POC’s new Ventral Lite ultralight road helmet puts their regular Ventral Air Spin on a diet to shave off more than 20% of its weight. Pared back to the safety essentials, it took lot of creative material work to to POC’s lightest-ever cycling helmet, with claimed weights as low as 180g.

We’ve been riding with the new lid for the last couple of weeks, and it delivers all the ventilation of the Ventral Air while feeling noticeably lighter on the head. Here’s how they did it…

POC Ventral Lite ultralight vented road cycling helmet

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, sideRiders of any iteration of the Ventral Air will find the look of the new POC Ventral Lite familiar. The overall design, profile shape, and vent layout are for the most part unchanged.

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, angled

There are just a few subtle reshapings around some of the openings, with a focus on carving away excess material without sacrificing safety. The real difference is how much more of the underlying EPS foam is visible, something that’s harder to distinguish on this matte gray color.

Tech details: What’s new?

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, front

Basically, POC made the Ventral Lite lighter by removing as much of the in-mold shell as possible. To do that, POC refined the overall structure of the in-mold helmet adding deeper, more precise structured ribs in the now thinner polycarbonate outer shell to provide support for the underlying foam.

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, lighter materials

POC calls out a lighter, lower density 68g/dm3 (aka 68kg/m3) EPS foam, another move aimed at getting weight as low as possible, while still maintaining optimal impact protection in a crash.

This appears to be towards the lighter end of the 50-100kg/m3 density range typical in most helmets. Less dense foam will absorb more of the impact forces before they reach your brain, but too soft and it wouldn’t absorb enough.

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, inside

Inside, fit and retention get slimmed down, too. Barely noticeable, the straps are said to be a bit thinner, and they replace the prior plastic adjusters with fixed straps sewn in place under the ear. The same POC dial retention carries over, but now pulls a lighter BOA-like wire that encircles the head 360°.

Padding is also simplified. No MIPS or SPIN here, just light, wicking padding that is fixed to the top of the helmet with velcro tabs and floating across the front of the temple, which may allow limited rotational movement in a glancing impact?

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, top

The end result is a chiseled shell that certainly makes the new Ventral Lite look lighter. POC calls it the lightest helmet they have ever produced, while reassuring us that it doesn’t sacrifice on safety.

Riders who are focused on climbing or ride in hotter conditions are extremely conscious about weight, ventilation, and comfort, which is where the Ventral Lite, our lightest-ever helmet will excel,” says Oscar Huss, POC’s Head of Product. “We strongly believe that the safest helmet is one you choose to wear, one which you always look forward to wearing… The Ventral Lite will provide the protection those riders deserve without ever noticing it’s there.

POC calls it a culmination of merging of ultralight and high-performance tech, a concept also applied to their new superlight, 3-layer waterproof Supreme Rain jacket. The underlying idea of both being performance so light and airy, that you’ll forget you are wearing them.

Ventral Lite – First Impressions & Actual Weights

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, rear riding

Our thoughts on the first few rides with the new Ventral Lite essentially boil down to two basic conclusions:

One, it really is crazy light. Any helmet under 300g or so feels pretty light in your hands. When you put this helmet on over a Buff to stay warm or even a traditional cycling cap, you really can forget that you have it on.

Two, the helmet is really well-ventilated. It’s still very much winter here in Prague, and is still a bit too cold to wear this totally open helmet without any wind-blocking cap underneath. But when summer comes around, we’ll have to put sunscreen on the top of our head!

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, 182g actual weigh EN CE size Small

How light is crazy light? The actual weight for our EN/CE-certified size Small is just two grams over POC’s claim at 182g. Compare that to the 242g POC Ventral Air Spin NFC, 240g Limar Ultralight+ Lux, and 233g LEM Motiv Air – all of which feel light on our heads.

We got our hands on a Medium U.S. CPSC-certified helmet too, which weighed in at 255g. Sorry North American riders, CPSC helmets are usually heavier.

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, fit details

As for the fit, it’s pretty much the same head shape as other POC helmets. And the lightweight wire-style retention system micro-adjusts well, all the way around the head. The small wire weaves in & out of a thin plastic backer behind the pads for a comfortable fit without any pressure points. There are even four positions to adjust how far the dial sits on the back of your head.

POC Ventral Lite – Pricing, options & availability

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, colors

The new ultralight POC Ventral Lite sells for $275 / 270€, and comes in five colors – all gray like our test helmet, or black EPS and black main shell, with white, black, blue, or green lower shells. No bright AVIP versions are available now.

The helmet is available in separate EN 1078, AS/NZ 2063, and CPSC 12.03 certified models in three sizes (S, M & L). EN models are the lightest (S 180g, M 190g & L 210g, respectively), with the AS/NZS models next (210g, 230g & 250g), and the US’ CPSC models the heaviest (220g, 240g & 270g).

POC Ventral Lite ultralight helmet, fully vented lightweight 182g road bike helmet, side

The Ventral Lite is available now online direct from POC, and through their regular retail shops. It will make its pro peloton racing debut (presumably in bright pink) on the heads of EF Education-Nippo riders next week at Paris-Nice.

POCsports.com

14 COMMENTS

  1. And it’s so light it breaks each year so you can buy a new one each season? Personally I’ve owned a bunch of top-end helmets and never thought any of them weighed too much if anything at all.. I’d take durability for the extra 50-100 grams just daily on and off has been where almost all helmets have failed. Plastic retention bands cracking, thin foam sections etc .
    Poc is a great company not trying to bash them btw just speaking from experience with a variety including Poc that’s what I look for in a new helmet after fit and finish in certain areas.

  2. I can’t think of an occasion where I’d be willing to sacrifice any of the safety features for a few grams. If you pick the lighter helmet, and end up with a bad concussion, (or worse- a permanent brain injury), are you really going to think “Well, at least I got that strava segment going up!”

  3. Just when I thought we’ve reached the Maximum sunglass size!!! So basically now it’s goggles with arms instead of a strap… Glad I have my snowboard goggles, I am instantly hip once I throw those on. That helmet might weight 180g but I bet those Giant Windshields she has on her weigh 300g+…and I thought the 100%’s were big? 🙂

    • And oddly, I go out of my way to NOT buy MIPS as it is nothing more than theory (very much unproven) adds weight and decrees comfort. If I could, I would be in an old school Specialized Sub-6…and no matter what, no one can prove it is more or less safe than any of the new headbricks out there. For others? Heck, wear arm, knee, and chest pads, face pads and on and on and on….just yesterday at the jump line I saw a guy wearing a full face, no shirt drinking a beer and smoking cigarettes…I wonder what activity he was partaking in that would allow him to be safer….

  4. This is such a bad idea. The one area on a bike where you don’t want to go ultra-light on. Race helmets are already too light and offer questionable safety in crashes. Dumping all the best safety features like MIPs to get credit for the lightest helmet is stupid.

    • yeah, this is basically the same as the old POC octal! then they all started getting heavier (MIPS etc) and they’ve basically just brought out the original Octal again! My Octal is like 190g (size M)

  5. Don’t all helmets have to meet a certification to be sold in the US? If so, shouldn’t this ultralight helmet be just as safe as the heavier version?

    • Safety standards are a minimum and are widely acknowledged to lag behind scientific research into brain injuries. Most modern high end helmets exceed the minimum standards, and it’s places like Virginia tech who have developed new tests to say just how much better they are. Will be interesting to see how this helmet does in their tests.

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