Reviews You Can Rely On

POC Octal Aero Review

A high price and questionable design make this one of our lower scoring aero models
poc octal aero road bike helmet review
POC Octal Aero
Credit: POC
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Price:  $250 List
Manufacturer:   POC
By Nick Bruckbauer & Curtis Smith  ⋅  Oct 2, 2019
  • Comfort - 20% 5.0
  • Adjustability - 15% 5.0
  • Weight - 15% 7.0
  • Style - 15% 7.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 4.0
  • Durability - 15% 6.0

Our Verdict

This particular version of the Octal is no longer in production.
Poor ventilation
POC is a Swedish company with a full line of road and mountain bike helmets. The Octal Aero is a full aerodynamic road bike model designed to cheat the wind. Manufacturers take many approaches in the development of their aero helmets, from a new ground-up design to modifications of existing helmets. POC takes the latter route with this particular model, which is essentially a modified version of their traditional POC Octal with a polycarbonate shell permanently attached over the top. With poor ventilation and an awkward shape, the Octal Aero does not score particularly high in our ratings. The Octal Aero is best-suited for race only use, as it is too hot for training and lacks durability and comfort for everyday use.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison

poc octal aero road bike helmet review - side profile of the poc octal aero.
Side profile of the POC Octal Aero.
Credit: Curtis Smith


The interior padding on the Octal Aero is very thin, and the adjustable headband system tends to create pressure points, leading to below-average scores in our comfort ratings. The chinstrap system is a high point in this design, with straps that are made from very thin, soft webbing that is comfortable against the face. If you are looking for a more comfortable and lighter weight aero model, we suggest you try the Bontrager Ballista.

poc octal aero road bike helmet review - the thin pads on the poc octal aero are not comfortable.
The thin pads on the POC Octal Aero are not comfortable.
Credit: Curtis Smith


The Octal Aero has a very thin and flimsy headband adjustment system that we found to be prone to kink, earning it low scores in the adjustability metric. The fore and aft adjustment system provides approximately 2.5cm of adjustment, but the plastic spars that hold the adjustment in place are also very flimsy. The adjustment dial on the back of the helmet worked without issues during testing, but due to its flimsy nature, we are skeptical about its long term performance.

poc octal aero road bike helmet review - the retention band on the poc octal aero is amongst the flimsiest we...
The retention band on the POC Octal Aero is amongst the flimsiest we tested.
Credit: Curtis Smith

The Octal Aero has fixed webbing strap attachment points that limit adjustability. The Y-buckles are adjustable, but adjustments are challenging to make compared to other designs we tested, such as the buckles found on the Giro Synthe.

poc octal aero road bike helmet review - the fore and aft adjustment mechanism on the poc octal aero.
The fore and aft adjustment mechanism on the POC Octal Aero.
Credit: Curtis Smith


The Octal Aero weighs in at 287 g in a size Medium. It is heavier than the Bontrager Ballista. Overall, the weight is not impressive when compared to similar helmets that do not have integrated eyewear such as the Bontrager Ballista.


The Octal Aero is ranked as our least favorite aero model, with a very rounded egg-shaped profile. We do not care for the modified design approach of gluing a polycarbonate shell to their existing Octal Aero helmet. As a consumer, you have to wonder if they have built the best aero helmet that they can, or if this design is just a stopgap to fill a hole in their lineup.

poc octal aero road bike helmet review - the poc octal aero has a very round, egg-like profile.
The POC Octal Aero has a very round, egg-like profile.
Credit: Curtis Smith


The Octal Aero is one of the worst-performing aero helmets we tested in terms of ventilation. There is only one vent on the front of the helmet, with a total of only seven vents. Most of the vents are on the rear of the helmet. Our testers found this model to be stiflingly hot, particularly on long, slow climbs. For comparison, the Bontrager Ballista is quite well ventilated, considering its similar aerodynamic intentions.

poc octal aero road bike helmet review - six of the seven vents on the poc octal aero are located on the back...
Six of the seven vents on the POC Octal Aero are located on the back of the helmet. The vent combination does not provide good ventilation.
Credit: Curtis Smith


We like that the Octal Aero has a full wrap polycarbonate shell that protects the base of the helmet. What we don't like is the glued-on polycarbonate outer shell on top of the helmet. It feels flimsy and can be pushed in with light finger pressure on areas where it does not make contact with the EPS foam. The seam between the existing helmet's skeleton and the outer shell is not tight, particularly at the front of the helmet. When compared to the solid one-piece design of the Bontrager Ballista, this product leaves much to be desired.


The Octal Aero is expensive. With a $250 list price, it is much more expensive than other higher-performing aero helmets in our lineup. Given its limited performance and high price tag, we do not feel that this model represents a good value for most riders.


The Octal Aero is an expensive aero helmet that falls far short of the competition in performance and value.

Nick Bruckbauer & Curtis Smith
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