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POC Ventral Lite helmet review

23 Dec 2021
Verdict:

Class-leading lightness makes it hard to tell you’re even wearing it

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£240
For 
Extremely lightweight • Copious vents • Easy adjustment • Classy solid colour design
Against 
Peculiar location of frontal straps • Doesn’t suit every head shape • Massive vents collect insect life • On the pricy side

Whatever your view on the wearing of helmets, the legal fact is doing so is not a requirement for cyclists. The POC Ventral Lite might just be the helmet to sway the argument for those of us for whom the biggest bugbear is that helmets are intrusive, heavy even.

POC claims that the Ventral Lite is ‘among the lightest helmets every produced’, and that it is ‘the helmet for every weight-obsessed cyclist who does all that is humanly possible to shave as many grams from their bike and kit as is possible’.

Well, it will certainly assist you in that quest for lightness, if that’s what you seek – the size M I’ve been wearing for the past month tips the digital kitchen scales at just 201g, which is achieved by redesigning the shell and adopting a lower density EPS liner.

But is its lack of bulk sufficient reason to part with a not insubstantial £240? 

POC Ventral Lite comfort and fit

Traditionally, I’ve always had an issue with finding a POC helmet that fits. This, I have no problem admitting, is largely a result of my long, thin head – the brand’s helmets tend to sit on top of my head rather than wrap cossettingly around it.

The POC Ventral Lite is no exception to that experience, I’m sorry to report, lending my head the appearance of some kind of grey mushroom. The wide outer shell extends far above the topmost extremeties of my skull (on the flipside, it does do less damage to my hairstyle).

Outer shell aside, I’m happy to report that the contact point with my head does fit according to size. My head is a classic ‘medium’ – 57cm in circumference – and is safely encapsulated by the size M Ventral Lite (which claims to suit heads from 54-59cm) with no pressure points at the temples or back of the skull – a complaint I’ve often had when wearing the same brand’s Octal helmet. 

Plug and play

One beauty of the POC Ventral Lite is that its straps are very easily and quickly adjusted in order to seat close to the head, with any slack ably restrained by a soft fabric sheath on the right-hand strap.

The ubiquitous plastic buckle secures the helmet under the chin, while the fit is dialled in (literally) by a central wheel adjuster at the rear.

The peculiarity of this setup, however, is that the front straps don’t extend vertically down the side of my face; their top mounting is positioned very far forward on the shell, meaning that the straps actually extend diagonally across my temples, to the point where they can actually be felt where the top of my cheekbones meet my lower eye socket.

The strap of every other helmet I’ve worn, in decades of cycling, has followed a vertical line along the route of my sideburns.  

Life’s a breeze

Let’s be clear, however; the POC Ventral Lite, once secured and on your on your way, is phenomenally light in use. And that’s its main pull. The 14 whopping vents and even bigger six exhaust ports funnel air through the shell with efficiency, delivering cool air whilst spiriting away the heat.

In late summer and early autumn, those large vents have proved very attractive to insect life, including one particularly dozy bee, which caused me to hurriedly pull up and race to get the helmet off my head.

With a skullcap or cycling cap beneath, later autumn and winter rides have been performed in comfort. And you may need extra headwear in order to keep those chills at bay. 

POC Ventral Lite: Worth its weight?

On balance, I’d suggest that the weight loss achieved by the POC Ventral Lite wouldn’t sway me to fork out an amount of money equivalent to the cost of a very decent winter jacket.

Yes, it really is as light as 201g sounds, and yes, it really is superbly vented. But, for me, there are a few too many niggles with fit and function to convince me otherwise.

Which is a shame, because POC products come with instant ‘cool’ included in the purchase price. My advice would be to visit a POC dealer and try one for yourself – if your head is spherical, you might be in luck…

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

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