This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
BikeRadar verdict: "Well ventilated, but that shape though..."
BikeRadar score: 3.5/5 stars
Highs: Superb ventilation, high-quality feel and construction Lows: Unique aesthetics and large form factor can swallow some heads Buy if: You love POC's style and want a breezy aero lid
The POC Ventral Spin is a comfy helmet with heaps of airflow, but boy is it expensive. And the looks are, well, decidedly POC.
While POC, almost refreshingly, doesn’t boast any wattage savings or CdA figures, the Swedish company does claim that the design aggressively directs air through the helmet instead of around it. Also, POC claims the Ventral Spin is faster than its previous aero road helmet, the Octal Aero.
In lieu of MIPS, POC employs its own SPIN padding that has rotational impact protection capabilities. It would appear that SPIN pads are lighter and don’t block ventilation the way a MIPS liner can.
Putting it on is best done with the dial mechanism opened up all the way. Because the Ventral’s fit system uses a loop that surrounds the head, the brow pad, mounted on the interior of the loop, has a tendency to move up inside the helmet. Opening up the helmet before you put it on avoids that.
Under-ear adjustment of the straps takes a little elbow grease, but it also doesn’t slip around during use like some looser arrangements. It is a bit close on my ears, but POC is making a running change and will lower the under-ear junction in the future.
The POC has one of the nicest excess helmet strap management designs on the market. A small sleeve of elastic fabric is a welcome upgrade to the typical glorified rubber band used to keep things looking tidy. It’s soft to the touch and does a good job.
POC includes a well-designed sunglasses “garage” using super tacky surfaces inside the outermost front vents. They really grab onto sunglasses and keep them in place, even over bumpy roads.
While POC’s website says the Ventral Spin runs small, I beg to differ. I needed to cinch the dial mechanism quite a bit to tighten up the helmet on my head. The Ventral, compared to other size medium helmets I’ve tested, is larger than most.
That larger size, and its increased coverage, may produce a safer helmet, but unfortunately, on me, it also meant that the brow of the Ventral SPIN interfered with several pairs of sunglasses that I used during testing. [For another tester on the upper end of Medium helmets, the Ventral Spin was in fact too small.]
So why the relatively low rating of 3.5 stars? Well, £250 / $290 is a lot for a helmet, even one with nifty padding and good ventilation. There are cheaper options on the market that also look quite a bit better. While I like many of the technologies that POC develops and brings to cycling, I’ve never seen one of its helmets that had me swooning.
While the Ventral Spin delivers many niceties, little items, such as the need to open up its dial mechanism every time you put it on, knock it down in my estimation. For a different cyclist though, perhaps a fan of POC, the Ventral may represent a step forward.
For any rider, it certainly stands as a very nicely ventilated aero road helmet and that’s a departure that I’m keen to see the rest of the helmet world embrace.