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POC Octal Review

A well-ventilated, lightweight design missing a few modern features and comforts
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Price:  $200 List
Pros:  Incredibly lightweight, excellent ventilation, original style
Cons:  Limited comfort and adjustability, no MIPS liner
Manufacturer:   POC
By Nick Bruckbauer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 15
  • Comfort - 20% 4
  • Adjustability - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 9
  • Style - 15% 7
  • Ventilation - 20% 9
  • Durability - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The POC Octal is a well-built, extremely lightweight helmet with excellent ventilation that has a very distinct Swedish design. This lid provides solid crash protection with its thick EPS foam liner, but falls short of our top awards with lower rankings in our comfort and adjustability metrics with minimal padding and a simple and lightweight adjustment system. While there are other helmets out there with more creature comforts and better adjustability to fit a wider range of heads, riders looking for extreme ventilation in a lightweight package with a classic Swedish design will appreciate the Octal.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The POC Octal tops the charts in our weight and ventilation metrics with its simple lightweight design, but struggles a bit in the comfort and adjustability ratings, ultimately costing it a spot among our top award winners. With its unique aesthetic, the Octal stands out in the sea similar-looking products.

Performance Comparison


The Octal combines one of the lightest weights in our lineup with some impressive ventilation  but is missing out on a few modern comforts.
The Octal combines one of the lightest weights in our lineup with some impressive ventilation, but is missing out on a few modern comforts.

Comfort


The interior of the Octal has a very minimalist design, with a very thin and light headband adjustment system, and a few small and thin pieces of padding. This simple design places your head directly against the EPS foam liner, and unless your head is the exact shape of the helmet, this will potentially lead to uncomfortable pressure points. Most other helmets we reviewed have more generous padding and more expansive and adjustable headband systems to provide a more comfortable and versatile fit.

The thin padding and minimalist headband system can lead to some uncomfortable pressure points if your head doesn't fit the shape of the foam liner.
The thin padding and minimalist headband system can lead to some uncomfortable pressure points if your head doesn't fit the shape of the foam liner.

Adjustability


The Octal's adjustable headband system has a 56 to 62 cm size range in a size Large and provides about 2 cm of fore and aft adjustment. We found that our size Large fit much bigger than expected. While we were able to tighten down the headband for a comfortable fit, the helmet still felt big and bulky on our head. Also of note is that the chinstrap system is permanently affixed to the body of the helmet both in front and in back, and the Y-buckles do not have any adjustment. We found that this minimalist design could provide excellent lightweight performance for the right rider, but it lacks the adjustability to fit a very wide range of riders.

The minimalist headband system  fixed chinstraps  and fixed Y-buckles limit the adjustability of the Octal.
The minimalist headband system, fixed chinstraps, and fixed Y-buckles limit the adjustability of the Octal.

Weight


The Octal is among the lightest helmets in our lineup and on the market, weighing in at 281 grams in a size Large. While this is certainly a very impressive weight, keep in mind that this model does not include a built-in MIPS liner like most other competitors. When you consider the additional 20-30 grams that the MIPS liner would add, the weight of the Octal is right in line with the other lightweight helmets that we tested.

Style


Although style very much depends on personal tastes and preferences, we think that the Octal is a very nice looking helmet with its distinct Swedish design. POC is a Swedish company, and all of their helmets seem to stand out from the crowd with their unique profiles and aggressive ventilation designs. The Octal also has rubberized sunglass grips on the front vents and comes in a large assortment of modern, sleek color options.

By foregoing a MIPS liner  the POC Octal shaves of 20 or 30 grams and is one of the lightest helmets we tested.
The Octal has a distinct Swedish design with aggressive ventilation.
The Octal has a distinct Swedish design with aggressive ventilation.

Ventilation


The Octal provides some of the best ventilation of any helmet that we tested, and possibly any helmet on the market. Thanks to its aggressively designed 21 vents and the lack of an internal MIPS liner, there's really not much stopping the flow of air from directly reaching your head. While there are obvious tradeoffs for this level of ventilation, like the aforementioned lack of a MIPS liner and the minimalist headband and padding design, riders looking for the ultimate in cooling and breathability will appreciate the Octal.

The massive vents and lack of MIPS liner mean that massive airflow passes through the helmet.
The massive vents and lack of MIPS liner mean that massive airflow passes through the helmet.

Durability


This Octal has a very durable build, with a very thick EPS foam layer that is almost completely encased in a protective shell. It is one of the only models in our lineup where there is no exposed foam material around the brim of the helmet. While the helmet's structure is impressively built, the thin headband system and a weak anchor point for the fore/aft adjustment tabs prevent the Octal from obtaining our highest ranking in this metric.

Value


With solid performance and a slightly high-end price tag, the Octal provides great value to the rider looking for the ultimate in lightweight ventilation. Keep in mind that the comfort and adjustability features are refined as those on other models, but if you're able to live with this, the Ocatal will be a great choice. Other riders looking for more creature comforts and the ability to dial in a more customized fit will find a better value with other products.

The Octal would be a great choice for a rider looking for a minimalist design with excellent ventilation.
The Octal would be a great choice for a rider looking for a minimalist design with excellent ventilation.

Conclusion


The POC Octal provides an incredible level of ventilation in an extremely lightweight package with a classy Scandanavian design. While it sacrifices certain modern features and comforts found on most other helmets, it stands out for its minimalist design and distinct aesthetics.

Nick Bruckbauer