The POC Ventral SPIN is an aerodynamically optimised helmet which, by virtue of its design, also offers great ventilation. Its fit is comfortable and secure, while the addition of fabric grippers in the vents keep a secure hold of your sunglasses. Although quite expensive, it doesn’t put a foot wrong – in all, it’s a great helmet.
Comfortable and secure fit
Excellent sunglasses-retaining feature
Wide range of colours
Protection from rotational impacts
By Stefan Abram
The Ventral SPIN is POC’s range-topping aerodynamic helmet and includes a host of innovative features as well as being respectably lightweight.
POC Ventral SPIN helmet: construction
Many other manufacturers of aerodynamic helmets seek to cheat the wind by blocking up vents in order to create as smooth a surface as possible for the air to flow around. POC, however, takes a very different approach.
As a bit of background, the Venturi effect describes how a fluid’s velocity will increase if the flow is constricted. You can see this demonstrated when you hold your thumb over the end of a garden hose to make the water spray further.
Applying this principle to helmets, instead of forcing all of the air around the helmet and causing a huge wake, POC’s design takes advantage of the Venturi effect. Here, the air takes less of a deviation, passes straight through the helmet and is then expelled at a higher velocity out the back.
In the absence of controlled back-to-back testing of all the aero helmets out there, it’s not possible to comment on which design is really the most effective. However, a modified version of Pascal’s Wager would state that in the absence of concrete evidence, you’re probably best off going for an aero helmet design which happens to also be the best ventilated – of which this happens to be one.
Alongside this, POC has developed its own SPIN ('Shearing Pad INside') system which, similar to MIPS, helps to reduce the transmission of rotational forces in the event of a crash. The retention system has a robust feel to it and can have its vertical orientation adjusted up and down, although the mechanism for this is a little hidden under the padding.
Other features include a wider buckle where the helmet straps meet below the ears, which reduces the chance of issues of the straps cutting in. And finally, on the far left and right air intakes, there’s the addition of some grippy fabric to better hold onto your sunnies.
For me, the fit was absolutely spot on. There was no pinching or squeezing at the temples and the retention system kept the helmet securely in place – even clattering over rocky and rooty trails, it always felt very secure.
True to their promise, the helmet straps were nicely taken care of, passing around my ears and not cutting in. Regarding the aerodynamic qualities, I can’t say I’ve experienced a noticeable speed increase. But with so many uncontrolled variables when riding outdoors, that doesn’t necessarily mean there were no benefits imparted.
I can’t comment on how good the ventilation really is, having not yet ridden it in conditions over 20°C. But for what it’s worth, in all my rides throughout the early spring, I’ve not once felt like my head was overheating.
Although perhaps a little superficial, for me, one of the real highlights of this helmet are the sunglasses grippers. Although POC might emphasise that these are designed for use with POC sunglasses, I found they worked flawlessly with a whole range of different brands. It was possible to ride perfectly normally with them tucked in up there and never have to worry about them rattling around or falling out – it was great.
At £270, the POC Ventral SPIN helmet is at the upper end of the price bracket, but not by such a long way.
The direct competition comes from the Giro Aether MIPS, which costs a penny under £260. We loved this helmet, awarding it a full 10/10 and a place in our 2020 Editor’s Choice awards. It ticks the boxes of being lightweight, cooling, and including the MIPS technology. However, it doesn’t have quite as neat a sunglasses-retaining system.
A little cheaper, but still with a striking aerodynamic design, is the Smith Ignite helmet at £210 – which also earnt a place in our Editor’s Choice awards. The comfort, safety features and aesthetics were particular highlights, although we found the matte finish was easy to make grubby.
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