Swedish brand POC has introduced the Spectral helmet - the new lid of the EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale Pro Cycling Team - which is claimed to set new standards for the brand in aerodynamics, ventilation, low weight and safety. We’ve had a Spectral arrive here in the office, so here’s a quick rundown of the details before we take to the road.
Starting with the aerodynamics, the design is said to be unique in how the frontal air vents intentionally pull air through the helmet, rather than around it. In manipulating the air this way, instead of deflecting it around the shell, the aero profile is said to be reduced. At the same time, the remaining air that does still get shaped around the shell is done so to minimise turbulence, according to POC.
The helmet, as the name suggests, also takes inspiration from the Venturi Effect, whereby low pressure zones are created inside the helmet to help pull airflow through and improve ventilation. The large rear exit ports are also said to not only direct air outwards, but also merge it with the air flowing over the helmet in the smoothest way possible, once again improving aero efficiency.
POC doesn’t offer any specific aero figures, save to say that it’s the most aero efficient and well-ventilated road helmet it has ever made.
On the safety front, POC has introduced its take on MIPS with SPIN, a protection system said to reduce the severity of impacts. Again, POC is keeping any figures close to its chest, but SPIN doesn’t feature the clear and obvious yellow webbing of MIPS, instead opting for a more integrated and subtle design using specifically-designed pads.
The pads are designed to ‘shear’ in any direction upon an impact, which apparently helps to absorb energy before it’s transmitted to the head. It’s said to achieve the same overall effect of the MIPS system by allowing the helmet shell to move relative to the head, except without the weight penalty often associated with MIPS (claimed weight for the Ventral is 248g in a medium), nor presenting any additional obstacle to airflow.
Otherwise, POC says the ergonomic straps are designed to offer a secure fit. That fit is fine-tuned via a four-way system with click-wheel micro-adjustments at the back of the head.
The lid will be worn by the EF Education First team for the first time in competition at Paris-Nice, with stock already available in stores priced at £270. That’s it for now, but we’ve also a Ventral to test straight out of the box, so watch this space for our report on it soon.