Hot on the heels of the news that Endura has revamped its helmet range to now combine Koroyd and MIPS, I got to spend a short amount of time riding with the new MT500 MIPS at the launch in the Dolomites. With representatives from Endura, Koroyd and MIPS all in attendance, I was able to really get to grips with the revamped design of the Scottish brand’s top-tier helmet, and all the additional safety features it now comes with. According to Endura, what started as an exercise in modernizing, turned into a complete overhaul, and two years in the making, the new and improved MT500 MIPS helmet brings Endura’s range up to date aesthetically, while combining the benefits of MIPS and Koroyd into one product.
I’ve only had a short amount of time with it, so I am ready to give my first impressions only for now. Stay tuned for a full review once I’ve had more time to really get to grips with it, and determine whether it deserves a spot in our lists of the best mountain bike helmets, and the best MIPS mountain bike helmets.
Design and specification
The new MT500 MIPS helmet has a sleek and modern aesthetic, with its matte finish, smooth lines and tasteful branding. Compared to its previous guise, the newer model receives increased coverage at the front and back, encapsulating the entire skull from the forehead to the occipital bone at the base and covering the temporal bones at the sides of the head.
The biggest feature of this new iteration of Endura’s top-tier helmet comes in the form of its seamless integration of Koroyd and MIPS technology. The Koroyd is immediately evident, recognizable by its distinctive bright green color and honeycomb-like open cell structure (which does nothing for this writer’s trypophobia, but that’s beside the point). The MIPS layer is slightly more subtle, now relinquishing its iconic yellow color in favor of a dark gray that blends in with the helmet’s aesthetic.
For those not already familiar with these technologies, here’s a brief explanation: Koroyd technology was founded on aerospace engineering principles, and is made up of welded tubes fused together, to create a honeycomb-like layer about an inch thick. These tubes are designed to crumple on impact, absorbing dangerous forces that cause a large proportion of brain injuries.
The Monaco-based brand behind it intends for it to gradually replace the traditional EPS foam, and when you inspect the construction of the Endura MT500 MIPS helmet, you can clearly see that while there’s an EPS section at the rear (beneath the gray part), the bright green Koroyd layer takes over and forms the bulk of the helmet’s form beneath the white areas. Its particular application here is in its Halo form, which refers to the amount of Koroyd coverage offered. Halo indicates that the majority of the helmet receives the Koroyd treatment, with only a space in the center where a GoPro mount is present (hence the halo visual).
MIPS, on the other hand, is a plastic layer that moves freely within the helmet and targets rotational forces that are shown to be a major factor in concussions and similar brain injuries. Essentially, a head impact is rarely a simple linear ‘bounce’ off the ground in one direction; more often than not, as the head makes contact with the ground, there will likely be a sliding movement that exposes the head to rotational forces. MIPS, as a free-moving layer, is designed to allow for that movement to happen independently of the head, preventing serious injury. When you look at the interior of the helmet, the MIPS layer is the dark gray plastic lining that sits between the green Koroyd and the gray padding.
As part of its overhaul, the MT500 MIPS helmet has received some design upgrades to give it more of a premium feel, which it certainly does achieve. Compared to the outgoing model, the fitment system has been refined, given a sleek, low profile, and it offers a 360-degree fit. Meanwhile, the gray straps are threaded through brand new strap dividers, which are much larger and wider in shape, better allowing the straps to sit flush against the face.
The visor is adjustable to three different positions, offering a wide range of movement. It’s affixed to the helmet with chrome screw bolts that offer a more premium look and feel, and beneath its hinges are two long and narrow vents that double up as eyewear storage.
On the top of the helmet there’s a slot for a GoPro mount, which comes included in the box.
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Having only spent a short amount of time with the Endura MT500 MIPS helmet, I can’t comment too much about its performance, but I can confirm that it fits extremely comfortably and appeared to do an excellent job of cooling while I rode in 86-degree weather (30 C).
Endura says it designed the new helmet to be worn all day without developing pressure points or hot spots, and on first impression the fit feels surprisingly glove-like on my small head. The padding is quite thick, but soft, and cradles the front and sides of the head nicely. Meanwhile, the strap dividers are pretty effective, though I’d probably benefit from a bit more tweaking to get a fully flush result, and the eyewear storage is excellent, with Endura’s own Dorado II glasses staying put despite some pretty rough handling.
Some slight concerns in this early stage, however, revolve around the overall sizing and the placement of the buckle. As someone with a small head, this helmet fits me exceptionally well from the outset, before dialing in the fit. Seeing as the size I’m wearing is Small/Medium, I’d be concerned that someone with a medium head size might not have as much leeway to achieve the fit they want from the outset, and might find the helmet a bit of a squeeze. This is only conjecture though at this point, and there's a Medium/Large option available instead.
The buckle, on the other hand, is something that does concern me. Once fastened, it sits very close to my throat rather than under my chin, which, as I lower my head, becomes even more pronounced. I think this is due to the width of the strap dividers, which set the straps further back than usual, compared to other helmets I’ve worn.
First impressions overall have been good, with the new MT500 MIPS displaying seamless integration of two leading safety technologies, all within a sleek package with a premium look and feel. However, only time and further testing will tell if the slight fit issues are a deal-breaker on the all-day rides this helmet is designed for.
Tech Specs: Endura MT500 helmet
- Price: $TBC / £169.99 / €189.99
- Sizes available: S/M (tested), M/L, L/XL
- Weight: 410g (S/M actual)
- Colors: Black, Concrete Gray, Olive Green, Paprika, Spruce Green, White
- Tech: Koroyd Halo & MIPS