POC is long-known as the Volvo of bicycle safety, or at least that’s what I call them. When they switched from MIPS to SPIN, they turned a more than a few heads. And, with that change comes new helmets, like the downright airy Ventral Air SPIN helmet.

POC Ventral Air SPIN Helmet Features:

  • Lightweight helmet offering superior ventilation and protection
  • Innovative airflow design cools around the entire head
  • Helmet shape enhances aerodynamic profile and minimizes drag
  • Spin pads to reduce forces from an angled impact
  • Fully-wrapped unibody shell increases helmet safety & integrity
  • EPS foam liner offers low weight and advanced crash protection
  • Adjustable retention system on the rear dials in the fit
  • Eye garage provides secure storage for sunglasses mid-ride
  • Weight: 280 grams (Medium, actual)
  • MSRP: $250
POC Ventral Air SPIN Helmet Review

Huge vents tell the story here. This is the go-to lid for warm days.

Instant confidence (& cooling) with Ventral Air

In a back-to-back test of the POC Ventral Air SPIN versus the Bontrager Specter Wavecel, there’s no doubt just how breathable the Ventral Air is. As a bald dude, I can feel the difference and it’s like night and day. So, for starters, this helmet is aptly-named and performs as advertised. If your noggin gets burning hot, this is the perfect helmet for you.

Case-in-point. In my training for SBT GRVL, I’ve occasionally had to resort to riding in the heat of the day (not ideal). With temperatures approaching 100-degrees, helmet ventilation comes into play, big time. All that air flow is felt and appreciated on the hottest of days. Aiding that breathability are the minimalistic SPINĀ (Shearing Pad INside) pads that allow a close-to-noggin fit without anything getting in the way of that beautiful airflow. Notably, SPIN replaces MIPS in POC’s lineup and does so with a simpler solution.

POC Ventral Air SPIN Helmet Review

SPIN pads cover the front 2/3 of the Ventral Air.

The debate of MIPS vs. SPIN can go on for days and I can only touch the surface of it here. If you want all the details, do some Google searches and hop into a contentious debate, if you so choose. POC, like Kali Protectives, has gone the route of enhancing the performance of the pads themselves, instead of adding the MIPS rotational liner. SPIN pads are unique and feature an obviously “slippery” feel when you push them in any direction. That pad movement is meant to absorb all impacts while giving the helmet a superior feel.

It’s definitely interesting to compare the POC Ventral Air SPIN with the various MIPS helmets I’ve got in the garage. That said, I’m not pitching my MIPS helmets, but I can see how SPIN works and feel confident trusting the folks at POC on their word. I have one question though — why don’t the SPIN pads appear in the rear-third of the helmet? They only extend about two-thirds the way back inside the helmet. What about rear, rotational impacts? (I never received an official response from POC on that.)

POC Essential Road Lite Jersey and Bib Shorts Review

The POC Ventral Air SPIN goes nicely with their Essential Road Lite kit.

More on the fit. Honestly, the POC Ventral Air SPIN is the most comfortable helmet I have in the stable. It fits my noggin shape perfectly and feels secure and solid. The ratchet dial provides uniform snug-ness around my skull and can be adjusted with ease. Additionally, the straps stay flat against my face and I appreciate the fixed yoke to prevent me from inadvertently giving myself a sub-optimal strap fit. And, I’ve been able to wear a few different pairs of sunglasses without temple/helmet interference.

Those huge vents are indeed monstrous. All that airflow is amazing and instantly-cooling when needed, but mighty cold on frigid spring rides. I love the glasses storage with grippy material to keep your sunnies in place when not in use. However, they are set too narrow for most sunglasses I’ve tried — particularly the Smith Attack Max (which falls right out).

POC Ventral Air SPIN Helmet Review

A closer look at the vents from straight-on.

POC helmets have a tendency to sit lower on the skull than other helmets. This provides added protection around more of the skull, but it can get in the way when looking upwards in the most aerodynamic positions. Sometimes I do find that I have to strain my neck just a tad to properly see ahead while in the drops. I’ll add that while in the drops, sometimes the interior of the helmet feels as if something is touching my head. I have a shaved head, so I can sense the slightest of things. If you have hair, you’ll never notice it.

It goes without saying that POC has long been a safety leader and is often called “The Volvo of Bike Helmets.” Well, now Volvo and POC are collaborating on helmet/vehicle impacts as well as a wide array of bike safety initiatives. Chapeau to both companies for continuing to lead the charge.

The Good

  • Slightly sleeker than prior POC helmets
  • SPIN pads offer a close-to-noggin fit and feel
  • Straps sit flush against my face
  • Overall fit is fantastic
  • Ventilation is awesome on even the hottest of days

The Bad

  • Sunglasses storage doesn’t work for all types of shades
  • Why no SPIN pads in the rear of the helmet?

The Bottom Line: POC Ventral Air SPIN

The POC Ventral Air SPIN is one breezy helmet. Those huge vents are a big part of the story and they work awesome when temps rise. I love the secure feel of the Ventral Air and the comfortable fit. Yes, it’s a little larger-profile than other helmets, but it’s as streamlined as POC can go while still maintaining their high standards of safety.

Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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