Superbly ventilated; NFC Medical ID chip integration; aerodynamic design vastly different from competitors
extra coverage in back; massive vents make it one of the breeziest helmets we tested; a chip stores your medical ID in case you’re in an accident and can’t communicate
heavier than some other helmets; no hi-viz colorways; the pads don’t dry as fast as some others
A modern helmet has to accomplish a lot more than helmets from just a few years ago. Poc's Ventral Air Spin NFC does exactly that, with incredible venting, a unique look that belies clever aerodynamic design, and an embedded chip that provides your vital info to medical professionals or bystanders should you crash. It's an impressive helmet in a crowded field of impressive helmets.
POC created the Ventral Air Spin NFC for road and adventure riders — and to minimize drag. The only difference between the NFC version of this lid and the existing Ventral Air Spin is the embedded chip that stores your medical information, emergency contacts, identifying characteristics, and your insurance information. If you’re injured and can’t speak for yourself, your fellow riders, first responders, and anyone else who has the NFC app can hold their smartphone next to the left temple of this helmet to get the info they need to help you.
The Ventral Air Spin NFC is constructed with a fully wrapped unibody polycarbonate shell over a thick layer of raw EPS foam. Inside, instead of a rotational impact-absorbing MIPS liner, the Ventral Spin NFC uses fabric-covered silicone pads across the forehead and from the brow to the crown of the head to absorb those impacts. By using Spin pads instead of MIPS, POC eliminates a layer and maximizes venting.
The outer shell is slippery, designed to slide instead of grab if it hits pavement or dirt. Spin pads are super comfortable — they don’t pack out like foam pads, but they do retain moisture longer than pads in other helmets I’ve tested. That said, because of the exceptional venting, I didn’t get as sweaty in this helmet as I did in some others. Five massive front air vents pair with five crown vents, four side vents, and five rear exhaust ports to channel air through the helmet to keep you cool whether you’re riding up or downhill.
A lot of helmets use as many vents in the structure as possible to maximize cooling capability. POC’s ventilation relies on the Venturi effect, which uses pressure differentials to create a choke in the system that exponentially increases airflow. It’s the same principle that lets a tiny CO2 cartridge inflate a bike tire. The vents create steady airflow resulting in impressive cooling between the rider’s head and the helmet, while simultaneously allowing the helmet to slip through the air efficiently. POC says the vent design uses an aerodynamically optimized trailing edge to reduce turbulence, which means that though this helmet isn’t awkwardly aero shaped, it won’t slow you down.
The Ventral Air Spin NFC was designed in collaboration with the American WorldTour team EF Pro Cycling. The team wanted a helmet blending aerodynamics, ventilation, and safety, and that’s what they got. POC used computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations to nail the shape and to fine-tune vent size, and to perfectly position front vents to move air through the helmet. The helmet’s squared-off back end keeps turbulence down from air that’s streaming over the outside, for a claimed total of 2.1 percent less drag than POC’s Octal helmet.
The adjustable harness twists to tighten at the nape of the neck. It can be adjusted forward and back between three settings by moving an internal clip. So every size has a lot of range. Medium fits heads 54-59 cm.
A sunglass garage keeps sunglasses secure when they’re on your helmet not on your face. And, bonus, since the Ventral Spin was first introduced, it’s dropped in price.
I like the Ventral Air Spin NFC for its incredible venting and clever aerodynamic design. The NFC chip adds peace of mind, and while it may or may not factor into medical response in the event of an emergency, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have this extra safety hedge. If you’re after the lightest helmet, this isn’t it, but it’s easy to look past that if you want a cool helmet — literally and figuratively — for hot days and long climbs.