The POC Octal was one of POC’s first road cycling helmets introduced to the market. Since its introduction, the helmet has won a number of awards and been praised for its unique styling and design. With POC having recently added a new color scheme to the Octal, and having recently reviewed the Ventral helmet variations, we thought it would be a good time to review the POC Octal helmet. To optimize the safety of the helmet, it features a variable EPS density foam that keeps the helmet light while providing protection at critical locations. It’s also highly ventilated with large rectangular openings and internal air channels. For improved visibility, the helmet is offered in a variety of bright and unique color schemes with reflective elements on the rear and top of the helmet. At $200, the Octal is more affordable than the Ventral variations but lacks the SPIN technology.
The POC Octal cycling helmet combines minimalist styling with optimized ventilation and unique color schemes.
|Measured weight (in g)||252 (size M)|
|Likes|| + Sleek styling|
+ Optimized air channels for great ventilation
+ Super light that you’ll forget you are wearing it
|Dislikes||– Premium price|
– Thin liner pads
– Lacks secondary safety features such as SPIN
– May look large on small heads
|Where to Buy (US)||POC|
The Octal helmet comes in a sleek white cardboard box with minimal graphics. In the box you’ll find:
- Octal helmet
- Fabric storage bag
- Instruction manual and tags attached to helmet
FIT & FINISH
Rather than the overstyled and aggressive vent design some helmets have, the POC Octal visually stands out with its simple large rectangular vent design. The large vents extend from the front of the helmet all the way to the back with sleek sculpting connecting them together. As with other POC helmets, the Octal is offered in a number of unique matte and gloss color schemes that set the helmet apart like the new Kalkopyrit Blue Matte that we have for this review which looks similar to sky blue in person. Particularly paired with matching POC sunglasses like the AIM in the same color, it’s a great looking combination. Speaking of sunglasses, the attached grippy pads on the front outer vents serve as a secure way to store sunglasses when not in use.
Attention to detail is what sets POC products apart like the full wrapped shell construction and black accent colors of the Octal. The aggressive rear vent design also features a white surround that matches the minimal POC logos on the helmet. You’ll also find reflective elements on the rear and top of the helmet. These are simple decals but help with nighttime visibility and is a feature we wish was incorporated into more cycling helmets. Although it’s not as aggressive as other helmets such as the Smith Trace, it has a distinctive and subtle design.
The interior of the Octal helmet is wide and open with exposed interior air channels and foam. Without SPIN pads or a MIPS liner, only the head cradle and foam pads separate you from the inside of the helmet. Even the helmet straps are routed through the helmet shell itself leaving the interior of the helmet clutter free. Simple foam pads are attached with velcro which allows them to be easily removed for washing. Compared to the thicker SPIN pads or padding found in other premium helmets, we found the Octal’s padding to be fairly thin and slightly uncomfortable. Otherwise, the helmet feels secure and is easy to dial in with the dual direction head cradle and lightweight adjustable straps.
OCTAL vs. VENTRAL
Compared to the POC Ventral SPIN and POC Ventral Air SPIN NFC helmets the Octal has the same distinctive and minimalist design elements that tie the helmets together. Where the Octal helmet is a bit wider and more dome-like, the Ventral SPIN and Ventral Air SPIN NFC have a more narrow profile and aerodynamic profile. Otherwise, the helmets have similar comfort and premium details such as the wrap-around shell and comfortable fit systems. The POC Ventral Air SPIN and the NFC variation are claimed to be more ventilated than the Octal, but we’ve found both helmets are equally well suited for warm weather riding.
Overall, we found the POC Octal to be a sleek and well ventilated road cycling helmet. Rather than using aggressive vent designs, the Octal has large rectangular openings that route air through the helmet using internal air channels. Although the helmet lacks secondary safety features such as SPIN or MIPS that are common at this price point, the variable density foam construction feels secure. We’re particularly impressed with the available colors such as the Kalkopyrit Blue Matte that pairs well with POC sunglasses. While the Octal is a bit wider and more dome-like than other helmets, we found the helmet looked good. While the Octal may not feature as much technology as the POC Ventral helmets, the lower cost and lightweight make it a great warm weather road cycling helmet.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by POC. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.