The Tectal Race SPIN helmet is POC's top-of-the line trail helmet, featuring the extended rear coverage that's become the norm over the last ten years, 17 generous vents, an adjustable visor with aluminum mounting hardware, and an elastic goggle strap holder. It's also equipped with POC's SPIN system, which uses gel filled pads that are designed to help reduce the rotational impact forces that occur during a crash.
POC aren't known for having bargain basement prices, and that trend continues with this helmet – with a retail price of $220 USD it's one of the more expensive options in this category There are three sizes available (XS-S, M-L, and XL-XXL), which should accommodate head sizes from 51-62 centimeters.
POC Tectal Race SPIN Details
• Polycarbonate shell, EPS liner, SPIN padding
• Adjustable visor
• Recco reflector
• Certifications: EN 1078, CPSC 12.03
• Weight: 378 grams (size M/L)
• MSRP: $220 USD
At the heart of the Tectal Race SPIN is an EPS foam liner, which is reinforced with aramid fibers in order to help the helmet maintain its shape in the event of a crash. Even if the foam does break apart in an impact, those fibers, along with the polycarbonate shell, are intended to prevent the helmet from splitting into multiple pieces.
Reducing rotational impact forces has become a priority for helmet manufacturers in recent years, and to that end POC have incorporated technology originally used on their ski helmets into the Tectal. It's called SPIN, which is the acronym for Shearing Pad INside. There's no slippery plastic liner or viscoelastic bumpers to be seen; instead, POC uses helmet pads that have a silicone bladder inside that's designed to allow the helmet to move slightly rather than stick in place during an impact. The location of the pads inside the helmet were chosen to make sure that a rider's head only contacts the pads, and not the shell itself. According to POC, the pad's movement helps to dissipate the force of a rotational impact, potentially reducing the severity of the impact on the brain.
It's worth noting that at the moment there still isn't any sort of safety certification that deals with rotational impacts. Efforts are underway to create one, but there's still no clear timeline as to when that will be finished and implemented. Performance
I usually have a couple helmets to choose from before heading out on a ride, but over the course of the last year the Tectal Race SPIN has become the one that I grab the most. Why? The fit. It sits perfectly on my oval-shaped head without any pressure points or unwanted shifting around, and on the rare instances when I've needed to tweak the fit, the rear ratchet dial is easy to use. There are a few MIPS-equipped helmets out there that feel a little tippy due to the way the foam liner sit on that plastic slip plane, but with POC's SPIN system the pads felt just like regular helmet pads, which is a good thing. Plus, I found that the silicone bladder makes them more comfortable than regular foam pads – they're a little more squishy, and they don't pack out over time.
The Tectal isn't the absolute lightest option out there, but it also doesn't feel like you've somehow stuck your head into a bowling ball either – it feels just right, and reassuringly solid. The same goes for the amount of ventilation. The Specialized Ambush still tops my chart when it comes to airflow, but I'd say the Tectal sits slightly ahead of the Bell Sixer, and even on hot summer days I didn't have any overheating issues. It's really the way the Tectal fades into the background that's earned it a spot on my list of favorite helmets. Once it's on I don't need to think about it again, which means I can pay more attention to not crashing into trees, instead of fiddling around with unruly straps or visors that get in my field of view.
How about that goggle strap? Well, I honestly didn't find it to be all that necessary. I don't usually have any trouble with goggle straps slipping, and if anything that strap is more of an inconvenience for riders that spin their goggles around so that they face rearward for the climbs. For the non-goggle wearers, I suppose it could be used to hold an enduro banana, or maybe an energy bar. Snacks are important.Pinkbike's Take