Swedish company, POC, is considered a global arbiter when it comes to safety and protection, and its helmets are some of the best in the world. We've tested our fair share of POC's best mountain bike helmets over the years, and have always come away impressed by the fit, ventilation and coverage they offer.
The helmet pictured here is the POC Omne Air Resistance - the only dirt-specific option in the Omne line-up catering directly to both gravel- and mountain bike riders. We've been using it for the past six months in a variety of settings to establish its positioning in one of the most hotly contested segments.
Design and aesthetics
POC's Omne Air Resistance Spin takes its styling cues from the regular Omne Air road helmet so it gets the same design blueprint but with a twist - a detachable visor. Whether that makes it off-road-specific or not, the visor does bestow it with some added bravado. In terms of colorways, POC has reduced things to one color - fluorite green, as part the a phasing out process of its Spin technology. That said, there are a further three understated colors are available in the new MIPS configuration: hydrogen white, uranium black and uranium black/opal blue.
The Omne Air Resistance Spin helmet pictured here however, is entirely black and was one of the last Spin versions available in this hue. Save for the blue Spin pads found inside, there's no difference between it and the new MIPS version. The gloss-black is offset by a collection of white POC decals on the flanks and POC relief on the matt-finished rear diffuser.
Other than the white logos, the only other break in the monochromatics is the inclusion of cyan on the Spin pads inside the helmet and logo accompanying the sizing and material imprint graphics on the rear.
In terms of specifications, safety is always going to be high on the list of priorities for mountain bike riders as crashes are inevitable. POC's road-going Omne Air Spin (the same helmet bar the visor) scored an impressive 4/5 stars in the industry's best-known independent testing facility, Virginia Tech. As early adopters of the rotational impact protection ethos, POC has used both its own proprietary Spin shearing pads and MIPS, but is currently transitioning back to the latter with an all-new, almost invisible MIPS Integra system.
Structurally, it's built around a variable density EPS core and covered in a hardy-yet-glossy shell which adds to the aesthetic effect, too. The shell, however, isn't as comprehensive as you'd expect with some exposed EPS foam on the undercarriage which might get damaged if neglected (our test unit has held up well to abuse and general wear and tear). In terms of the Omne's ventilation ports, well, there are 10 vents - four at the front and another four towards the rear which are separated by a large cross brace or central panel that arcs across the top. The are a further two vents at the back.
The only attribute separating this Omne from its road-specific brethren is the slimline visor/peak located just above the brow line. While it might not be as prodigious as its POC Axion Spin brother, the Omne Air Resistance Spin is suited more to cross-country mountain biking or gravel riding - and will appease that go-faster crowd as a result. For those who feel the peak is more of an after thought, it can be removed entirely without negatively impacting the overall visuals.
The Omne family of helmets performs impressively when it comes to performance, fit and ventilation and the helmet here isn't any different. At the 321g (300g helmet, 21g visor) it doesn't feel particularly heavy and the 360-degree retention system ensures a personalized and comfortable fit.
An area where the POC Omne Air Resistance Spin excels is strap management. Unlike some of POC's other helmets such as the Octal and Octal X, the straps run directly on the inner-most side, which means it plays nicely with most of the best mountain bike sunglasses, not just POC options.
Out on the trail is where the helmet really shines. The ventilation capabilities are superb, with decent airflow that keeps you cool on warmer days while still providing some semblance of warmth when the temperature takes a dive. The peak - while non adjustable - actually worked quite well when it came to masking out some blinding rays of early morning light ricocheting through the treeline on one of my singletrack test loops.
While the POC Omne Air Resistance Spin helmet might not provide the same level of coverage you'll find from a dedicated trail/enduro lid, particularly when referencing rear head coverage, it still manages to strike a balance where it counts - offsetting attributes such as comfort, ventilation and safety quite impressively.
Overall, the performance offered by the POC Omne Air Resistance Spin is impressive. Sure, it's more aligned to the best XC helmets than anything else but the versatility it offers as a discipline-blurring mountain bike helmet is hard to ignore.
Owing to the fact the POC is phasing out Spin in favor of MIPS Integral, the helmet pictured here can be picked up for a relative bargain, marked down from $190 / £140 to $140 / £98. The catch? Absolutely nothing of the sort - apart from the slip-plane liner the POC Omne Air Resistance Spin is identical to the new MIPS version.
Tech Specs: POC Omne Air Resistance Spin helmet
- Price: $140 / £98
- Sizes: S (50-56cm), M (54-58cm), L (56-60cm)
- Rotational protection: Spin, (MIPS now available)
- Colors: Spin: Fluorite green, MIPS: hydrogen white, uranium black and uranium black/opal blue
- Weight: 321g (300g helmet, 21g visor)