The Kortal Race MIPS helmet is POC's latest high-end mountain bike helmet and it comes with a host of features to make it trail-ready. Additionally, there is a new pair of glasses which are designed to seamlessly mate with the lid.
Along with a brand new look, there's an adjustable breakaway visor, aramid bridges, a NFC Medical ID chip, and a RECCO reflector. For rotational safety, there is a new MIPS Integra system. The helmet is designed to pair well with POC's new Devour sunglasses with glasses storage. In addition to the Kortal Race MIPS, there is a more affordable 'Kortal', which comes with a pared-down amount of features.
Kortal Race MIPS Details
• 360-degree adjustable fit system
• MIPS Integra
• NFC medical ID
• RECCO Reflector
• Weight: 391 grams (medium, actual)
• Goggle and glasses compatible
• Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL
• EN1078, CPSC 1203, AS-NZS, NTA 8776 standards
• MSRP: $250 USD
There are three sizes available and several color options. A size medium weighs about 390 grams and will cost $250 USD.Details
There are a lot of features on the Kortal Race MIPS, and one of the more eye-catching features is the new MIPS Integra system. MIPS claim this is the most integrated protection system yet and it takes the layer which is typically very visible on the inside of the helmet, with the liner, and makes it part of the helmet's EPS foam structure, similar to how a shell is molded onto the outside of a helmet.
This allows the helmet's padding to slip and slide on a low friction layer keeping everything minimalistic and low-profile, which helps keep from interfering with ventilation, adding bulk, etc. MIPS calls this their lightest and slimmest system designed to reduce rotational forces to the head on certain angled impacts and the Kortal Race MIPS will be one of the first helmets to use it.
Additionally, the helmet now features an adjustable breakaway visor which snaps off in the event of a crash to reduce the chance of neck injury to the rider. There's a 360-degree adjustment system for precise fitment, and extended protection zones around the temples and the back of the head for those higher risk areas.
As far as other features are concerned, there's a NFC Medical ID which stores medical info and emergency contacts in the helmet for emergency responders, a RECCO reflector, and places for goggles and glasses to play nicely with the helmet. There is a generous amount of ventilation, and care was taken to ensure the vents aren't obstructed when using goggles.Ride Impressions
Helmet fit is different for everyone and what works for one person doesn't always work for another so I'd always suggest starting with trying a helmet on before buying, if at all possible. I have historically found POC helmets to be comfortable, although some ride a little low on my ears.
The Kortal Race MIPS doesn't ride as low on my ears as other POC offerings and fits well in that regard. I did, however, find two pressure points on the top of my head, behind my ears. My colleague on the other side of the continent, Mike Kazimer, who has had good luck with POC's Tectal helmet in the past, also found that the fit of the Kortal wasn't as comfortable at the back of the head.
The aesthetics of the helmet are great and fitting and adjusting the retention system and visor is simple and straightforward - the middle position on the retention system and visor seemed to fit me well.
It's only March, so I haven't been able to test the helmet in any sweltering conditions yet, but so far the ventilation seems more than adequate. The padding is comfortable, minus the pressure points I found, and it manages sweat and moisture very well.
I didn't have any issues with glasses compatibility, but I couldn't find any way to practically store them on the back of the helmet when climbing. Although POC claim there is a 'glasses garage', there is no way to put the glasses on the top of the helmet, without them falling off. Putting them on the front seems a touch more feasible but it's still not very secure.
In regards to the Devour glasses, as they're new, they're also worth a mention. The fit of the glasses is excellent and the adjustable arms will make them versatile for most riders. The full-coverage of the lenses is excellent and I like that they offer a great deal of protection from trail debris. In my experience, they don't have a lot of issues with fogging up, but it is unfortunate they don't integrate with the helmet as advertised.
Lots of safety features+
Good integration with sunglasses while wearing them on your face
Fit may not work for everyone-
No glasses storage integration, even though advertised