POC Tectal Race MIPS Review
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POC Tectal Race MIPS
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|Pros||Well ventilated, lightweight, great coverage, MIPS Integra, comfortable||Amazing ventilation, comfortable, dual-shell protection, good head coverage, feature-packed||Lots of safety certifications, enhanced protective features, well ventilated, deep fit with lots of coverage||Lightweight, comfortable, affordable||Very affordable, great coverage, stylish, comfortable, MIPS|
|Cons||Expensive, visor is less user friendly than the competition||Average weight, expensive||Expensive, moderate weight, visor design doesn't block low sun angles that well, helmet shell may conflict with some sunglass arms||Less coverage than some other models, small visor, average ventilation||Fixed visor, warm, visor doesn't detach|
|Bottom Line||This model offers great protection, comfort, and ventilation in a lightweight package, making it one of our favorites||An incredibly airy and well-designed helmet that lives up to its high price tag||POC continues to push the envelope of protection and safety with this new fully-featured, high coverage half-shell||A versatile trail helmet that will stand up to all-day adventures and won't cost you an arm and a leg||An affordable helmet with high-end styling and coverage|
|Rating Categories||POC Tectal Race MIPS||Giro Manifest Spher...||POC Kortal Race MIPS||Giro Radix MIPS||Specialized Camber|
|Specs||POC Tectal Race MIPS||Giro Manifest Spher...||POC Kortal Race MIPS||Giro Radix MIPS||Specialized Camber|
|Rotational Impact Protection System?||SPIN||MIPS Spherical||MIPS Integra||MIPS||MIPS|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||12.87 oz, 365g||14.1 oz, 401g||14.14 oz, 401g||12.6 oz, 360g||13.8 oz, 394g|
|Number of vents||15||19||17||25||13|
|Goggle or Sunglasses Integration?||Yes, Goggle Clip||Integrated eyewear grippers||Yes||No||No|
|Sizes||XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL||S, M, L||XS/SM, M/L L/XL||S, M, L, XL||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Certifications||CPSC, CE EN1078||CPSC Bicycle for ages 5+, CE EN1078||CPSC Bicycle for ages 5+, EN1078, Dutch NTA 8776 e-bike, AS/NZS 2063||CPSC, CE EN1078||CPSC|
|Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating (if applicable)||5-star||5-star||5-star|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Tectal Race MIPS is one of POC's high-end half-shell mountain bike helmets with good coverage and protection, a high level of comfort, good adjustments and features, and performance that make it one of our highest-rated models. In this case, top-of-the-line protection comes at a top-of-the-line price. The Tectal is among the most expensive helmets in our test. But you can't put a price on safety. With high scores across the board in our rating metrics, the Tectal outclassed most of the competition. Read on to find out more about this excellent helmet.
The Tectal Race MIPS is among the most protective helmets in our test for a number of reasons. First, it offers some of the best coverage of all the models we tested, with a shell that is designed to cover more of the temples and back of the head. The coverage is roughly equal to that of the Specialized Ambush, and it is clearly visible as the shell dips lower on the temples and wraps around the back of the cranium, though the Tectal fits closer to the head. Despite the increase in coverage, the Tectal's design and shape remains comfortable.
POC has also added Aramid, a strong woven fiber similar to kevlar, in bridges that are molded to the outside of the EPS foam liner for added structural integrity. The EPS liner is wrapped in a sturdy polycarbonate shell that POC calls a unibody construction, but it is actually three pieces with clean seams and a perfect fit around the EPS foam.
POC also incorporated a rotational impact protection system, known as MIPS Integra, into the Tectal Race MIPS helmet. It looks strikingly similar to the SPIN system previously used, but there is now a yellow MIPS slip-plane built into the foam of the helmet where the pads attach. One of the unique aspects of MIPS Integra, versus the other systems, is that it adds no weight or thickness to the lining of the helmet since the technology is integrated into the pads, nor does it block any vents. The pads also do double duty, absorbing a small amount of linear impact while also helping to deflect rotational impact. The new MIPS SL system in the Specialized Ambush with ANGi looks quite similar to us.
A Recco reflector isn't something you usually see on a mountain bike helmet, it's commonly used in skiing products for avalanche recovery, but POC has put one on the Tectal. This feature could help in a search and rescue situation.
Comfort is another one of the Tectal Race MIPS's strong suits, and it gets high honors in this rating metric. As a rule, comfort is somewhat subjective and may vary based on several factors, most notably the shape of your head. That said, our testers found the Tectal to be one of the most comfortable helmets in our test selection. It is offered in three sizes, XS/SM, M/L, and XL/XXL so there should be a size suitable for most people's heads.
Several factors made the Tectal a favorite for comfort including the straps, size adjustment, the shape of the helmet, and ventilation. Overall, we found the fit of the Tectal to be good, although possibly a bit on the narrower side compared to other models in this test. Its fit has a relatively average length and depth, and it comes down low on the sides and back of the head.
The fit adjustment system has a large dial at the back of the head. It tightens and loosens the cradle on the occipital lobe by pulling tension evenly from both sides for a snug and secure fit. This helmet also has one of the best strap designs we've seen with a strap splitter yoke by the ears that hold the straps flat and prevents them from making any ear contact. The chin strap has a standard plastic buckle and plenty of adjustment to suit most riders' needs.
