POC Cortex DH – First Look

by Brian Mullin on March 19, 2010

Go to http://www.gramslightbikes.com/2010/07/poc-cortex-dh-review.html for the full review!

The Swedish based POC company was predominantly a snow sport protection company, and they have always had safety at the forefront of their research and technology. They have recently morphed over into the biking protection world, and their full faced Cortex DH helmet is their epitome of safety standards. The POC Cortex DH uses an innovative 2 layer shell, a lightweight carbon fiber wrapped around their aramid (aromatic polyamide) reinforced in-mold liner. The liner has a thin shell of polycarbonate covering the multi-impact Super EPP (expanded polypropylene) core. The double overlapping shell design, uses their VDSAP (Ventilated Double Shell Anti Penetration), allowing a fully ventilated construction with maximum comfort without sacrificing penetration resistance or impact energy management. Future versions of the helmet can be  equipped with the patented MIPS system to reduce the rotational forces to the brain in case of an oblique impact.

Wow, that a head full of techno babble, but when it comes to safety, and especially with my noggin, I am all for it!

The chin bar size and distance have been optimized for protection, without sacrificing breathability. The Cortex DH has a plethora of vents, over the top, the sides, under the visor, and next to the ears. They have something they call “Ear Chambers”, which are designed for increased equilibrium, balance, and ability to hear better on the trails.

Impressions
It was a nice warm day to take the POC Cortex DH full face helmet out for its maiden voyage. The helmet comes in 2 sizes, and my 59.5 cm head fit just perfect in the L/XL size. I am used to wearing a street motorcycle helmet, so it felt pretty normal shoving my head into the helmet. At first the upper edge of the helmet padding seemed slightly hard, and it poked me in the brow, but after wearing it for a few minutes it softened. It was surprisingly comfortable, and I had no pinch spots.

The only trouble is, how the heck do you spit with it on?

Once you start moving the subtle ventilation ports actually start working just fine, and the helmet stays fairly cool (for a full faced helmet). The adjustable visor offered lots of shade relief for the face, and acted as a great air scoop. I wore sunglasses with the helmet, since I completely forgot about getting a set of goggles for it? I immediately felt a greater sense of security wearing the helmet, and it even made me creep up the speeds in many sections of my usual rock gardens. I always worry about what could happen if you took a chin dive onto the rocks with a normal helmet? Sure it will do fine for a head first shot (done plenty of those), but what about chin first or anything oblique?

I had to get used to the subtle roar that the wind would create when you got going, a combination of the vents and the visor, sort of felt like the after burners kicking in. I got to speak with someone when I had the helmet on, and I had no issues with a conversation, so the little ear opening/ports do just fine. I had worn my normal helmet when rode up the trail, figuring (rightfully so) that I was going to get quite hot with a full faced helmet. With the POC on I did a long rolling traverse out in the sun, and it was fine until I started to pull up some steep terrain and my head built up some heat. Since I wasn’t moving fat enough, the venting system wasn’t coming into play, and I soon had to take the helmet off. Breathing inside the helmet was fine, albeit somewhat slightly constrained.

All things considered, the POC Cortex DH a great helmet! It increased my safety and my speeds. It was slightly hot when I started to do hard XC riding, but that is to be expected, it’s not that kind of helmet. I think I would bring both my helmets if I was going to be doing some hard grinds up followed by a wicked steep and rocky downs. I really liked the simple buckle closure system, it was easy to adjust and put on. I am looking forward to some more continued adventures on the steep and gnarly!

Specs
Color: White
Size: M-L (55-57cm), and L-XL (58-60cm).
Weight: 1050 grams
MSRP: $599

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