POC Ventral Air launch
Words by Timothy John
Images courtesy of POC
POC is one of only a handful of cycling brands to offer genuine innovation. The Ventral Air is the latest in a fine tradition of helmets from the Stockholm purists that unites form with function in a quintessentially Scandinavian aesthetic.
It comes as little surprise that the Ventral Air, ‘structurally optimised’ to promote airflow, and so to increase ventilation while reducing drag, has already won a Design and Innovation Award. It is influenced both by the radical Octal and the Ventral; earlier expressions of the industrial design genius incubated within POC’s glass-walled headquarters in downtown Stockholm.
It is fitting too that Jonathan Vaughters’ WorldTour squad will debut the helmet. Ryder Hesjedal, racing for the same team (then called Garmin-Sharp), granted POC an informal introduction to the peloton with his unprompted adoption of their DID glasses in 2013. Twelve months later, his Garmin Sharp colleagues were riding in Octal helmets. Vaughters’ team now has Swedish owners (the global language school EF Education First) but has lost not its maverick appeal. So far, so POC.
At a glance, the Octal appears to be the dominant influence on the Ventral Air, though we have yet to try this latest addition to POC’s helmet line (the Ventral Devesa SPIN, POC’s collaboration with CHPT3, remains our most recent delivery from Stockholm). The more open architecture (the Ventral’s cover is notably absent) provides the Ventral Air’s aesthetic lead, even if deeper clues to its lineage might only be discovered by experience.
Indeed, it might be that the Ventral’s influence is felt, rather than observed. While the patent-pending SPIN silicone pads and fully sealed, unibody construction are visible connections to its aerodynamically optimised sibling (the name Ventral derives from its claimed Venturi effect), the supporting documentation issued by POC to support the Ventral Air’s release is heavy with references to precisely positioned ports, internal channels and other devices to minimise turbulence.
POC hints at the further (and related) benefit of a lightweight lid in the title, Ventral Air. The talk is of ‘targeted and optimised density’ in the EPS liner. Balancing weight with safety concerns is no easy task, but this is an area in which POC has pedigree: the most striking feature of the striking Octal, for example, is the absence of a plastic roll cage embedded within the EPS liner.
POC has made the Ventral Air available in separate models to satisfy CE, CPSC and AS/NZS 2063 certification, and the numbers for each make a case for lightness by themselves. POC claims 230g in CE (EUROPEAN) certification, and 270g to meet the more demanding CPSC (USA) and AS/NZ standards. All weights quoted are for a Ventral Air in size medium (54-59cm). Small (50-56cm) and large sizes (56-61cm) are also available.
Today’s launch at the Tour Down Under feels timely. Few races on the WorldTour calendar subject the riders to such ferocious temperatures, even if the Tour of Oman and La Vuelta are no picnic. EF Education First Pro Cycling Team will don the Ventral Air for this week’s six-day encounter with the Adelaide heat. The Ventral in standard form and the Cerebel time-trial helmet will remain in the team’s arsenal.
POC has yet to release a UK price, but the Ventral Air will be available to buy online and in stores at €250 and $250 from March 19, 2019. POC’s team edition Aspire, Do blades and Do half blade glasses will be available from the same date. Visit pocsports.com.