider tracker feature into its design. This lets your emergency contact know you are going out for a ride and allows them to track your progress. In the unfortunate case of an accident, the crash detector kicks in and the safety beacon alerts your contact and sends them your location.

Paired with the Specialized Ride app, which allows you to share ride and performance data with fellow ANGi users as well as connect to help, ANGi features on a range of Specialized helmets and can be added to 2019 or newer Specialized helmets.

Learn more about Specialized ANGi.


For many years helmet technology trundled along, with no real game-changing advancements when it came to protection. That was until MIPS came to fruition in 1996. The brainchild (excuse the pun) of neurosurgeon Hans Von Holst, the Swede began studying the relationship between helmet construction and brain injuries.

After developing a system that substantially improves brain protection, MIPS can now be found in a range of helmets, from cycling to skiing and motorcycling to motor racing.

The premise is simple, a system designed to offer protection against trauma associated with rotational motion. Rather than head-on impacts, MIPS comes into its own when the head is impacted at an angle.

MIPS construction consists of a low friction layer that allows for a 10 - 15-millimetre range of sliding movement which has been proven to reduce the rotational motion to the brain in the event of an impact.

About the Author

  • About Dan: After racing in Britain and France, Dan can now be found tackling gran fondos and riding around Dorset, Surrey and Essex.
  • Article Published On: 29 July 2019

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