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Say what you will about the POC Trabec Race helmet—and believe me, people have—but I can tell you that whatever you make of the construction-worker looks of this lid, it absolutely rocks (excuse the pun).
Made by the award-winning Stockholm, Sweden-based company POC, the Trabec Race is one of the company’s latest innovations in safety for cyclists. POC has an established following in snow sports for its innovative helmets, body armor, goggles, gloves, and race clothing, and they have now moved into cycling. The bike line includes a full line of helmets, body armor, gloves, and cycling clothing, all of which speak to the company’s ethos of making very high-quality, understated products that deliver performance on par with just about anything out there.
The Trabec line of helmets includes the Trabec, the Trabec Race, and the Trabec Race MIPS. Many bike helmets rely on EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) to absorb shocks. EPS works well on ﬁrst impact, but loses efﬁcacy on repeated hits, which is why cyclists typically trash their helmets after a big fall. The POC, however, uses an EPS core that is reinforced with Aramid ﬁlament. Aramid is a synthetic ﬁber often used in military and aerospace products such as ballistic-rated body armor. Its use makes the POC helmet stronger overall, and more resilient to multiple impacts.
Many of the top cycling helmets today also incorporate what is known as an in-mold design, which adds a second layer of protection on impact—the outer thin layer destructs on impact, which leaves the inner EPS layer absorbs the remainder of the force, reducing the potential damage to the head. To combat the lack of resilience in this typical one-crash design, POC incorporates a patent-pending technology called “Aramid Ballistic penetration barrier,” or APB. APB adds an additional layer of Aramid between the shell and the liner, which does two things: it allows for a thinner, and therefore lighter, shell, and it increases impact resistance.
The Fit and the Ride
The ﬁt of the Trabec Race is as good as any helmet I’ve put on. The focus of the design is to ﬁt around your head, as opposed to many bike lids, which seem to ﬁt on top. It feels more like a hat—or perhaps more like a skateboard helmet than a traditional bike helmet.
The best compliment one can give to a helmet is that you forget you’re wearing it, and I can deﬁnitely say that about the POC. It is a very comfortable helmet. While its freeride design might be a turn-off to the more hardcore XC riders, most weekend warriors, all-mountain or trail riders will find, much like the Giro Xen, that this helmet is perfectly suited for both comfort and protection. Given the time of year here in Boulder, Colorado, most of my rides with the Trabec Race have been in the 50s, so I cannot yet speak to its ability to keep the head cool on very hot days. Obviously, with much more back-of-the-head coverage, the helmet is not going to be as cool or as light (it weighs in at 380g) as an XC helmet, but the vents (16 total) are quite large, and I would suspect that it would only be a real issue on exceptionally hot days, but I can’t say with certainty until it warms up here a bit.
Overall, the design, ﬁt, and comfort of the POC Trabec Race are top quality. In terms of protection, you won’t ﬁnd much better. The POC comes in the orange/white and a black/white design if you don’t like being seen from a mile away. Personally, I’m going to stick with the orange…it matches my car.