RBR: How many brands are using MIPS and who have been your biggest partners thus far?
JT: Right now we have 44 brands signed up across all our segments, though not all of them are in the market just yet. You will see some new companies offering MIPS next year. Next year, we will also have new technology coming out that will go beyond what you’ve seen thus far. Volume wise, Bell and Giro are our biggest partners. POC and Lazer are also up there. All told there are 19 brands at Interbike that we have partnerships with.
RBR: How big is MIPS and how many units do you currently have out in the real world?
JT: We currently have 14 people at our headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, with another four in China. We are also recruiting more people this fall, so by next year we’ll be up to at least 16 in Sweden. As for units in the market, we are at about 400,000 right now. But that number is headed higher all the time.
RBR: What regions of the world have shown the greatest interest in MIPS and which sports are you primary outlets?
JT: When we first launched interest was greatest in Europe, but we are now seeing rapid growth in the U.S., which is catching up quickly. Volume wise cycling is No. 1 at about 70 percent. That’s a big change from when we first started and it was 70 percent snow, but it makes sense as the overall bike market is so much larger.
RBR: How does a company get access to use of MIPS product?
JT: It obviously starts with reaching some basic business agreements. Then we connect with the design and development department. Usually when we start working with a new client, we start out with retrofitting so they can get existing product out to market. The next step is to integrate the design process with MIPS from the beginning. By interacting with the design and development people we can help them think about integrating MIPS from the beginning. That is something we’ll see a lot more of next year where MIPS is part of design from the beginning.
RBR: So how do you see this integration changing the finished product?
JT: We are still figuring that out, but you’ll certainly see more integration and better function.
What do you think? Are MIPS-equipped helmets worth the extra expense, or is this just a shrewd marketing scheme?
To learn more, visit www.mipshelmet.com