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Monday, 08 April 2019 22:10

Mammut Wall Rider with MIPS: Tested & Reviewed

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Head protection whilst climbing is a no brainer, in more ways than one. Gone are the days when it’s seen as uncool to wear one and with the developments in technology no brains are likely to be injured, well it’ll lessen the likelihood.

The new Wall Rider helmet from Mammut is the first climbing helmet to integrate MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) Brain Protection System (BPS) system. And received an ISPO Award in 2018 for its innovation.

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What Mammut Say:
A pioneer among its peers: the first climbing helmet featuring the patented MIPS technology, the Wall Rider MIPS offers maximum safety and protection from impacts caused by tumbling rocks or falls. When the Wall Rider MIPS helmet is subjected to an angled impact, the low friction layer allows the helmet to slide relative to the head. This means that some portion of the rotational forces and energies acting on the head at impact are redirected and absorbed thanks to the large low-friction layer, rather than being transferred to the brain, this reduces the risk of a brain injury. The Wall Rider MIPS combines a cushioning EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) core with a partial hard shell for maximum safety. At just 225 g, this makes the helmet a real lightweight. The Wall Rider feels very comfortable to wear thanks to its ergonomic fit and pleasant cushioning. Safety on the mountain with the Wall Rider MIPS.

Weight [g]: 225
Cut : Basic
EPP core combined with a partial Hard Shell
Ergonomic interior with comfortable padding
Large ventilation openings for good air circulation and heat discharge
Ultra-lightweight, minimalist adjustment system
All-round, fully adjustable chin strap for optimum fit
2 clips on front and rubber loop on back for fixing a headlamp
EN 12492 standard

What we found:
Straight out the box the Wall Rider has a really nice feel to it and noticeably light! The harness is minimal but has options for adjustment, we’ll go into that in a bit. The Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) is well structured for venting, with the grooves and air holes big enough to keep the air moving.

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The EPP is what helps to keep this helmet down to the book values of 225grams , my version weighs 260 and is the 56 – 61 cm size. The “skull cap” part of the Wall Rider is what gives the helmet the initial impact protection. It we’ll fend off light debris and knocks without concern. Most of what mine has had to contend with is the ice and debris being thrown down from my lead or other teams. Along with a couple of cracks off a wall when I misjudge the angle of the route.

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Inside the helmet is the distinctive yellow MIPS insert. If you click through to their site you can see how the science of it works. Essentially it allows the movement of the insert to deflect some of the energy from a substantial fall or impact, reducing the effect on the head and brain. In practice I can’t comment on it’s benefits as I have fortunately not been in a position to be subjected to these kind of impacts. However, as other parts of the outdoor industry like bikes and skiing have adopted the system I can see it being like airbags in cars, you’d just rather it was there just in case. I’d expect to see the little yellow sticker on more climbing helmets going forward. The yellow insert moves a when given a shove but goes unnoticed when wearing it. I have posted a little video on Instagram and Twitter to try and show the movement.

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The additional padding in the lining is well placed and I’ve had no discomfort whilst wearing it for long periods.

The “ultra-lightweight, minimalist adjustment system” does, as I said earlier, adjust the harness to fit well. Where I have had problems is adjusting the rear buckles when moving from a hat or hood underneath to nothing. The buckles are quite small and when wearing gloves, especially winter climbing ones, makes it difficult to do with out stripping down to bare skin, which isn’t ideal. The balance between being light on the wall, both rock or alpine, and practicality is a fine one.

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The front clips are quite fine to get a head torch strap under, so plan ahead, but the rear elastic strap holder does mean it is relatively secure should the front two get unhooked whilst scuttling up a chimney etc. It’s also useful to hold on to goggles!

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I do like the large brow opening, which allows wearing goggles and the front not forcing the oversized eyewear down on to my nose making it hard to breath, or sniff. The shell does sit slightly raised from the head, possibly associated to the MIPS, but as it isn’t that thick it is not design also.

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The Wall Rider is at the higher end of the climbing helmet price range, retailing at £149, but it does have the technology and lightweight credentials to just about justify it. What value do you put on your head anyway? When it’s on and fitted it goes unnoticed which I like a lot, having to mess about with adjustments of an annoying climbing helmet is an unwanted distraction. With the experience I have had with it, I have no doubt the Wall Rider will do its job should the time ever come. The Mammut Wall Rider with MIPS is worthy of the ISPO award.

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