POC Ventral Air Spin Helmet Review
Distinctive looking helmet with a great balance between aerodynamics, ventilation, lightweight and comfort. An all-rounder with the highest safety standards from Swedish brand POC.
- Top of the range safety standards
- Great ventilation and aerodynamics
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Distinctive and modern aesthetics
- Sunglasses don’t hold on to the vents
- High price tag
- Simple fabric straps
User Review( votes)
- Materials: EPS foam liner, unibody PC shell, silicone pads
- Weight: 235 g in size M
Swedish brands are worldwide renowned for their focus on safety and POC is another fine example of that. In 2014, POC revolutionized road bicycle helmet design with the release of the Octal, a helmet that looked like no other on those days.
Featuring fewer and bigger ventilation openings and a very sleek design, the Octal quickly became an icon used by both racers and casual cyclists.
In 2017 they released the Ventral Air, an evolution of the Octal model with improved airflow for better cooling and aerodynamics. This is the top of the range performance road helmet that POC currently offers.
At a retail price of $250, it isn’t the cheapest helmet out there but it’s certainly a great investment in safety without compromising in style and performance.
Let’s take a detailed look at each of the POC Ventral Air Spin features.
Fit And Adjustment System
In general, the Ventral Air is a helmet that tends to look “bulky” on the head compared to other brands and models. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it speaks of the emphasis that POC puts on safety above all. I own a size M (54-59 cm) and it fits adequately, with more play on the sides than on the front and back.
The main adjustment system consists of a series of light plastic straps around the inner perimeter of the helmet that runs from the front towards the occipital area, where a round dial allows you to tighten the fit in small increments. I found it particularly efficient to achieve a snug fit in a matter of seconds.
The 2 fabric retention straps are anchored to the helmet EPS foam liner to increase safety and they can be easily adjusted to achieve the best fit. Although they perform great and never get tangled, I found that the quality is somehow simple compared to other brands’ cheaper models that have more fancy leather-ish straps (see Kask).
Shape And Construction
As mentioned, the focus of every POC helmet is on safety, and that is also the case with the Ventral. The shape of this helmet has a relatively low profile which offers great coverage of the sides and especially the back of the head, an area that is prone to crash impacts.
The most striking feature of its shape has to be the huge rectangular vents that are said to improve not only the cooling but the aerodynamics at both low and high speeds.
It also features what POC calls “unibody shell construction”, where the plastic hard shell wraps around the EPS liner all the way to the edges of the helmet. This allows for structural optimization of the helmet and the ideal balance between lightweight and crash protection. It also protects the foam from scratches and dents derived from daily use, keeping the Ventral in better condition for a longer time.
Visually striking designs is also a trademark of POC’s products. In 2021, the Ventral comes in 13 different colourways as exotic and original as the “Fluorite Green Matt” or the “Moonstone Grey Matt”. A wide range of options to match with kits and bikes!
The recommended life span of a bicycle helmet is 3-4 years provided that you don’t crash before then. The quality of the Ventral Spin suggests that it won’t have any major problem reaching that age, mostly thanks to the hard shell protecting most of the EPS liner.
The area where I saw more damage after a couple of years is the inner padding, which started to open up. Luckily that can be fixed with a bit of superglue, and most importantly it doesn’t affect the helmet safety performance.
On The Road
Out on the road, the Ventral feels just right. The retention system has been so cleverly engineered to the point that the straps never get tangled. They go where they should every time you put on the helmet.
235 grams sounds really light for a semi-aero helmet but it also feels ridiculously light. I wonder why some riders still nowadays choose to ride without a helmet when wearing something like the Ventral feels practically like wearing nothing (with a massive increase in safety).
Part of this feeling must be credited to the superb ventilation of the helmet. I often ride in extremely hot and humid conditions (+35 Celsius), which I can cope with thanks to the cooling ability of the Ventral. Full disclosure, I picked the helmet in white color which also helps avoid overheating.
I’m no engineer to comment on the claimed aero benefits of the Ventral, but I can say that I’ve never experienced hissing sounds at high speeds and that has to be a consequence of the aerodynamically optimized profile of the helmet.
My only complaint about the POC Ventral is precisely about the shape of the outer shell vents. It seems that what they call the “bike garage” system to attach sunglasses to the front vents must be optimized to work only with POC models. I’ve tried with Oakleys and 100%s and I just can’t get them to stay there.
Swedish brand POC’s bicycle helmets might be the pinnacle in safety nowadays, and that doesn’t mean to settle for a dull-looking and heavy lid. Far from that, the POC Ventral Air Spin is an aerodynamic and lightweight road helmet with a striking look that will keep you protected in style.
It’s a good idea to try it first at your local retailer, its peculiar shape might not be a great fit for every head.
Road cyclist, adventure traveler and graphic designer based in South East Asia, and working for international brands such as SpiceRoads Cycling and The Pedla.