Recently, BikeRadar travelled to the Stockholm headquarters of Swedish accessories firm POC to check out an all-new road helmet, the Octal.
If there's one thing we wouldn't have guessed from looking at the lid it would be the weight – our pre-production sample tipped the scales at just 193g for a size medium.
POC's number one priority is safety, so when it came to the Octal they wanted to create the safest road helmet on the market. The helmet uses a unique unibody construction; similar to the exoskeleton of an insect, the design allows for crash performance and penetration qualities that exceed common standards, and gave POC the ability to use much larger vents and reduce weight.
As opposed to the popular multi-density foam setups favoured by other manufacturers, POC’s unibody polycarbonate built gives a stiff outer layer (which dual-density foams attempt to mimic), opening up the option of providing ultra-soft EPS foam throughout the rest of the helmet.
The reason for this choice is simple – company test results showed the ultra soft single-density foam to be dramatically more efficient at reducing the energy transmitted to a rider in a crash.
POC products usually look different to the norm, and the Octal is no exception. We’re not allowed to give too much away at this point, but let’s just say it’s an interesting mix of retro and modern styling.
Compared to its competition, the Octal includes noticeably more material around the temple area, found to be the contact point in the majority of cycling related falls. The helmet also sits lower on the head, protecting more of the cranium in the event of an impact.
In terms of ventilation, POC have opted for the 'quality rather than quantity' approach, including just 20 unusually large vents. Three intake channels are placed just in front of your forehead, while large rear outlets provide a ventailation exhaust port. The helmet has also been internally sculpted to allow air to flow in, up and over the head and out the back as quickly as possible.
The Octal uses a patented turnwheel retention system for easy single-handed adjustment. The cradle at the rear of the helmet also snaps into various positions to accommodate different head shapes.
An aero version of the helmet is also nearing release; known as the Octal Aero it will keep all the practical features of the Octal but lose some of the venting in favour of aerodynamics.
The Octal is set to retail at US$270/£TBC, with the aero version coming in at US$299/£TBC.
Stay tuned to BikeRadar for further details on the rest of POC’s road gear line.