The new Kortal Race MIPS is POC’s latest attempt to create the ultimate open-face helmet to meet the ever-increasing demands of trail and enduro riding.
It’s ebike certified, too, having passed the Dutch NTA 8776 standard, which requires lids to be subjected to higher impact speeds than in other tests.
Not only does it have a head-enveloping fit and good coverage around the back of the bonce, but POC has gone to town on additional safety features, too – as you’d expect, considering the lofty price tag.
Like many lids, the Kortal Race comes with a MIPS system to better protect your head from rotational impacts, but here it’s the new Integra version, which is a little different to the MIPS liner that’s more commonly used.
The Integra version is moulded into the EPS liner, rather than fixed on top of it, with the helmet’s padding sitting directly on top of that. This should, in theory, improve ventilation compared to standard MIPS.
The helmet also features a handy NFC ID chip, which can store all of your medical info (via a smartphone app) and emergency contact details, along with a RECCO reflector – a passive transponder that doesn’t require power or activation to work. This can help emergency services locate you if you crash.
Then there’s the aramid bridge, used to bolster the lid’s structural strength, and the breakaway peak with three height positions to choose from.
There’s no exposed EPS foam around the rim of the helmet, with the outer shell wrapping it completely to boost overall durability.
This should mean it can withstand rattling around in your kit bag or in the boot of your car without too much in the way of superficial damage – exposed EPS foam can easily get chipped and scratched, so covering it up makes a lot of sense, but does bump up the cost.
The Kortal Race also features what POC calls an “adjustable 360-degree fit”. This means the cradle encircles the entire circumference of your head, rather than just wrapping around a smaller portion of it and anchoring to two fixed points towards the front of the lid – helping to avoid any awkward pressure points when it’s cinched up enough to keep it secure.
There are three different vertical positions for the cradle to choose from and an indexed adjuster wheel to help get the fit just right.
POC Kortal Race MIPS performance
At 407g (medium) the Kortal Race isn’t the lightest lid out there, although you don’t notice this once riding, and it is a few grams lighter than Troy Lee Designs’ similarly-priced A3.
Getting the fit and positioning just right is easy thanks to the adjustable cradle and even after long stints in the saddle, I was pleased to have avoided any awkward pressure points, even with the helmet nice and tight on my head.
Thankfully, it doesn’t need to be tightened too heavily to prevent it from shifting around when riding over rough ground, which also helps boost comfort.
After back-to-back rides with the Troy Lee Designs A3, I’d say the Troy Lee lid has the edge when it comes to comfort, although venting is similar and some may prefer the (marginally) deeper fit the POC lid offers.
The POC helmet’s one-piece padding isn’t massively thick, but remains comfortable on long days in the saddle and does a decent job of absorbing sweat when you’re working hard.
The Kortal Race’s large vents do a good job of directing air in and over your head, too, to prevent overheating on really warm days.
POC Kortal Race MIPS bottom line
There’s no denying that the Kortal Race MIPS helmet is a lot of cash, but POC has certainly crammed as much safety tech in as possible, which is great to see.
Others may have the edge in terms of overall comfort, but the Kortal Race MIPS remains an easy helmet to wear on long rides and the peace of mind that the head-enveloping fit and all those safety features bring is more than welcome.
|Price||AUD $400.00EUR €250.00GBP £220.00USD $250.00|
|Features||Sizes: S (51-54), M (55-58), L (59-62)
Colours: Fluorescent Orange AVIP/Uranium Black Matt; Hydrogen White/Uranium Black Matt; Fluorite Green/Uranium Black Matt; Uranium Black Matt/Hydrogen White
|Helmet type||Mountain bike open face|