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Were Mad Magazine‘s Don Martin still alive, and were he a cyclist, and were he the sort of cyclist who bounded through the woods on singletrack, ducking under branches and around trees … he would be even more awesome than he was. And he was pretty awesome. But he would also know the sound a tree branch hitting a helmet makes.

There’s thock! And kaplok! Not to mention bingshzzz! (The leaves, ya know?) And let’s forget fla-KONG!

Those stirring renditions should have, by now, brought back memories of goodly tree branches that knocked your helmet enough to give you a good klunk without actually knocking you off your bike or damaging the helmet. The thing is, I’ve worn a number of helmets that were so minimally padded, that is, there was so little liner between my skull and the EPS that those knocks elicited ows, yipes and oofs from me. One even caused a cartoony lump to rise on said noggin.


Enter stage right the Scott Vivo Plus mountain bike helmet. This MIPS-lined protector of brains is a great example of how mountain bike helmets have evolved for trail riders. There’s increased coverage in the rear, big vents to keep you cool, a well-mounted visor and includes the aforementioned MIPS liner to reduce the likelihood of injury from rotational forces in the event of a sudden deceleration.

The fit is reasonably round and the occipital device does a good job of keeping the helmet in place if snugged sufficiently. If you leave it loose, the helmet has a tendency, like most, to start to droop and limit your view. Ventilation is superior to most helmets that offer similar coverage, especially in the rear. Think cabriolet, but with a roll bar.

I’ve had some issues with the helmet sitting low enough that it bangs into some varieties of eyewear, but a couple of my favorite pairs are okay. I choose accordingly.

But what I like best about this helmet is that the liner pads are surprisingly thick, thicker than those in any other helmet I’ve tried except for a couple from Kali. Those thicker pads make a difference when I duck under a branch and find out the hard way I didn’t duck quite enough.



Son of a…. Taking a branch to the head and having the only evidence other than the sound be a jaunty new tilt to the helmet is not just welcome, it’s the sort of revelation that has caused me to reassess other helmets.

The Vivo Plus comes in three sizes (Small, Medium and Large) and five colors including an understated slate and black. Of course, it seems like most new helmets are upward of $200, and while I think my brain is worth that investment, it’s always nice when you don’t have to spend what might otherwise be devoted to a half dozen good bottles of wine (or a weekend away with your sweetie). The Vivo Plus is only $129.99, which makes it one of the least expensive MIPS-equipped lids on the market. MIPS is a product I haven’t personally verified works, but like airbags, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. But what has me most sold on this helmet is the comfort. I want a helmet to be comfortable until I need it. That’s not too much to ask.

Final thought: Don Martin would approve.

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