Slipping through the wind at the opening Team Time Trial of the Veulta Femenina this week on the heads of the EF Education-TIBCO-SVB women, POC has a new aerodynamic TT helmet called the Procen. And while POC already had a couple of aero time trial helmets, this new POC Procen claims to deliver the same low drag with significantly boosted cooling airflow so racers can push harder and faster in their races against the clock…
POC Procen cool-vented time trial racing helmet
Working together with both the women’s and men’s EF Pro Cycling teams, POC set out to make an aerodynamic time trial helmet that was not only faster in the wind, but also let the racers push faster. Their reverse duck-billed swoopy Tempor already maximized aerodynamics for time trialists who could maintain a deep tuck. And the snub-tailed Cerebel already provided low aero drag for riders who moved their heads around more as they pedal.
But what the pro athletes said they needed was a cooler-running TT helmet, so they could keep pushing hard deeper into long TTs and races in the heat of the summer.
Venturi-effect TT helmet ventilation
So POC leaned back on the Venturi-effect ventilation that gave their long-running Ventral aero road helmet its name, and set out to adapt it to a vented TT lid. Taking advantage of this same principle where a bubble of high-pressure air forms front & center at the leading edge of the helmet (see that red pressure hotspot, above), the new POC Procen helmet opens up three forward-facing vents there to allow the air in, decreasing the peak aerodynamic pressure on the front of the helmet.
By then channeling that fast-moving, high-pressure air through internal channels and over the rider’s head, the Procen reduces frontal drag, cools the rider, and creates a turbulent eddy-flow of air at the back of the helmet (in blue-green, above). Paired with a sharp trailing edge design, that ultimately smooths laminar airflow from the outside of the helmet over the rider’s shoulders and back.
Win, win, win.
The result is then reduced aerodynamic drag on the helmet, improved airflow over the rider, and improved rider cooling.
“We already knew that with the Tempor and Cerebel we have some of the fastest time-trial helmets in cycling. With the team, we brought our combined experience together and dug into our wealth of CFD data and evidence to analyze the precise needs of performance and elite cyclists, especially how to manage heat. Our objective with the Procen was to maintain the speed and aerodynamic advantage of the Tempor and Cerebel and add a layer of performance through enhanced heat management, allowing riders to be optimized aerodynamically, use their speed for cooling, and be able to hold peak efforts for longer.”– Magnus Gustavsson, POC Director of hard goods
The helmet’s integrated visor is another unique element of the Procen, using POC’s Clarity lens tech for great visibility and short temples like regular sunglasses to hold it in place. This visor/lens has an interesting 2-position mount that lets the rider pull it forward 10mm away from the helmet via a small central pull-tab, so that air flows around the lens and it won’t fog up as you wait for the TT to begin at the top of the start ramp. You can also move the lens out mid-race for extra airflow, pull it off if water or mud obscure your vision, and it is designed to break away in a crash for safety.
Much of what seems to make the Procen TT helmet work is hidden from view inside that bulbous polycarbonate shell – most notably the key ventilation channels through the EPS foam that move air smoothly in the front, over the head, and out the wide-open exhaust port in the back. What we do know is that the rear cowl of the helmet is made of soft EVA foam so that it can comfortably rest against the rider’s neck & shoulders, and that it uses a light & simple retention system with a classic buckle to stay in place, with “whole-head adjustment” to correctly position the lid for each rider.
No word yet on a claimed weight, but the POC Procen is EN 1078, CPSC, & AS/NZS 2063 certified for global use in racing.
POC Procen TT helmet – Pricing & availability
The new Procen time trial helmet comes in just one Medium size, but it’s a pretty wide range fitting head from 54-60cm thanks to various thickness pads to fine-tune the fit. The new POC Procen sells for $400 / 400€ making it their most expensive helmet yet, officially debuting this week – offered in Hydrogen white or Uranium black matte.
But it won’t actually be available to consumers until September 2023.