POC, the Swedish brand known for placing a premium on protection, has a road (Octal) and time trial (Cerebel) helmet in their lineup. Now they have an aero road helmet, the Ventral, which splits the difference. The POC Ventral SPIN is for triathletes looking for a fast aero helmet, while not sacrificing ventilation or safety. Developed at POC’s laboratories and on the road by the Education First – Drapac pro cycling team, the Ventral SPIN is claimed to be POC’s fastest and safest helmet to date.
Without access to a wind tunnel, aero claims for equipment are always hard to evaluate on the road. Especially when it comes to helmets, which are highly variable depending on one’s head and riding position. But the Ventral is notably lower profile, with fewer disrupting vents, compared to more conventional road helmets such as POC’s own Octal. All signs that it should deliver lower drag and better aero performance. When heading north of the city and into the countryside, I noticed something unusual. I heard and felt less wind noise around my ears compared to my previous helmet. Another sign that the Ventral is less disturbing of air, helping me cut through the wind a little more easily. The Ventral SPIN has vents placed on the frontal surface of the helmet, working in concert with channels within, directing air through the helmet and not around. By directing the air through the helmet, the ‘usual’ turbulence felt is minimized.
Here in Toronto, summer has finally arrived and the temperatures have been on the rise. Already this summer we have had numerous days with temperatures well into the high 20s, giving me a good taste of the ventilation on offer with the Ventral SPIN. On these days, I have been thankful for the ventilation provided by this helmet. There is no other worst feeling than going out for an afternoon summers ride and being drenched in sweat, not 20 kilometres in. This has been my experience in the past with other aero helmets. But, riding with the Ventral SPIN this past month I have been really impressed with the ventilation offered by this helmet.
The experience held while I was racing at the Milton Triathlon earlier this month. Climbing up Sixth Line hill, I could feel the cooling effect of the vents. Then on the way back down Sixth Line hill, I can feel the wind ripped through my hair, keeping me cool as I entered transition.
Of course, the real purpose of a helmet is for safety and not just for aerodynamics, thankfully, I didn’t go test the safety features of the helmet in a crash. As one of the first brands to adopt MIPS, the now prevalent technology in many helmets designed to lessen the chance of concussions, POC has been one of the stronger proponents of safety. However, with the Ventral, POC has switched to SPIN, a new proprietary technology developed in-house, aimed at minimizing the likelihood of concussions. SPIN stands for Shearing Pads INside and is intended to resist a variety of impacts to your head, all of which may be experienced in a crash.
The Ventral SPIN, also has some really cool features, features any triathlete would appreciate and which shows POC really sweated the details. Like the POC Octal, the Ventral SPIN has a built-in sunglasses garage. For me, this is probably one of the coolest features of the POC helmet. To be honest, it was one of the first things I noticed about the Ventral. As I held the helmet in my hands, I immediately noticed these grips on the inside of the vents and thought, “No way, that’s so cool.” I have always had the issue with past helmets of glasses falling out without warning. However, with the Ventral, I am 100 percent confident that whether I’m hammering home on my commute or running out of the transition zone, my glasses will stay put.
In comparison to POC’s Octal, the Ventral is much more compact and aesthetically pleasing, not always a side benefit of the pursuit for aero gains. For me the helmet’s fit is just right, without any pinching or pressure points, just a snug comfortable fit. Bonus points for a minimal gap between the helmet and the top of my sunglasses. No more ‘Gordie’s gap’ on ride photos anymore.
Besides the helmet’s general features, it also comes in a variety of colours to match your kit. The helmet is offered in Uranium black raceday, Uranium black Matt, Hydrogen white raceday, Hydrogen white Matt, Zink Orange AVIP, Oxalance grey Matt, and Stibium blue Matt.
Weight: 280 grams