In true Swedish fashion, the crew from POC Sports turned up to AusBike with undoubtedly the most stylish booth in the exhibition building. With slick, white installations and the orange POC safety logo as a clean backdrop, their booth was dotted with colourful helmets and bright riding apparel that looked to be inspired by an enormous packet of skittles. Based out of Stockholm in Sweden, POC is a relative newcomer to the mountain bike scene, after launching their intial line of DH products in 2009. POC first burst into the market with their brilliant range of VPD flexible body armour and Cortex DH helmet, which drew inspiration and technology from their established snow line. They’re an even newer player on the bitumen though, having just debuted the new Octal helmet and matching road kit. The range has continued to grown to include mountain bike apparel, cross country helmets, gloves, sunglasses and even a time trial helmet that is claimed to be the fastest in the world.
“It´s our mission to do everything we can to develop protective gear that can save lives and reduce the severity of injuries.” – POC Sports.
POC is distributed in Australia by the Sydney-based crew at Snowsport International. If you’re getting any clues from their name, they’ve actually been selling the snow side of POC for around 4 years now, having only taken on board the cycling component in the past 2 years. Not only are S.I ramping up their range of POC gear, including the dirt jump helmets, riding jackets and hydration packs, they’ve also been working their bums off to get Australian Standards certification for the highly desirable Trabec helmet, that until now, was yet to pass our testing.
The Trabec was built as POC’s first foray into the Trail market, with an adaptation of the technology found in the Cortex DH helmet as well as the snow helmet line. It uses a thick EPS construction to provide plenty of protection for your noggin, with a dropped shell at the back to increase coverage over the back of your skull. It’s not really targeted at the hardcore XC race crowd, but moreso the emerging Gravity Enduro market and for those who ride steep and technical trails and simply want more protection out of an open-face helmet. There’s only 16 vents on the Trabec, though they’re all of a decent size and placed strategically to maximise air flow. We’re still a little skeptical how it will handle hot days out in the Australian summer, but the trade off appears to be in favour of maximum protection. While its unique aesthetic dropped jaws when it first launched a couple of years ago, it has since been copied by many other helmet brands, in much the same way that Abbas musical style ‘inspired’ others.
- Size adjustment system
- Adjustable visor protects your eyes from rain, sun, mud and tree branches
- Aerodynamic ventilation channel system – 16 vent slots
- The fit is designed to be around the head versus on top, for superior protection
- Aramid fiber grid covered areas
- Sizes: M/L, XL/XXL
- Colours: Hydrogen White, Uranium Black
- Weight: 340 g
- RRP: $219.95
There are 3 models of Trabec, but for now only the base model passes Australian Certification. Our standards are without doubt the most stringent in the world, and there is evidence to suggest that the North American and European markets will be adopting many of the sames tests and regulations when it comes time to update their own certification. For POC, this standard meant adaptations to the strap design and mounting points, which has resulted in a whole new and specific mould for the Trabec to make it to our shores.
While it has also passed Aussie standards, the Octal road helmet is much newer than the Trabec, having only been launched internationally last month. It has burst into headlines due to its sub-200 gram weight, and claims of being the safest road helmet in the world. The Octal takes on board the ‘AVIP’ concept from POC: Attention, Visibility, Interaction and Protection. That means it will be coming in a range of stupid bright high-visibility colours that as you can probably tell, stand out like a very sore thumb. The construction on the Octal is unique, in that there is no internal reinforcing skeleton like many other high end helmets use. The reason? POC have utilised a much thicker outer shell on the Octal, which acts as both the structural support for the foam EPS core and as an additional barrier during impact. It also means that POC can use a much lower density EPS construction, which acts as a more effective crumple zone than harder foam helmets.
- Reinforced external moulded shell
- Super low-density EPS foam construction
- Size adjustment system w/vertical and circumference adjustment
- 20 Vents with internal channeling system
- CoolBest padding
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Colours: Fluorescent Orange, White & Garminian Blue
- Weight: 195 grams
- RRP: $349.95
Body armour from POC comes in the form of updated VPD 2.0 padding, which uses a clever ‘Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough’ material, which is kind of like a high-tech silly putty. Flexible and soft under regular riding conditions, the VPD material firms up under impact, changing to a harder state for greater absorption of impact forces. The VPD 2.0 armour is available in knee pads, full knee/shin pads, elbow pads, shorts, jackets, vests and even in the back panel of the Spine VPD hydration pack.
That green panel is the VPD material that’s used in both the suit armour and in the hydration pack. What’s even cooler about the VPD material, is that when its worn against your skin, it actually becomes even more flexible as it warms up. This makes it less noticeable while moving around on the bike, though that thick cushion is always ready to keep your vulnerable bits protected for when you least expect it.
With the introduction of the Octal helmet and road apparel, POC have widened their range of gloves to include lightweight fingerless options and full Windtex cold weather gloves too. We’re big fans of the Index Air gloves for XC use, with their beautiful goatskin leather palm providing the most tactile feel on your handlebar grips, while still being durable.
The Essential jersey carries on the ‘AVIP’ concept from the Octal helmet, with a distinctive colourway that is sure to have you noticed out on the road. It’s available in both short and long sleeve versions, and features a unique thread-free seams that are bonded together in a similar way that waterproof garments have their junctions seam-sealed. It makes for a very low profile garment that we personally think would look the business out on the trail.
There’s also the Essential Wind Vest, which also comes in a full sleeve version too. Note the upper portion of the vest which uses an opaque finish that allows the bright orange colour of the Essential jersey to stand out when worn underneath the vest. Those clever Swedes think of everything!
Lots of stylish mono-block colours in the mountain line too, which has expanded beyond just DH and freeride gear to include lightweight trail baggies. Pricing varies between $139-149 on the baggy shorts, while matching jerseys start at $79 for the Trail Light Tee, and go up to $129 for the Flow jersey.
The bib shorts look like a very nice piece of kit, with POC designed padding that is manufactured by Castelli in Italy. It uses a heavy dose of CoolMax material for breathability, lazer cut fabric and the same bonded seam technology found on the jerseys.
Phone: (02) 8203 4333