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by Dave Rome
January 14, 2019
Photography by David Rome
Want some of the aero benefits and narrower form of the Ventral with the wide open ventilation of the Octal? Launched in the hot sun of the Santos Tour Down Under, the POC Ventral Air aims to do just this and more. And yes, it replaces the Octal as the Swedish company’s most breezy road helmet.
Daylight through the vents.
The new Ventral Air is influenced by both the Octal and the newer Ventral aero helmet. According to POC, the new lid offers “precise ventilation ports and internal channels to control the air intake and release at both high and low speeds.” The result is improved ventilation and reduced drag (compared to the Octal).
POC has always been safety-first in its messaging, and the Ventral Air continues this with its uni-body shell, EPS liner and SPIN (Shearing Pad INside) rotational forces dispersion system (similar in theory to what MIPS aims to do, but different in execution). Given the existing Octal scored a four out of five in Virginia Tech’s independent helmet testing, and POC alludes to this being safer again, we can only assume it’s good.
As for weight, a medium Ventral Air is claimed to be 230g for a CE-approved version, and 270g in CPSC and AS/NZS. I personally weighed a pre-production sample CE-model at 229g. This puts the Ventral Air above some other flyweight helmets such as the Kask Valegro, but it’s highly likely the extra mass from the greater rear coverage and SPIN technology will carry benefit if you were to hit your head.
The Ventral Air offers a narrower form, as modelled by Lachlan Morton.
There’s one other aspect which should please many. Where the Octal can often leave riders looking like a character from Super Mario, the Ventral Air and its slimmer profile (4%, to be exact) should be just a touch less polarising. And as added benefit, it’s available in a wide choice of matte and gloss colours.
It also features an adjustment system and strap design previously seen with the Ventral Air, while a new eye garage is provided for storage of eyewear.
So how does the Ventral Air compare? According to a representative from POC, the company’s use of computer simulations (no wind tunnel testing for this model) provides specific numbers.
“Of course, it depends on speed, angle etc but our results show that at 35 to 40 km/h the Ventral Air is comparable to the Ventral in terms of reduced drag, after 40km/h the Ventral starts to track away, as you would expect for an aero helmet as it has improved aerodynamic performance due to enhanced airflow control thanks to the internal channels, Venturi effect and exterior trailing edge.”
“The Octal is known as a very cool and well-ventilated helmet, especially lower speeds. Compared to the Octal, and in the range 35 to 40 km/h the Ventral Air is 6% cooler, which if you have ever ridden in an Octal, is very significant,” says a representative from POC.
The Ventral Air is expected to hit stores around the world in March (yes, even in Australia!), with pricing set at US$250 / AU$400 (subject to change). We’ll be reviewing this helmet in near time.
A look inside reveals clear channels for the helmet vents to do their thing.
Large rear vents are fast becoming a must-have for creating a well-ventilated helmet. And the rear vents on the Ventral Air are HUGE.
Aesthetically it looks somewhat like an Octal up front and Ventral at back.
One last angle.