The POC Ventral SPIN is almost faultless in performance and fit, proving that aero doesn't have to come at the expense of other features
- Effective air channelling gives breezy ventilation across the head
- SPIN gives unobtrusive protection against rotational forces
- Straps sit close and comfortable against the face
- Retention sits high on the head
POC says that, by harnessing the Venturi effect and using carefully sculpted aero trailing, its top-tier Ventral is a road bike helmet that excels in aerodynamics and ventilation without sacrificing rider safety. POC however, has chosen not to release any test data leaving us to quantify its claims via our usual real-world test protocol.
Design and aesthetics
As with the many products that are focussed on marginal gains, the Ventral’s EPS construction has been designed using the CFD (computational fluid dynamics) brush. CFD has been used to improve aerodynamics, create airflow zones and to keep turbulence at a low.
POC helmets have a reputation for being on the mushroomy side as far as shape goes but the Swedish company has always prioritised safety over aesthetics. Front on, the Ventral has a slimmer profile than its stablemates, although it's unmistakably POC once you view it in profile as the rear of the helmet has been built up more to better absorb rear impacts.
The Ventral comes in a number of monotone colourways from a conservative black to clinical white. There are a couple of colours available including red, a subtle matte-green and the safety orange now synonymous with POC.
Performance and fit
While MIPS is still the big name in rotational safety POC dropped the technology three years ago in favour of its own SPIN (Shearing Pads INside) technology. POC claims that the silicone-backed helmet pads performed better in testing than the MIPS equivalent and is more resistant to roll, yaw and pitch impacts. While I haven't been in a position to test these claims myself, the SPIN system is slimline and unobtrusive and manages to follow the helmet design without compromising ventilation.
POC uses its own retention dial which winds in a fit system that encircles the full head. The dial offers effective closure using a click-free winder that gives plenty of control. The retention system doesn’t sit as low on the back of the head or feel as grabby as other helmets but, once dialled in and riding, there is no suggestion that it wouldn’t stay in place. In fact, with its svelte weight, the Ventral is easily forgettable once on the move.
POC has done a superb job at managing the straps, with neat strap junctions that spread the straps away from the ear and completely eliminates billowing when riding quickly. They are a bit fiddly to adjust but once set to your preference the straps stay put.
With my head size around the 58cm ballpark, I was on the upper end of POC’s sizing for a medium but once the helmet was on my head the dial still wound in a comforting amount to grip my skull snuggly. However, if you are on the lower end of the sizing spectrum, it may be worth trying it on before you buy.
Ventilation is fantastic with the front vents gulping air in, feeding the large channels that run over the head and exhausting heat out the rear. Even at slow speeds or toiling up climbs, heat seems to freely escape. Despite this, I haven’t yet felt the need to supplement the Ventral with a casquette or cap, even on some truly bitter morning training rides.
The eye garage uses little fabric grippers on the inside of the vents to help cling onto the arms of your sunglasses. Despite all sorts of poor road conditions all stored eyewear has not yet attempted to shake free.
The POC Ventral SPIN helmet proves that aero doesn’t have to come at the sacrifice of ventilation, the Ventral breathes in huge quantities of air even at slow speeds to assure head temperature is always well regulated. The lightweight shell, impressive set-and-forget retention system and SPIN slip-plane technology mean it's one of the better (read safer) options in the segment - if you can get your head around the price. It’s a quality helmet that is hard to fault.
- Temperature range: Winter/Spring: 0-12 degrees
- Test duration: Two months
- Terrain: Road
Specifications: POC Ventral SPIN
- Price: Starting at US$290 / £270 / €300.00
- Weight: 248g (claimed), 249g (actual, medium)
- Rotational safety: SPIN
- Retention: POC
- Aero: Yes
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Colours: 9