For 2020 POC released the Axion Spin trail and enduro helmet. Despite sitting on the cheaper side of POC's existing mountain bike helmets, it retains all the core qualities of the Swedish firm.
Design and aesthetics
The enduro-spec Tectal is still POC’s best mountain bike helmet and is available in three different price points with the Spin-equipped version setting you back £200, which is a good chunk of money especially considering the quality of affordable helmets that are available these days. The Tectal is a well-regarded helmet and POC could have simply removed some features from the higher-end model to create a budget version and called it a day - but it didn't.
POC introduced the budget Axion Spin this year, targeting trail and enduro riders who are looking for a more affordable option. There are differences between the new Axion Spin and the premium Tectal Spin but other than a couple of additional vents and an aramid bridge system for improved structural integrity, POC hasn’t made any obvious concessions in the design of the Axion.
Of course, the £140 price tag is still floating above the price range that most riders would describe as budget, however, POC has managed to pack the Axion with enough features that leave us wondering where the money was saved.
Comprehensive in-moulding around the inside of the helmet protects the EPS liner against damage and the moulding edges around the vents is very tidy.
The extent of coverage gives plenty of protection around the head, and POC’s 360-degree Fit System managed retention. The occipital pads can be moved vertically to refine the positioning on varying head shapes.
Rotational safety features are becoming more and more common on lower-end helmets. POC has developed its own system which is called Spin (Shearing Pad INside) which uses silicon inside the helmets pads to act as a slip plane. Although the effectiveness of different rotational systems is still being debated, POC obviously still believes in the value of its Spin system and considering there is no impeding of ventilation or comfort it's good to see it featured in this lower-priced helmet.
The helmet leans more towards trail rather than enduro as it lacks goggle facilities. As such, there is no channeling or clip at the rear for a strap and the peak won’t accommodate storage under it.
The peak itself is sturdy and a good size for keeping debris and the sun out your face. There are three positions and features a breakaway system to limit the influence of the helmet on the neck in the event of a crash, potentially reducing injury.
With a 59cm head, I was on the cusp of the XL-XXL and while the helmet would cinch up securely I found it too deep causing the retention cradle to irritate the top of my ears. Sizing down to the M-L solved this and I found the fit just right. Head shape plays a big part in helmet fit so, as with any helmet purchase, it’s recommended to try before you buy to find the best size for you.
Once I found the right size the POC Axion was very comfortable and didn’t create any areas of discomfort even after long days in the saddle. The retention creates a secure locked-in feeling as soon as it is dialled in and the straps feature a neat y-junction to give plenty of ear clearance and stop any flapping. The lightweight helps with comfort as well, allowing you to forget your wearing the helmet when being rattled by the roughest rock gardens.
Ventilation is good too, the front intakes feed cool air efficiently into channelling across the top of the head regulating head temperature even on dragging climbs.
I have always been a fan of POC's aesthetic but I know it's not to everyone's taste. The Axion Spin is a great looking helmet and has less of the 'crash-test dummy' look that has put off riders in the past. The overall size is compact avoiding a dreaded mushroom look and the range of colors available are classy and inoffensive.
While the £140 price tag probably won’t align with the general consensus of what a budget helmet costs, consider the Axion Spin rather as an affordable high-end helmet. When the design, quality and fit are taken into consideration, the Axion Spin becomes an excellent choice for those shopping in the mid-range price bracket.
Despite the cost savings when compared to the equivalent Spin-equipped Tectal, the Axion Spin doesn’t appear to have made any sacrifices. The Tectal is still a better option for aggressive enduro riding but the decent ventilation and lighter weight of the Axion Spin mean it's a superior option for riders looking for a comfortable all-round performance mountain bike helmet that offers excellent protection.
Tech spec: POC Axion SPIN helmet
- Sizes: XS-S, M-L, XL-XXL
- Vents: 15
- Rotational protection: POC SPIN
- Colors: 4
- Weight: 350g (M-L)
- Price: $150.00 / £140.00