POC Obex Spin Review
Cons: Adjustment dial access, liner warmth, ventilation
Manufacturer: POC Sports
Our Analysis and Test Results
The POC Obex SPIN is a medium-weight helmet with clean and modernized freeride styling that both skiers and snowboarders can appreciate. The helmet uses POC's SPIN system (Shearing Pad INside) to help reduce forces from oblique impacts. The system operates under the same principles as other rotational impact protection systems, although the execution is somewhat different. A small silicone pad absorbs some linear impact and also serves as a slip plane so that helmet can rotate slightly around the head. POC also used some new school design and stylistic techniques to differentiate this helmet to cater to the modern freerider.
The POC Obex is very comfortable for all-day riding. We enjoyed riding in this helmet due to its lightweight and absent feel. The helmet fits a round, oval head shape the best. Those with long oval head shapes may find negative space in the upper lateral zones of the helmet. One tester has a long oval head and can move the shell from side to side a small distance within the gaps. To have an ideal fit, he needs to wear a thin beanie to add volume. If you have a long oval head, we recommend looking at a Giro or Smith model. It has a dial to adjust the harness and snug up the fit. This reduced but didn't fully remove the movement mentioned above. Overall, this helmet is quite comfortable, but a few design aspects negatively affect the score.
The dial itself is marginally obstructed. This makes access and usage challenging with and without gloves. If you don't adjust the helmet frequently, then this shouldn't be a big issue. However, the tester who required a beanie for an appropriate fit found adjustments necessary as the hats were switched. The earpad's design is close to one of the best in the review but needs additional refinement. We like the deep cupped design that has limited to no contact or compression of the ears. We would like to see softer padding to reduce the earpads' presence and a fleece lining to enhance the next to the skin feel. Despite these critiques, the Obex is light and comfortable.
The Obex is decently warm. We found ourselves pairing this helmet with a balaclava or light hat more often than not. We choose to do this due to the thin and minimal lining and the slight draft that occurs through the thinner parts of the ear pads.
Fortunately, it has three adjustable vents on the top of the helmet, which helps keep out the elements and improve the warmth. However, that still leaves eight vents open. The function of the lining seems intended to facilitate the installation of the SPIN system, and added warmth is a byproduct of that. It doesn't span the entirety of the helmet's interior, which provides less insulation. Ultimately, we were able to stay warm on below-freezing mornings with a beanie place underneath the helmet.
The POC Obex is easily adjustable to maximize the ventilation potential from its 11 vents. The three vents on the top are easy to close with a slider. The earpads are also very easy to remove to provide some additional ventilation on those hot days.
With all the vents open and the earpads off, this helmet sheds heat okay. However, its main limitation is the size and quantity of the vents. The vents are rather small, and that can limit airflow. Given the average warmth of this helmet and ventilation potential, this helmet should ditch heat adequately for the average person on warm days. If you run hot, then consider a model with larger and more vents.
The Obex SPIN is constructed in a single piece using in-mold construction. This method generally makes lightweight helmets, and the Obex follows suit here. An XL weighs 19.2 oz per our scale. Note that a POC XL fits the same size range as a large in other brands. The helmet itself is very low profile and is not noticeable when riding. It also fits under hoods very well for those stormy days.
This helmet was perfectly compatible with the three different goggles that we tried it with. We never had the dreaded gaper gap, and our goggles were resistant to fogging.
The Obex has two sizeable vents near the helmet's brim to help prevent the goggles from fogging. The vents give the warm air from your goggles a place to go and allow for some cooler air to enter the google as well. The google retainer is a rubberized bungee that fits over a small hook. We like this design, and it is a great change of pace from the standard yet potentially breakable plastic retainer.
Everyone we asked thought this helmet looks pretty sweet, and we fully agree. It blends the fundamental style of a skate helmet with the features of a freeski helmet. Many have tried this combination, and few have done it as well as POC has with the OBEX. This helmet is available in 12 different colors, from pink to black. There is likely a color that you will dig.
The POC Obex is a decent value. It has a rotational impact system, premium materials, is comfortable, and looks good. Its minimalist ventilation approach and marginal dial design might leave some disappointed given the helmet's retail cost. For the right person and or if found on sale, this helmet holds good value. At the same time, others will be better served by helmets of equal or lower cost with better performance scores.
The Obex has a sleek style and checks the box with some premium features. This is a great helmet for avid freeskiers or snowboards who prioritizes comfort and weight over warmth or ventilation.
— Isaac Laredo
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