Swedish protection specialist POC is well known for its clean design. Their Otocon Race MIPS lightweight full-face helmet is distinctly recognisable as a POC, taking on the competition in our 2023 lightweight helmet comparison test with several high-tech safety features.
The POC Otocon Race MIPS shares the same distinctive silhouette as POC’s downhill helmet, the Coron Air DH, but relies on significantly more vent holes. Retailing at € 330, the Otocon is available in four sizes, XS to L, offering a suitable option even for riders with a small head, starting from a 48 cm circumference. Our test helmet in size L tips the scales at 842 g, making it one of the heaviest helmets in the entire test field. The fit can be adjusted via a rotary dial, which is seamlessly integrated into the rear of the shell. The retention system is height-adjustable between three different positions, without having to detach and reconnect the whole system – just pull up and down! This allows you to dial in the right fit in no time. In addition, the fit can be fine-tuned with the help of different-size cheek pads, which are included in the box.
The Otocon consists of four layers. Inside is a MIPS Integra liner, which is there to dissipate rotational impact. Above this is a layer of soft EPP foam to help absorb smaller impacts, followed by a layer of traditional EPS foam to deal with bigger hits, topped off with a durable PC outer shell. POC have also integrated some clever tech to keep you safe in the event of a crash – a RECCO transponder should help rescuers find you in inaccessible locations, and an NFC chip can store important details such as blood type and emergency contact details. The flexible visor comes with a removable plastic extension that can be used in particularly nasty weather conditions to keep your goggles clean, and the chin bar has a removable mud grille. Rounding out the clever details, the bottom of the helmet has small rubber stoppers to prevent the shell from being scratched once you’ve taken it off.
When you wear the Otocon for the first time, it feels like a full-on downhill helmet. The integrated retaining system makes it easier to slip the helmet over the head, and at first, the fit is strongly reminiscent of a downhill-specific helmet. The Otocon fits well on all sorts of heads, enclosing the head rather well and thus inspiring plenty of confidence on the trail. That said, the Otocon fails to match the outstanding “head-wrap” feeling of the Bluegrass Vanguard Core. The POC also offers one of the narrowest fields of vision in this test, but this didn’t affect us on the trail. Ventilation isn’t great either compared to the rest of the test field, with the Otocon warming up rather quickly due to the massive chin bar – we definitely recommend removing the mud grille on hot summer days! On rainy days, they’re a great feature, keeping the trail out of your mouth. The cheek pads are positioned quite far back, keeping them off your face and making the inner climate a little more comfortable.
In typical POC fashion, the Otocon impresses with a sleek design, excellent fit and plenty of high-tech safety features. Amongst the lightweight helmets in this test, the Otocon delivers the most realistic DH-helmet feeling, which comes with some pros and cons. While it can’t quite keep up with the rest of the test field in terms of ventilation and field of vision, the Otocon impresses with a secure, comfortable fit and some clever practical features, inspiring a great deal of confidence on the trail.
- Countless safety features
- Inspires huge amounts of confidence
- Countless safety features
- Average ventilation
- Not the widest field of vision
For more information, visit pocsports.com.
For an overview of the group test: 9 lightweight and convertible full-face mountain bike helmets in review
All fullface helmets in test: Bell Super Air R Spherical (Click for review) | Bluegrass Vanguard Core Edition (Click for review) | Fox Proframe RS (Click for review) | Giro Insurgent (Click for review) | MET Parachute MCR (Click for review) | POC Otocon Race MIPS | Specialized Gambit (Click for review) | Troy Lee Designs Stage (Click for review) | Uvex Revolt MIPS (Click for review)
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker