The POC Kortal offers a whole load of coverage front and back, with good cooling
When you think of Scandinavian firm POC, you likely think of a premium, safety-first brand with the high-end price tags to match. That’s fair comment considering this stylish Kortal lid comes with a £180 asking price and doesn’t even get rotational protection. To get MIPS you’ll need to fork out an extra £40 for the Race version.
Some extra safety details POC pays attention to are things like a unibody shell inside the fully-wrapped curvy exterior based on POC’s road cycling helmets. This brings an aramid fibre grid inside the EPS to reinforce the Kortal against impacts. There’s also a patented peak design that’s not only flexible and conforming, it also breaks off instantly in an impact to enhance neck protection and reduce injury thanks to specially designed fixings. Both these features help ensure this lid meets the latest e-bike safety standard too.
What’s different from POC’s road bike lids is the extended head coverage, that reaches a long way down the back of the head. The Kortal’s rear coverage goes right the way down to the nape of the neck and on either side of the ears. It’s deeply cut out, so there’s a thick piece of polycarbonate shell and padding down over the temples and the portion behind the ear. POC also includes a hidden RECCO reflector that helps emergency services find you if something goes badly wrong in the mountains.
Kortal sizes come up pretty big, so our medium needed to be in its uppermost cradle height position to fit well. Which made it difficult to squeeze our fingers inside the bottom rear of the shell and twist the dial to tension the wraparound headband. The deep ear cutaways just about touched ear tips in this position too, but sitting so deeply does mean coverage literally couldn’t be any better; the Kortal extends right down over the back of the skull, fully covers temples and almost comes to the eyebrows at the forehead.
Internal padding is well positioned and manages to perfectly balance minimalism with sufficient comfort and coverage, while letting air really pump over the scalp. Pads run in thin channels lengthways inside and there are no lumps or touchpoints in the inner shell to rub or dig in. POC’s forehead vents work a treat too, channelling enough cooling breeze onto the brow to keep you chill when things get lairy.
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Overall, POC’s Kortal is a comfy helmet with good cooling, deep coverage and top quality styling, but none of that escapes the fact you can get a helmet with many more features and just as much comfort for significantly less from plenty of other brands.