Helmets get intelligent

Specialized have thoroughly updated their entire helmet lineup for 2019, with every model now available with MIPS technology (more on that below). This isn't simply a superficial refresh, the new helmets take safety to another level.

The S-Works models, including the aero Evade and the superlight Prevail II, also feature ANGi - yes, another four-letter-acronym, but it's a really interesting one. Basically this is a crash detector/tracker integrated into the helmet, that can call for help if required.

Sounds familiar? IceDot technology started to make inroads a few years ago, but at that point the technology was in its infancy. Specialized acquired them in 2017 and have used their huge R&D resources to develop the tech to the next level.

If you're on a solo training ride, or exploring off the beaten path, then these new helmets provide more than just the usual superb physical protection - they can call for assistance in an emergency if you're not able to.

The brain on the outside helps look after the brain on the inside

ANGi is a two-part system. A small, lightweight sensor unit (just 10g) is attached to the rear of the helmet and detects any sudden impacts. It connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your iOS or Android phone, where a Specialized app interprets the data and takes action accordingly.

Specialized describe it as a combination of "a ride tracker, crash detector, and safety beacon".

Essentially it's providing an added level of security and reassurance when you're out riding on your own. Not only does it track your location via the GPS in your phone (and can export ride data to Strava) but it will call for help in the event of an accident.

If the ANGi sensor detects a potential crash during your ride, it will connect to the Ride App on your smartphone, sound an alarm, and start a countdown. If you're okay, you just cancel the countdown and keep riding. If you're injured and unable to cancel the countdown, however, the Ride App will send a text alert to your emergency contacts telling them you may have been in an accident (and your location, via GPS)

You can't simply pop an ANGi sensor onto an existing helmet - in order for the sensor to work reliably the helmet needs to have been designed with ANGi in mind. However, all 2019 Specialized helmets are ANGi-ready, and all the S-Works models come with the sensor included.

S-Works Evade with ANGi

S-Works Prevail II with ANGi

Additionally the sensor will be available for purchase separately (although as mentioned above, you'll need one of the 2019 Specialized helmets in order to be able to use it).

The ANGi equipped helmets, as well as the standalone sensors, come with a year's subscription to the Specialized Ride Premium app. After the initial year's use you will need to continue the subscription in order to benefit from the alert features (priced at £29.99 a year).

ANGi at a glance:

  • Connects via Low-Energy Bluetooth to the Specialized Ride app on your iOS or Android phone
  • Waterproof rated at IPx7 (waterproof when immersed for 30 minutes to a depth of 1 metre).
  • Runs off a commonly available, economical CR2032 battery (typically lasting 6 months)
  • Compatible with all 2019 Specialized helmets
  • Two Year warranty
  • Happily runs alongside other Bluetooth devices (e.g. HRM, Power meters) without interference

What is MIPS?

You may have already heard of MIPS, it's been more and more widely available over the past couple of years. Designed to reduce rotational impact in the event of a crash, it's effectively a sliding layer within the helmet that allows 10-15mm rotational in any direction.

Safety experts are big fans of MIPS, and it's great to see it becoming more widespread, after all, more safety can only be a good thing, especially when there are no downsides. Early on the inclusion MIPS could add a little bulk and/or sweatiness to a helmet, but recent developments have shrunk the liner without harming its effectiveness.

Essentially when riding you don't know it's there, you certainly won't feel the helmet moving, but when needed it provides valuable extra protection.

Additionally, in their S-Works helmets Specialized are using their own exclusive MIPS-SL variant, which is specially designed to maximise airflow and minimise weight.

The new S-Works helmets will be arriving in-store and online over the next few weeks (we already have a small supply of the Evade in white at Bespoke Gresham Street).

Read more and buy/pre-order online:

Specialized S-Works Evade with ANGi - £230 with free UK delivery

Specialized S-Works Prevail II with ANGi - £200 with free UK delivery