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POC Ventral Air MIPS Review

This uniquely designed helmet offers excellent airflow and performance that warrant its high cost
POC Ventral Air MIPS
Credit: POC
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $260 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Ventilates well, comfortable, unique style, sunglass garage
Cons:  Expensive
Manufacturer:   POC
By Ryan Baker ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 8, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 16
  • Comfort - 20% 8.0
  • Adjustability - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 8.0
  • Style - 15% 7.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 9.0
  • Durability - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

The POC Ventral Air MIPS lands on the awards podium with a Top Pick Award, earning very high marks in every category. This prize contender should be highly considered by any rider looking to cool their head on a hot day and those tired of neck strain from lowering performing competitors. Our testers were wowed by its unique design but it may not be the style for everyone. The big recessed air channels reduce noise and move air efficiently keeping our heads dry even during record heat in the summer sun.

Product Name Change
When we tested this product, it was named the Ventral Air SPIN. It has since been renamed the Ventral Air MIPS since POC and MIPS have teamed up and changed the name of the slip plane liner technology within the helmet. The helmet design and performance remain the same as the model we tested.
June 2022

Compare to Similar Products

 
POC Ventral Air MIPS
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$225 List
$225.00 at REI
$139.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$240 List
$215.95 at Amazon
$99.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 4 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Ventilates well, comfortable, unique style, sunglass garageLightweight, comfortable, well-ventilated, easy to adjust, high visibility color optionsWell-ventilated, adjustable and comfortable, sleek and classy styleLightweight, comfortable, low profile, good ventilationComfortable, adjustable, durable, inexpensive
Cons ExpensiveExpensive, high volume shapeSlightly heavy for a high-end helmetExpensiveHeavier, slightly less ventilation
Bottom Line This uniquely designed helmet offers excellent airflow and performance that warrant its high costAn extremely comfortable, well-ventilated, and lightweight helmet with minimal wind roar for all-day riding and steep climbingA very comfortable, well-ventilated helmet with plenty of high-end features and a classy styleA lightweight helmet with excellent all-around performance and a comfortable fit for large headsA very comfortable helmet full of high-end features at a surprisingly low price
Rating Categories POC Ventral Air MIPS Bontrager Velocis MIPS Bell Z20 MIPS Giro Synthe MIPS Giro Agilis MIPS
Comfort (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Adjustability (15%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Style (15%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Ventilation (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Durability (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
Specs POC Ventral Air MIPS Bontrager Velocis MIPS Bell Z20 MIPS Giro Synthe MIPS Giro Agilis MIPS
Weight (grams) 295g (Size L) 300 g (size L) 336 g (size L) 312 g (size L) 336 g (size L)
Size Range (cm) 56-61 cm(size L) 58-63 cm (size L) 58-62 cm (size L) 59-63 cm (size L) 59-63 cm (size L)
Number of Vents 15 12 18 19 32
MIPS No, SPIN Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sizes S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L

Our Analysis and Test Results

Riding away with one of our top pick awards, the POC Ventral Air MIPS takes rightful its place on the podium. We loved the comfort, style, and ventilation with the Ventral. It provides many of the same advantages and features as other helmets we tested but comes at a slightly higher price. This is a great helmet for riders who pedal hard in the heat for high double or triple-digit miles that appreciate the unique design and a plethora of color options.

Performance Comparison


POC Ventral Air MIPS road bike helmet - this model performed extremely well and we consider it a well...
This model performed extremely well and we consider it a well ventilated comfortable choice for those who like the unique style.
Credit: Ryan Baker

Comfort


The Ventral Air provides a high range of fit variability with an adjustable head cradle and our preferred dial tensioning system at the occiput. The cradle isn't as intuitive as other models and takes some force to adjust. That said, the cradle has a light, airy feeling that is not noticeable after hours of riding.


The model we originally tested included POC's SPIN (Shearing Pads INside) pad liners, which were nearly identical in design to the MIPS liners found on many other helmets. Since our test period, POC and MIPS have teamed up, and have renamed the SPIN technology to now be called MIPS Integra. The comfort and performance of the helmet remain the same.

The liner pads provide excellent contact points with the helmet's body, and our testers found these pads to be extremely comfortable and not hold heat or moisture. We did read some reviews that stated this helmet is not well suited to round head shapes, but our various testers did not find this to be true. The helmet does have a longer and narrower shape than other models tested. As with any equipment you plan to wear for extended periods, it is worth trying on before you buy, as comfort can be quite subjective.

POC Ventral Air MIPS road bike helmet - the spin pads shown here on the ventral air spin model we tested are...
The SPIN pads shown here on the Ventral Air SPIN model we tested are nearly identical to the renamed MIPS Integra pads on the renamed Ventral Air MIPS. The pads provide excellent moisture-wicking and comfort and are designed to protect the head from rotational impact forces.
Credit: Matt Bento

The chin strap webbing is not as supple as other models we tested but sits comfortably against the mandible. We prefer a helmet with minimal contact points as this promotes cooling and reducing pressure points. After riding all day, the Ventral Air felt lighter than its 295 grams in a size large. Overall, this is an extremely comfortable helmet if it fits your head.

Adjustability


As stated above, the Ventral Air has a fore/aft adjustable head cradle that takes a second of finagling to get into place but stays secure throughout the riding.


