POC’s all-new Otocon full-face mountain bike helmets might make you rethink enduro protection, combing top-level safety tech with a secure yet comfortable fit, one I feel is unparalleled. Blending POC’s highest safety ratings with high ventilation and low weight, the new POC Otocon is a more versatile full-face helmet, from enduro to bikepark to full-on DH racing…
POC Otocon enduro full-face helmet
The new POC Otocon & its more advanced Otocon Race MIPS variant extend the Swedish protection company’s full-face helmet line-up beyond the more gravity-only, multi-impact Coron helmets. Now shifting to equal protection in a lighter, more ventilated helmet for those enduro rides that involve some pedaling, the Otocons are much more versatile mountain bike helmets…
…and the new protection of choice for the Ibis Enduro racing team.
Ventilation was a key focus of the new Otocon, so it gets deep internal airflow channels like POC road & trail helmets.
Secure fit was another core point.
POC includes a new Race Lock dial retention system that ratchets the inner liner securely (and comfortably) around your head. Then, adjustable 2-point straps like on a half-shell secure a light chinstrap. And lastly, removable cheek pads give extra stability, but can easily be popped out for more airflow on the climbs.
To build a light, open, yet still durable gravity helmet, the Otocon uses conventional in-mold polycarbonate shell with one-impact EPS foam protection in its upper half, and multi-impact EPP foam protection in the chinbar & lower rear coverage. That way the light helmet can still handle everyday use & abuse, while protecting you from that one big crash. Plus, there’s aramid reinforcement inside to keep it all together in a nasty crash.
The full-face helmet also has a standard break-away peak (visor) to let the helmet roll in a crash. POC even includes a clear snap-on peak extender for added mud & rain protection for riding in the foulest weather (Race MIPS only). And the plastic grid in the chinbar is meant to keep out debris, but can also be snapped out for riders looking for even more air.
Integrated Smart Tech
Like many of their other premium “Whole Helmet Concept” helmets, the secret to the POC Otocon Race MIPS is packing all the safety tech into one full-face helmet. It combines all the crash safety of the standard Otocon, plus a MIPS Integra system seamlessly integrated into the helmet to better protect against no-linear impact forces – in exactly the same way as the POC Kortal Race MIPS did last year.
Plus, the feature-packed helmet also includes a RECCO reflector (also in the standard lid) to aid search & rescue in the backcountry, and an twICEme NFC medical ID chip to share your key health data with emergency responders, even when you can’t communicate. All that Race MIPS tech inside adds just 60-70g, depending on size.
The light weights for the standard Otocon are the lowest, claiming to start as low as 530g (XS), 620g (S), 680g (M), or 780g (L). The MIPS-equipped Race is a bit heavier at: 590g (XS), 680g (S), 750g (M), or 850g (L).
All of the new Otocon full-face helmets share the same wide-ranging international crash certifications: EN 1078, CPSC 12.03, AS/NZS 2063, ASTM F1952 & NTA 8776, making them suitable for global gravity/DH riding and even e-bike riding.
POC Otocon full-face helmets – Pricing & availability
The new Otocon is offered in the base level helmet for $270 / £240 / 270€, in matte black, white, dark Lead Blue, or forest Epidot Green – available starting this week online and in shops.
Or pick the more feature-packed Otocon Race MIPS for $350 / £300 / 330€, in matte black/white, white/black, deep Sapphire Purple, or AVIP hi-viz Fluorescent Orange – available soon, starting in April 2022.
Both variants come in the same four size XS-L range to fit a range of heads from 51-62cm around.
First Impressions – POC Otocon Race MIPS
The new POC Otocon Race MIPS helmet isn’t the lightest full-face (at a real 861g for my L, 11g more than claimed). And it isn’t quite the most ventilated one I have ridden. Yet, with only one true warm-weather ride so far this spring, my head stayed about as cool as other more open-vented full-face helmets.
It also feels a bit more bulky overall than the lightest enduro helmets I’ve tried – a bit comically so when I put my Large-size lid on my Small-size wife’s head out of curiosity. (My L helmet measures a full 243mm wide.) But it is undeniably the most secure-fitting full-face mountain bike helmet I’ve ridden in, and consequently feels safer than almost any other helmet. That centimeter or two of extra bulk is just crash protection anyway.
While most older gravity helmets relied mostly on deep padding & a moto-inspired tight fit around the head & cheeks, a few newer lightweight full-face helmets have added in the same dial retention from half-shell lids for adjustability. But the combination of a POC’s wraparound MIPS Integra liner, 3-position height & a 360° BOA-wire-style adjustment in the Otocon cradles my head more securely than any other helmet I’ve tried.
I’m not planning to impact-test the new POC full-face, but I get the feeling that the helmet will stay exactly where it should be, no matter how much tumbling over the bars I might do in a crash. It’s a reassuring feeling, and I look forward to riding this big grape helmet in the bikeparks when they open after the snow melts.