Regarded as one of the most safety-conscious protection and accessory manufacturers out there, Swedish company POC’s reputation is well-deserved. Putting safety first has lead POC to develop feature-laden kit, and the Tectal Race SPIN NFC helmet is no exception,
Featuring NFC technology, POC touts the Race SPIN NFC as the lid that can “speak for you when you can’t”.
POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC details
The top-of-the-range Tectal is built with an EPS foam liner and in-mould unibody polycarbonate shell that POC claims has been strategically extended to protect more of the relatively fragile EPS liner from impacts and provide improved strength.
It also uses Aramid bridge technology to further enhance the helmet’s strength – an unbreakable weave that’s bonded with the EPS liner.
A Near Field Communication (NFC) chip that can be programmed to store medical information is installed underneath the shell on the top of the lid. The NFC chip is programmed using the twICEme app that’s available on the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
There’s an inbuilt RECCO Reflector, too. The radar reflector technology should aid rescue services wanting to locate someone wearing the device if they have a compatible scanner.
The system is most commonly used by mountain rescue teams locating people caught in avalanches, but has wider usage possibilities, which POC wants to take advantage of. In open air, the RECCO Reflector has a range of around 80 metres.
POC’s proprietary SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside) rotational force protection also features. Although it looks different to a MIPS system, it works in a similar way.
The peak is height adjustable but doesn’t have any pre-set positions, instead it’s secured in place using a screw on the front of the lid. The helmet’s retention cradle features an indexed thumbwheel adjuster and has three points of vertical adjustment.
There’s a goggle clip on the rear of the helmet and the vertical strap splitters are height adjustable. The strap is fastened using standard snap clips.
The POC Tectal Race SPIN helmet was awarded five stars out of five in Virginia Tech’s helmet safety impact tests, scoring 11.7 where a lower score offers better protection. The Tectal Race SPIN is identical to the Tectal Race SPIN NFC but doesn’t have NFC technology.
POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC helmet performance
The NFC chip was easy to set up using the twICEme app but the feature relies on the person rescuing you having the same app to read the data stored in the NFC chip. Until usage of the app is commonplace, a bit of paper or phone screensaver with your information might be a better and more robust way of communicating essential data to emergency services.
The latest Tectal lid fits deeply and securely, in the same way as the previous model. This means it doesn’t move around or bounce when riding over rough terrain and is even more secure when worn with goggles.
In fact, the Tectal’s fit is so deep and secure I found myself adjusting the retention cradle to its shallowest setting to stop it feeling too low on my brow. This is a nice problem to have, but it was reported by other people on the testing team, too.
Like all major purchases, especially ones that relate to personal safety, this demonstrates how important it is to try before you buy.
Once the helmet’s retention cradle was set correctly, it remained comfortable even on long, hot days in the saddle slogging up slow climbs, and was easy to adjust with one hand on the move. The chin strap is comfortable and easy to adjust on the move, too.
It also felt impressively light on my head, despite the plethora of features. The padding absorbed sweat well and remained comfortable and soft against my head once it was saturated. It also appeared to dry quickly once the excess moisture was squeezed out.
Although it’s not bad, once the pads were saturated with sweat, it did tend to drip down my brow, which got frustrating when it ran down the inside of my glasses.
I found the helmet really comfortable with a host of glasses from different brands and neither the glasses nor helmet needed adjusting once they were set. The lid worked best with POC’s Crave glasses, of course.
It was also comfortable with large framed goggles, but only when it was in the shallowest cradle position. Given the deep fitting nature of the Tectal, this wasn’t a surprise. The peak didn’t move up far enough to store goggles on the front of the lid, though.
I wasn’t convinced about the functionality benefits of the goggle strap holder on the rear, given I needed to turn the goggles through 180 degrees to carry them or remove them from the lid completely when they weren’t being worn.
POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC helmet bottom line
The Tectal’s an impressive bit of high-tech kit that scores well in independent safety tests and is comfortable to wear even on all-day epics.
That’s a good job too, considering how much it costs. If you’ve got a big budget and are looking for a no-holds barred lid, look no further.
|Price||EUR €250.00GBP £220.00USD $250.00|
|Weight||379g (M-L) – as tested|
|Features||Sizes: XS-S, M-L, XL/XXL
Features: SPIN, NFC medical ID tag, RECCO reflector, goggle clip, adjustable visor
Colours: Hydrogen White/Fluorescent Orange AVIP
|Helmet type||Mountain bike open face|