The large micro adjustment dial is easy to use and find one-handed while riding. The precision straps are comfortable, and webbing can be fed through to adjust the placement of the Y-buckle. This system is not as friendly or intuitive as other models, but it is a standard design across several brands.

POC Ventral Air MIPS road bike helmet - after long rides with our necks craned in extension, we didn't feel...
After long rides with our necks craned in extension, we didn't feel the weight or discomfort of heavier models.
Credit: Matt Bento

Weight


At 295 grams in size Large, the Ventral Air is in the middle of its class. It proved to be a pleasure on long rides regardless, causing little to no neck strain on all-day rides.


The integrated pads and rotational protection of the MIPS Integra technology shed some grams, as does the variable density EPS foam. Those counting grams for gram's sake can look elsewhere. We found the extra grams unnoticeable and reached for the Ventral on our longest rides despite its heavier weight because of its excellent scores in the metrics that follow.

The straps are not fully adjustable but sit comfortably flush...
The straps are not fully adjustable but sit comfortably flush against the mandible regardless.
The Y-buckle system is easy to adjust and the supple webbing does...
The Y-buckle system is easy to adjust and the supple webbing does not chaffe.
The cradle is unnoticeable after hours of riding and the tension...
The cradle is unnoticeable after hours of riding and the tension dial is easy to find and use while riding.

Style


POC has routed the classic helmet design and offered a helmet that provides a bold design to reduce turbulence. All riders may not prefer the unique trailing edge, but we did find that it reduced noise and the large open vents offer excellent airflow.


The Ventral Air is offered in nearly a dozen colors for every taste. Our favorite aspect in this category is the sunglass garage. The grippy vinyl tape in the fore vents holds sunglasses at speeds clocked up to 35 mph without budging. It is also very easy to find one-handed while riding to put your sunglasses away. The Ventral Air offers a new look for those not shy to stand out and those who want the excellent ventilation of large recessed air channels.

POC Ventral Air MIPS road bike helmet - on long mountain climbs, this helmet provided quiet cooling comfort.
On long mountain climbs, this helmet provided quiet cooling comfort.
Credit: Ryan Baker

Ventilation


The Ventral Air uses the venturi effect of air pulling air (our quick summary) to cause some of the best yet quietest airflow that we tested. Though it has a lower vent count than other helmets, the large forehead shafts dry the interior padding and optimize airflow from the front of the helmet all the way to the trailing edge.


The recessed air channel technology utilized in the Ventral Air and a couple of other models in our lineup proves far superior to traditional venting. Riders who brave summer sun or desert heat should strongly consider this model. The excellent ventilation also reduces perspiration and saturation of the padding. The wonderful ventilation on this helmet earns it the word 'Air' in its name; it makes you feel like you are flying.

The large vents align with the recessed channels providing one of...
The large vents align with the recessed channels providing one of the coolest helmets we tested.
Large rear vents and deep recessed channels maximize air flow.
Large rear vents and deep recessed channels maximize air flow.
The PolyCarbonate shell provides a full wrap of protection around...
The PolyCarbonate shell provides a full wrap of protection around the EPS foam and is offered in nearly a dozen colors.

Although it has a hefty price tag, other helmets on the market fail to offer that same level of ventilation and drag reduction (as proven through reduced wind roar). If you have the cash to spend and the style appeals to you, this helmet provides cooling comfort on a hot day.

Durability


We are impressed with the PolyCarbonate (PC) shell that fully wraps the Ventral Air. There is very minimal exposed EPS foam. The shell is tight and well-bonded, wrapping well into the brim, offering protection for the foam all the way around. The helmet is lightweight considering the surface area of the PC compared to other models that sacrifice the heavier Poly Carbonate to cut grams, exposing fragile EPS foam.


Our testers encountered no issues with typical rough handling and use in the course of testing. The Ventral Air strikes a nice balance between weight and durability. Certainly, one could seek a lighter helmet, but you sacrifice the protection of the PC shell in the process.

POC Ventral Air MIPS road bike helmet - the interior liner pads dry quickly and are easy to remove and wash.
The interior liner pads dry quickly and are easy to remove and wash.
Credit: Ryan Baker

Value


The Ventral Air contends for one of the most expensive helmets we tested. A bargain, no. But POC gives you a lot for the money: comfort, excellent ventilation, and we do love the sunglass garage (they are not all created equal). A non-traditional design, many unique colors, and a forward thinning vent layout makes this helmet worth the wedge for those who plan to ride in the heat or crane their neck forward for hours in a low position. If you're on a budget or the unique design doesn't speak to you, then look elsewhere. As stated above, we feel this helmet deserves high honors, and we awarded it as a top pick.

POC Ventral Air MIPS road bike helmet - this high-performing model is expensive but offers high performance...
This high-performing model is expensive but offers high performance and great comfort.
Credit: Ryan Baker

Conclusion


The Ventral Air is a high-quality, durable helmet that has excellent ventilation. The unique design may not fit every head or call to every sensibility, but all our testers agreed that it felt light as air and kept our heads cool in the grueling summer heat. The price tag justifies the services for those willing to throw down for a new interpretation of a necessary tool in our sport.

Ryan Baker
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