We test the POC Ventral Air: an addictive helmet
In 2018, POC introduced its Ventral helmet model as an alternative to its popular Octal. After that first model came the POC Ventral Air and in 2021 the brand has taken the evolution to the limit with the new Ventral Lite. With less than 200g it is the lightest POC helmet to date and one of the most comfortable we have tested, here we tell you all about it.
POC Ventral Lite: we test the lightest helmet of the brand
A few years ago, helmet manufacturers started to develop new product lines in which innovative safety systems took centre stage and the top-of-the-range models of almost all brands were differentiated by including some of these systems, such as MIPS, POC's own SPIN or ODS, among others.
But in 2021 POC wanted to offer a model that pushes the limits in terms of lightness and ventilation, two characteristics that until recently were the most valued by most cyclists, without sacrificing safety.
The result is this POC Ventral Air which weighs between 198 and 200g, depending on the unit and the scales, in size M and we knew it was going to become our favourite right from the moment we took it out of the box. But a lightweight, minimalist model like this, we realised, raises the same suspicions in everyone who holds it in their hands for the first time, is it really safe? is it really tough? Let's take it one step at a time.
POC essence and aesthetics
Aesthetically we can say that this is the purest concentration of the POC essence. The Ventral Air reminds us at first glance of any of the models that precede it, the Octal or any of the previous Ventral, but when we look at it in detail we appreciate that the structure has been sharpened to adapt volumes and allow it to be built with as little material as possible without compromising the integrity.
On the surface there are certainly more cooling holes than areas with EPS foam or the 0.5mm polycarbonate shell, but this is certainly in favour of ventilation and not so much weight saving, we think. In any case, it works well for both purposes and the asymmetrical rectangular holes throughout the helmet give it POC's signature aesthetics.
The polycarbonate shell that covers only the most impact-sensitive areas has been made thinner to save weight, as has the refinement of the EPS structure mentioned above.
Minimalist fit and interior
As you can imagine, the inside of the helmet has also been designed to be as light as possible, and although it dispenses with POC's SPIN system, equivalent to MIPS, and instead we find thin pads, we have to say that what is most surprising is the internal fastening and adjustment "circuit".
A nylon thread, literally, runs along the back of the helmet and can be adjusted to our head circumference thanks to a millimetric rear roulette that works as well as any BOA we have tried. In addition, this dial is anchored to a plastic structure that hugs part of the nape of the neck up to the top of the head.
The whole system is so minimal that it first raises doubts about its strength and then surprises with its effectiveness and comfort. After more than a month of heavy use, on the road and in the mountains, it has not shown any signs of fragility and we would bet that we will continue to fear for its resistance for several years to come.
The chin straps are not adjustable at the ear loops, to save weight, and are anchored directly to the foam. But in our test we had no problem with this and they feel soft and comfortable.
Ventilation and lightness remain two winning values
It is literally the lightest helmet we have tested to date and if in other components this is not a decisive factor here we have found that it becomes addictive. The comfort offered by such a lightweight helmet means that it has automatically become our helmet of choice every time we've cycled for the last month.
Also, we've been lucky enough to have the POC Ventral Lite during some of the hottest weeks of this summer and it's on those days when a light, ventilated helmet is all you want on your head. This advantage may work against you in the winter but nothing that can't be solved with a cap under the helmet.
We have already said that the POC Venral Lite has become one of our favourite helmets since we got it, but we are also aware of the doubts that this helmet concept will continue to generate even after explaining our sensations with it.
Regarding the resistance of its fastening systems, we reiterate that although we have not tested it over a long period of time, we would bet that it will not give any problems and its comfort will not be affected by the passing of kilometres.
The safety issue is undeniable that would increase if it included the POC SPIN system, just look at how the Virginia Tech ranking gives 5 stars to the POC Octal SPIN and 4 to its version without SPIN. But even so, this model meets all the necessary safety standards.
POC Ventral Lite
- Optimised design and structure to save weight
- 0.5mm PC shell
- EPS foam
- Minimalist adjustment system with millimetric dial
- Sizes: S, M y L
- Colour: Grey
- Weight in size M: 199-200g
- Price: 270€
- Further information