Several ladies have asked about mountain bike helmets since we started our clinic. After researching a bit more I went ahead and bought a mountain bike specific MIPS helmet. Just a quick overview of why I made the choice and then some links to several helmets I tried on.
Yes there is a difference between a road bike helmet and a mountain bike helmet. Most noticeably is the visor on the mtn bike helmet. I'm not sure how much I really use that piece with sunglasses on as well, but it is helpful when its raining. The main difference and most important is the head coverage. Mtn bike helmets usually have fewer vents and they cover more of the back and sides of the head. These helmets are designed like this because if you fall off you tend to land on uneven terrain that might be littered with stones, branches and tree roots. If you ride obstacles and fall off you're likely to hit your head on those.
There has been a lot of research lately on preventing head injuries, the latest in helmet technology is MIPS. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It is believed that this new technology lessens the force of impact when performing a head landing (not recommended) by dispersing the energy. In a crash, the outer shell of a MIPS helmet absorbs linear impact, while the inner layer rotates up to 5mm, absorbing rotational impact. This small rotation of the liner relative to the shell results in a signification reduction of the forces on the brain, which reduces the likelihood of concussion and other brain injury. (I did several head landing this weekend, I was happy to have this helmet 😀)
This new technology is found in many helmets now, not just bike helmets. This does make the helmet a little more expensive, but totally worth it in my book. Some options for us ladies are below:
Smith MIPS Helmet (this one just looks badass!)
Bell MIPS Helmet (great price!)
Helmets fit differently for different people, I would recommend trying some on or ordering a couple different sizes on Amazon and sending back the ones that don't fit. :)