The Swedes are well-known for design (my house looks like an Ikea catalog), and when it comes to protecting my head, I turn to Swedish helmet maker, POC. Its helmets look modern, and POC's obsession with safety and cutting-edge tech is unmatched.
POC has a big helmet line-up , so how do you pick the right POC helmet? Here’s what you need to know.
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POC road helmets
POC Octal - $200.00
The Octal put POC on the map when the Garmin-Sharp team wore it in the 2014 Tour de France. POC designed the Octal to be the safest road helmet on the market. It uses unibody construction, so the outer shell is structural and covers the entire helmet like an exoskeleton. This looks good and provides better crash performance and penetration protection, while allowing for larger vents and reduced weight.
Octal X - $250.00
Adds an aramid bridge to the shell for more structural integrity and penetration protection. The helmet also extends lower in the back, protecting more of the rider’s head.
POC Ventral - $300.00
The Ventral is an aero helmet that doesn’t compromise on safety or ventilation. It takes inspiration from the Venturi effect, with airflow zones that encourage breeze to pass through the helmet with greater efficiency. Outside the vents, airflow is managed by a 22° aero trailing edge that minimizes turbulence. By leading air through, rather than around, the helmet, drag is reduced and ventilation is enhanced.
Ventral Air - $260.00
Adds extra ventilation ports and internal channels, reducing aero efficiency but improving cooling.
Ventral Lite - $275.00
Adds extra ventilation ports and reduces unneeded weight from the unibody shell (exposing more of the underlying EPS Foam) to create POC’s lightest helmet at 270 grams.
Ventral Tempus- $280.00
Adds a fully covered shell for cold weather and wind, rain and snow protection.
POC Omne Air - $170.00
The Omne Air is an affordable helmet that provides the class-leading protection you expect from POC. The Omne takes design cues from the Octal and Ventral, but has thicker core protection zones. Wear it for road, gravel, commuting, and anything else you can throw at it.
Pocito Omne - $100
A smaller Youth/Kid's version of the Omne Air.
POC MTB helmets
POC Tectal - $180.00
The Tectal replaced POC’s popular Trabec helmet and was specifically developed for trail and enduro. Its aramid bridges increase penetration protection and unibody shell construction reduces weight and increases ventilation. The Tectal extends farther down the temples and back of the head for more coverage than conventional mountain bike helmets.
Tectal Race MIPS - $230.00
Adds MIPS technology and a rear strap for goggles.
Tectal Race MIPS NFC - $240.00
Adds twICEme® NFC Medical ID to give first responders instance access to vital medical and emergency contact details.
POC Kortal - $200.00
The Kortal is POC’s new benchmark for trail and enduro helmets. It uses all the Tectal’s design elements, but takes safety a step further. It is certified for use with e-bikes, passing the Dutch NTA8776 standard, which tests helmets at higher impact speeds. In a crash, the patented breakaway visor will snap away from the helmet to prevent neck injuries. The visor also pivots high enough to store goggles and your sunglasses in the lower vents.
Kortal Race MIPS - $250.00
Adds MIPS technology and twICEme® NFC Medical ID to give first responders instance access to vital medical and emergency contact details.
POC Axion - $150.00
The Axion is a more affordable MTB helmet that offers light weight and ventilation in POC’s proven unibody shell with extended coverage. Like the Kortal, the adjustable breakaway visor enhances safety in a crash. It’s great for trail, enduro, commuting, and all-day adventures.
Axion Race MIPS - $270
Adds MIPS technology for additional rotational impact protection.
POC Otocon - $270
The Otocon is an exceptionally lightweight and well-ventilated full-face helmet designed for the challenges of enduro racing. It is DH-certified so it is protective enough for gnarly downhill trails riding, but it won't weight you down of feel as stifling as a true DH helmet on climbs. It's ideal for riders who want full-face protection for trail and enduro riding.
Otocon Race - $350
Adds MIPS technology, an aramid bridge to the shell for more structural integrity and penetration protection, and twICEme® NFC Medical ID to give first responders instance access to vital medical and emergency contact details.
POC Coron Air - $300.00
The Coron Air is a dedicated downhill full-face helmet that features ventilation channels for airflow at both low and high speeds. It’s great for all-day use at the bike park or for any DH track were riders need maximum protection. Specially formed ear chambers minimize the full-face’s effect on balance and hearing. It uses a durable fiber-glass shell and a multi-impact EPP liner.
Coron Air Carbon - $470.00
Swaps the fiber-glass shell for carbon fiber, increasing strength and reducing weight.
POC Crane - $100
Inspired by skate helmets, the Crane can handle everything from commuting to dirt jumps. A thicker outer shell prevents dents and scratches so you can toss the helmet around. A dual-density liner protects your head from a wide range of impact forces from slow to fast. The latest versions use MIPS technology.
Pocito Crane - $100
A smaller Youth/Kid's version of the Crane.
What is the MIPS Technology (& SPIN) in POC Helmets?
Protecting your head from rotational forces is key to preventing concussions. When shopping for POC helmets, you may see two different technologies used in its helmets to reduce rotational forces.
Many POC helmets use MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), a low-friction “slip-plane” layer added to the inside of a helmet. It reduces the rotational impact by allowing the helmet to rotate 10-15mm on your head during a crash.
Some older POC helmets use SPIN (Shearing Pad INside), which replaces the traditional foam helmet pads with SPIN pads that contain a silicone gel-like membrane. During impact, this membrane will shear, allowing the helmet to rotate like it would with the MIPS liner.
MIPS- or SPIN-equipped helmets are indicated by the model name (e.g. Ventral Air SPIN). Helmets with MIPS or SPIN cost slightly more (e.g. $180 for the Tectal vs. $220 for the Tectal Race SPIN). There are studies supporting their effectiveness, and as a rider who has suffered from the effects of a concussion, I choose to wear a MIPS or SPIN helmet to reduce risk. Most new POC helmets will come with MIPS technology, as SPIN is getting phased out.
You can’t go wrong with a POC helmet. No matter which one you choose, just make sure you wear it every time you get on your bike. Not only will you look good, but you’ll be safer too!
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