POC's lightweight full-face helmet is bright and breezy, but exceptionally comfortable – if you can get your head around the price.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

POC Otocon Race Helmet


  • • Lightweight
  • • Superb cooling, drying and ventilation
  • • Stable and comfortable
  • • Good view and unmuffled hearing


  • • Expensive
  • • Chin pads could be fixed in place better


I’ve tested dozens of full-face helmets, and POC’s Otocon Race is the best lightweight model I’ve ever used


Price as reviewed:


Around five or six years ago, a slew of lightweight full-face helmets hit the market. They aimed to address the (at the time) new demands of enduro racing, and how riders on longer travel bikes were looking for extra protection at speeds modern enduro rigs can handle, and the best examples of these lightweight full-face helmets did that without sacrificing too much ventilation and cooling.

A kind of half-way house between traditional full and open face lids, the new breed targeted saving teeth and cheek bones without melting heads when climbing or pedalling extended liaison sections. These enduro lids typically weigh around 400g or more less than a full-on downhill helmet using cushier padding and a thicker shell that sit closer to motocross lids in terms of dimensions, weight and safety.

This new category brings multiple options of both fixed and convertible (removeable chinbar) models with varying levels of coverage and features for trail riders, enduro racers and e-bikers. POC’s Otocon is one such product and with a rounded yet slightly angular shape that mirrors the lines of a modern carbon enduro frame, looks pretty darn good to me.

The Swedish brand offers six colours and four sizes to ensure perfect fit, and also two different models, including this one with the popular Mips rotational impact protection system.

POC Otocon lightweight full-face helmet shot outdoors

You can remove the front grill for additional airflow on the POC Otocon Race, but we didn’t feel the need.

Design and specification

POC’s Mips liner is of the high-end ‘Integra’ variety, and so seamlessly integrated inside so you can barely see it, never mind actually feel it while wearing the helmet. Forget about a continuous yellow plastic liner; instead, the Otocon uses a kind of updated version of POC’s SPIN system, where rotational impact safety is essentially boiled down to internal pads providing protection against glancing blows instead of a bulky, ventilation-reducing, plastic Mips layer.

The design works by sliding on the slightly thicker pads themselves in an impact, especially over the front brow band piece that uses a special ‘slippery’ coating. The design is both cooler and lighter than traditional Mips liners.

To cool further, there are huge slotted vents across the skull (much like POC’s open face Kortal) and also a trio of narrow slotted vents under the front upper part that pump air directly onto the brow. Popping out the mesh guard on the chinbar allows even more air to flow onto the face, but I found this unnecessary as ventilation and through-flow is so good anyway.

POC uses a dual material liner with both expanded polystyrene in the upper portion and multi-impact expanded polypropylene on the chinbar and around the ears and nape of the neck. The two materials deal better with different impact energies, and the EPP in the lower part improves durability, while the expanded polystyrene upper keeps weight low.

To support the Otocon’s integrity should it get smashed into a load of rocks, aramid bridges are moulded into the shell to enhance structural stability and resist penetration, and there’s an injection-moulded cage around the face for extra strength and stability. The fully-wrapped outer is also constructed from tough polycarbonate to resist everyday bumps and knocks.

POC Otocon lightweight full-face helmet shot outdoors

The integrated retention dial on the POC Otocon Race is really neat, and easy to find.

Race Lock is POC’s retention system used here. It’s essentially a twist dial (similar to those found on Specialized helmets like the highly rated Gambit) built into the actual shell, rather than part of a separate ‘cradle and wheel’, like on most rival lids. There’s broad range of tensioning with fine increments and a full wrap-around feel that’s very comfortable on the head. The Otocon also has a patented breakaway peak, so it shouldn’t spin your head violently if you smash it into the deck.

Both cheek pads are removeable, and an extra set are included to tune fit. Because the Otocon is so airy, I rode with thick cheek pads for comfort and extra stability and had zero issues with overheating.

On the more ‘digital’ tech side, there’s also a RECCO reflector, so your body can be found if you spanner yourself in the middle of nowhere, and the capacity to store medical data for your rescuers or co-riders powered by NFC and Twice Me buried inside the shell.

POC Otocon lightweight full-face helmet shot outdoors

As you’d expect from POC, the Otocon Race is a sleek and classy design, that’s still distinctive.


Some products are just so dialled it’s hard to nit-pick even minor faults, and POC’s superb Otocon is one of them. Every aspect of the design, from the subtle styling, to cooling, protection and fit, is first class. All fixings, the retention system, the large viewing slot, and the padding, is pretty much perfect, but, for me, it’s the lightweight feel, ventilation, and rapid cooling properties that are properly outstanding.

The Otocon fits as good as rival brands like Giro and Troy Lee – both renowned for comfort – but POC’s lid steps it up a level by having an even more transparent feel on the head. And, even with extra cooling airflow across the brow and scalp, and a lightweight feel, it’s totally planted and never wriggles or bounces even on the very roughest DH tracks.

POC Otocon lightweight full-face helmet shot outdoors

Another view of that built-in retention device on the POC Otocon Race.

POC’s clever fit adjustment system allows dialling-in the perfect level of tension without any pinch points and, crucially, also without any dials or tensioning wheels to potentially dig in at the nape of the neck. The minimal yet effective way it wraps the skull is the best full-face retention design I’ve used to date, and my sense is having the area at the back of the skull uncluttered also allows better airflow and venting on hotter days.

Key to the airy coolness appears to be the narrow brow ports funnelling drying air onto the forehead and effectively stopping sweat running into eyes or goggles, which combines with how the internal pads are both super comfy, absorbent and very fast drying.

POC Otocon lightweight full-face helmet shot outdoors

Additional safety tech goes some way to justifying the high price tag. 

POC’s view out of the front seems at least as good as any competitor too; there’s no letterbox sensation, and a really wide field of vision in all directions and tons of room to slot-in goggles of different brands (I used Smith Rhythms that meshed perfectly).

If I’m being especially picky, POCs chin pads can come loose occasionally if you roughly remove the helmet or chuck it about a bit in transit. You also need to ensure the rear Race Lock retention piece is tucked backwards when you put your head in, or it can flip up inside the top of the helmet and not tension properly. This is easy enough to do with one hand though, and no different from a lot of other lids in having to hold it open a tad while getting inside.

Finally, some riders might also want a rapid locking magnetic Fidlock chin buckle, but I actually prefer the lighter, more minimal clasp design that’s well out of the way and invisible on the chin.


POC’s Otocon is the best lightweight full-face mountain bike helmet I’ve tested. It looks great off and on, and survived a torturous week of being hammered down some of the roughest trails in Italy in scorching weather without flinching. Unlike so many other products I test, there’s barely a single major design feature I’d change. With superb ventilation, fit, comfort and cooling, the only downside is the price, which at £300 is right at the upper end of the market for this Mips version.


Colours:6 options
Sizes:XS (48-52cm), S (51-54cm), M (55-58cm), L (59-62cm)
Weight:765g (M)