Inside the helmet, the MIPS Integra system is integrated into the padding. The padding extends across the brow from temple to temple with four fingers that extend towards the back of the helmet between the front vents and air channels. The padding is thin but quite comfortable, and the integrated MIPS system gives them a unique feel. It feels like there is a gel or soft rubber inside that not only cushions but also has lots of side-to-side give. It's this unique material and design that allows these pads to provide rotational impact protection without an additional liner in the helmet.
We have heard that the Tectal's additional temple coverage may conflict with some sunglass arms. We didn't experience this issue while wearing Smith glasses during testing.
The Tectal has 16 vents and provides some of the best ventilation in our test selection. We ranked it near the top, with several other models in this metric for its excellent airflow. Nine large vents on the front of the helmet, a design borrowed from the POC Octal road bike helmet, help keep the air moving on your forehead. Three vents on the top and five on the back of the head allow the air to exhaust and your head to breathe. Deep air channels on the inside of the helmet draw the air from front to back and help keep air circulating.
The Tectal was bested in this metric by the Manifest Spherical and the 100% Altec. The Specialized Ambush has 20 vents and an excellent internal air channel system that draws air through the helmet and out the massive exhaust vents at the back. The Smith Session and Troy Lee A2 are right about even with the Tectal for ventilation, and the helmets mentioned here vent better than the rest of the field.
The Tectal Race MIPS is packed with useful features that help make this one of the best overall helmets in our test. Many of these features have been mentioned previously, specifically those having to do with protection and comfort, in the sections above. Of course, the helmet features MIPS Integra, loads of coverage, quality construction, and aramid bridges to enhance its protection. On the comfort side, it has MIPS integrated padding, a quality fit adjustment system, and a great strap design that holds the helmet comfortably and securely in place.
The visor is adjustable for goggle compatibility. A small screw in the center of the visor holds it in place. You need to loosen it before adjusting the visor. This screw is relatively small and can be a little challenging to tighten and loosen with the helmet on your head, and we found it easier to adjust the visor by taking the helmet off. When in the up position, you can rest a set of goggles under the visor and secure them in the back with the "goggle clip." The visor doesn't flip up as high as many of the other models in this review, but it adjusts just high enough to stow goggles there when not in use.
We prefer helmets with more easily adjustable visor designs, like the Smith Forefront 2, but the visor on the Tectal works well once you're used to it. It's just a little more time-consuming.
Weighing in at 365-grams or 12.87 ounces in the size Medium/Large we tested, the Tectal Race MIPS is competitively lightweight. It weighs just 15 grams more than the Specialized Ambush. That difference in weight is virtually unnoticeable, but in mountain biking lighter is typically considered better. In contrast to the Tectal's lightweight, the Oakley DRT5 weighs in at 476 grams, 111 grams heavier.
What is truly impressive is how light this helmet is considering the additional coverage of the shell and the addition of features like MIPS Integra, a Recco reflector, and goggle clip. POC claims their Aramid reinforced EPS foam liner and unibody shell construction help keep the weight of the helmet down, and we won't disagree.
We've been riding in this helmet for months, and so far we have no complaints about its durability. Overall, the quality of craftsmanship appears to be top-notch, and the outer shell and EPS foam liner are still in like-new condition. The outer shell covers the majority of the EPS foam on the helmet, which helps protect it from being damaged while riding or during transport. The straps, size adjustment, visor, and MIPS liner pads still appear in excellent condition, other than the inevitable sweat stains.
Now, we haven't crashed in this helmet, and as lovely as it would be to have some real-world crash experience to report, we aren't going out of our way to crash and find out. Considering the excellent coverage, protective features, and apparent quality of the Tectal, we believe that it would protect you well in the event of a crash. Note: as with any helmet, you must replace it after one crash. The foam liner typically breaks to allow the helmets to dissipate impact forces. The cracks may not be visible.
The Tectal Race MIPS is one of the most expensive helmets in our test selection, but we feel that this is still a solid value considering the excellent performance that it provides. If there is one item of protective gear that is worth splurging on, we think it's a quality helmet, and the Tectal is worth every penny.
It comes with a hefty price tag, but we feel the Tectal Race is one of the best mountain bike helmets on the market and one of the best we've ever tested. The combination of great coverage and MIPS Integra make this helmet very protective, which is the whole point of wearing a helmet in the first place. The great fit, lightweight, adjustability, versatility, and ventilation make it the total package.
Other Version and Accessories
POC makes a full line of protective gear for cycling including helmets, pads, eyewear, and apparel.
- The Tectal retails for $180 and has the same design and most of the features of the Race MIPS model, minus the goggle clip and MIPS technology.
- The Tectal Race MIPS NFC goes for $240 and has all of the features of the Race MIPS, with the addition of an integrated NFC Medical ID chip. This medical ID chip can be scanned by first responders so they can instantly read your vital medical information.
- The Tectal Race Visor is offered as an aftermarket purchase as a replacement part for your Tectal Race helmet. It comes in white or black and retails for $15.
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