Product Review

POC Tectal helmet

Photos Dave Smith

POC is all about clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic that looks to the future. The Tectal doesn't go full Tron, like Smith's Forefront, but from some angles, it appears very Sci-Fi. Somehow the excellent finish of every edge and curve wraps it together perfectly and the result is a comely and reltively sleek brain bucket. 


The finish on POC helmets is second to none. The visor has faded somewhat less than the shell which could explain why this colour has been discontinued. 

When I started wearing the POC Tectal helmet we were just emerging from a nasty winter and it was still cold. Oddly this turned out to be the perfect time to evaluate the venting of this lid. While cruising up the fire road on Mt. Fromme, at my usual leisurely pace, I found that my head was getting cold. Compared to the helmet I was wearing previously the Tectal allowed more airflow. Blasts of winter air weren't welcome but now that the weather has turned balmy (record high temps recently!) the efficient flow keeps my brain from boiling. 


No MIPS? After being an early adopter of the system, designed to allow your head to rotate independently from the helmet shell at the moment of impact, POC has forsaken MIPS for the Tectal - for now. Other helmets in the line offer MIPS as an option.

This bucket covers low on the rear of your noggin and wraps around the ears like other enduro(!) style helmets. Similarly, it includes a large visor that moves up enough to accommodate your goggles, if that's the way you roll. Somehow the Tectal escapes the bulky look of many helmets in this category. Perhaps the Aramid Bridge gets the credit?


The strap splitter can be moved fore and aft but it adjust independently of the chin strap for simplicity. This is how all helmets should strap up.

I've heard it said by one helmet manufacturer that MIPS is a gimmick while others swear by it. Interestingly the company that suggested MIPS is ineffective felt they needed to incorporate the product. Is POC's rejection of MIPS an indication that the system is losing favour or that research hasn't backed up the claims of superior concussion protection? What is certain from my experience is that it's more difficult to find a MIPS helmet that fits well and this helmet fits my bony skull perfectly. 


POC has included a RECCO reflector in the Tectal which can aid search in rescue if you are lost or unconscious in the woods. It can be detected using the RECCO detector from 200m through air or 30m through snow in avalanche situations.


The Tectal utilizes an Aramid Bridge which is said to spread forces more evenly while improving structural integrity by bonding with the EPS foam. The visor tension adjusts with a simple aluminum twister and has no detents. It stays in place well and can be adjusted on the fly easily but has faded somewhat less than the shell of the helmet. 


Why so surprised? An approaching grizzly? My bike is being stolen? Fit and adjustability are excellent. The retention system at the back is indexed and very easy to use. In fact, the fit is so good that I can bend over (easy now!) as if I'm touching my toes and the helmet stays put without the buckle closed. It plays well with the eyewear I have been using lately. 


The Tectal weighs in at 343 grams. There is also a Race model that includes a strap retainer for your goggles.

POC has discontinued this colour according to the website and, aside from a rather bold pink, the tones are more muted than previously. I'm down with the pumpkin personally and I like POC's bold colour statements best.

The Tectal retails for US$190 while the Tectal Race is US$210. Interestingly if you order from the POC website Canadian prices are only slightly more than US ($200/$220) so you might want to jump on that before it's corrected. 

More info here...

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+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae

The Tectal addresses the one issue I had with the Trabec; a turn dial on the retention web of the helmet instead of two slider tabs.


+1 Cam McRae

This. With the Trabec, a high sitting backpack can bump into the slider tabs and loosen the retention web in the middle of a steep descent.


+2 Cam McRae Andy Eunson

I have a black/green Tectal Race which differs from the Tectal by an Endurolicious rubber goggle loop/strap and hook on the back of the helmet and a few anodized bolts/screws. Also the paint job on the Race models are glossy vs. matte on the base Tectal, I believe. So nothing major.

If you do try this helmet on, bring your riding glasses, as the helmet edge behind my ears interferes with the arms of my older Ryders. Hmm, maybe time for new glasses.

I was a tried an true Bell buyer (skinny headed) but with Bell's gaffe with the fit of last year's Super 2, I found the new revised fitting of POC's Tectal helmets range to be bang on for my melon, so I took a chance. POC Trabec's did not fit me well, but the Tectal fits like a charm.

In the long term, no sore spots, super micro-adjustable tension dial on the base of the helmet and nice deep comfy fit. In terms of style, it's not too wide either, so it doesn't make us skinny-headed lot look like we are wearing a salad spinner, a la Bell Super.


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