The POC Cortex Flow is one of the most recognizable full-face downhill mountain bike helmets on the market. POC's solid colors, bulbous designs, and large white logos make them one of the most recognizable brands in the cycling industry. This helmet is the best ventilated full-face helmet we know of and is also one of the lightest, which makes it a good choice for enduro racers looking for a little more coverage than a half-shell helmet. Unfortunately this good looking helmet is not up to the same standard as other helmets we tested, and we can't recommend it for full-on downhilling.
One unique feature of the Cortex is that it uses expanded polypropylene foam as its liner rather than the standard polystyrene foam used in most cycling helmets. Expanded polypropylene foam is also used in the unique Petzl Sirocco climbing helmet, which we tested earlier this year. POC claims that this makes the Cortex a multi-impact helmet rather than a single impact lid. This might be a plus for safety oriented riders who have questioned wether a helmet should be replaced after a moderate crash that didn't obviously destroy the helmet. Crashing is common in downhilling, and let's be honest, nobody is going to replace their helmet after every time it touches the dirt. We did get a chance to test this helmet in a real life crash, and yes, we did keep using it afterwards despite the chipped paint and scuff to the fiberglass shell. We felt that it would continue to protect our brain should the big one happen down the trail.
The Cortex is available in at least ten different colorways, so finding one that matches your kit or your bike should be pretty easy. However, it is only available in three sizes, so getting a perfect fit may not be as easy as with other full-face helmets which are available in as many as six sizes like the Bell Transfer-9.