The popular Ventral helmet by POC is part of a bright orange package from the Swedish brand. AVIP stands for ‘Attention Visibility Interaction Protection’, an initiative that highlights the safety benefits that come with being more visible…
Product review by Rob Arnold
The helmet I’ve been riding with for over a year, POC’s Ventral (which I have in MIPS and Lite), is now brighter than ever. It is a product I know well and one that I believe saved me… at least from a concussion, and maybe more. Thankfully, it has been the one and only crash but I’m glad I had the helmet on when it happened.
If you like putting your helmet on before a ride, you know you’ve found a good one.
The POC range suits me. It took a while to get used to the look but that’s less of a concern than many other factors when deciding what helmet to wear.
RAW Review (above): random comments (about POC helmet, sunglasses and long tights)
Once I got the sizing right – and it really does help if you can try before you buy – I was converted to the POC’s Ventral range and have worn it almost exclusively for over a year.
The original review sample sent was a large (56-61cm) but that was soon swapped for medium (54-59cm) and the fit was perfect. Onwards I would ride, POC Ventral on my head, happy that it helped out in that one incident when I landed on my helmet first, then did a body-slam to fracture three ribs.
Damage was minimal. POC saw the photos. POC replaced the helmet.
My ribs eventually repaired themselves but there was no hint of any damage to my head even though the helmet took a considerable hit on course bitumen after my fall at about 50km/h.
If the helmet spares you from injury during a crash, it has done its job. If it has done its job, however, it is likely that you will need to replace it.*
It’s also worth noting that often cycling helmets should be retired and replaced after a certain span of time. As POC explains it: “We recommend helmets should be replaced every one-to-five years dependent on several factors. First and foremost, if you are involved in a crash that results in abnormalities to your health we strongly suggest replacing your helmet before your next ride… Second, if you notice imperfections in the shell or foam liner of the helmet such as dents, gouges, or dimples – we recommend replacing your helmet.”
Materials can also deteriorate over time particularly after considerable exposure to sunlight, so updates can be necessary even if you haven’t had a need for the helmet do its intended job.
POC Ventral AVIP MIPS – details
- Weight (medium): 292 grams
- Cost (in Australia in June 2023): AUD$375
- Sizes: Small (50-56cm), Medium (54-59cm), Large (56-61cm)
- Colour selection: Flourescent orange (ie. ‘AVIP’), ‘Himilayan Salt Matt’, ‘Hydrogen White Matt’, ‘Hydrogen White’, ‘Uranium Black Matt’, ‘Uranium Black’, ‘Prismane Red Matt’, ‘Lead Blue Matt’
- Australian Standards Approval
- Adjustable strapping
- Rear tension adjustment (by POC)
Colours aren’t only about fashion
For many years I’ve had the luxury of riding with a wide range of cycling products as part of my job. With this in mind, I’ve lost count of the number of helmets I’ve used. It has, after all, been over 35 years since laws were introduced in Australia making helmets mandatory.
Designs have changed considerably in that time and many factors influence the look (and feel) of helmets, including a quest for a lightweight, comfortable item. Aerodynamics and ventilation are also worth considering… and so too the colour.
When I’m asked to review helmets in 2023, my first request is for it “not to be a dark colour, please”.
The AVIP orange is so bright it almost glows! And as much as I love the all-white aesthetic of the Ventral MIPS I so often ride with, the latest release is far more visible out on the roads.
If all goes well, helmets will never actually do what they are intended to do. But crashes happen and, when they do, helmets can significantly limit the damage. I’ve done many interviews with riders over the years and more than once have I heard words to the effect of “the helmet saved my life”.
One thing that surprises me when I’m riding these days is how often I see other cyclists in all-black kit, even in the short, dark days of winter when the outfit extends to include jackets and leg warms… all black remains the go-to for many.
Cycling has evolved dramatically of late and the technology now exists to make the activity safer than ever. This includes the use of rechargeable, easy-to-fit lights – even in the daytime. It’s not mandatory but it does help increase the chance that you are seen while on the bike.
The same concept applies to what we wear: you don’t have to be bright but it certainly helps negate that age-old excuse used by motorists when there’s been an accident. “I just didn’t see you.”
Yes, accidents happen because of many variables: speed, slippery conditions, or even outright aggression. But visibility is also a factor.
On almost every early morning ride I see cyclists in black, black and more black, some without lights and sometimes with little regard for the other road users. It irks me, but there’s no point in lecturing even when I’m tempted to call out what seems stupid to me.
I’ve got black kit and some of it is first-class, high-end clothing. This usually stays in the cupboard simply because I don’t want to risk blending into the shadows and not being seen. If I’m on the trails or riding in the middle of the day, I might break it out and put it to use but my clothing choice for cycling is more about comfort and safety than kowtowing to any fashion trend.
Black is classic. It is appropriate for clothing on many occasions but the black helmet I have rarely gets used.
That’s a long way of getting to the point about AVIP. It does as the words suggest: draws Attention by creating Visibility ensuring an Interaction with other road users, thus providing Protection. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.
And the orange doesn’t come with a price premium (so add another win to that summary).
I remember the 1980s. I know what it was like to live through the trend of fluorescent clothing… and, in my appraisal, it wasn’t really pretty. Bright kit probably won’t help you too much at a nightclub, but we don’t wear helmets on the dancefloor.
We wear helmets when we ride our bikes and want to be seen. We wear bright clothing while cycling because we want to be seen. It’s all so logical that I find it odd that I’m even spelling it out with this review, but I’m doing so because… well, orange isn’t really my first colour of choice for much other than fruit. Still, I love what POC has done with this brighter than bright orange range of products.
Watch the video (above) to see how the AVIP orange changes in various early-morning light…
During the unboxing, as I pulled each item out of the packaging, I tried it on and paraded around my house getting opinions from my family. “You can’t miss it,” she said.
“Dad, you are surely going to get noticed now,” said my teenager.
And the cat? Well, not sure what it actually meant but I think she was suggesting something along the lines of: “Aaargh, my eyes! It’s so bright… I don’t know what to do other than run away.”
There were a few giggles because of how obvious the orange is but also plenty of compliments. “It actually looks pretty good,” she concluded when I completed the outfit – helmet, gloves, jacket, sunglasses and socks. And I agree.
When I started riding with AVIP on it soon became apparent that others liked what they saw. Compliments about the kit are common when I’m on the bike, or even when I pull up at the coffee shop.
There’s a reason why tradies and road workers wear bright orange vests. It helps ensure that they are seen, that they are safe to do their jobs, that they don’t risk injury by blending into the shadows. The same applies when riding a bike on roads when others are around.
This is a winning combination in my mind and even if someone thinks I look a little funny, they’re welcome to have a laugh but it won’t stop me from using it again. The fit is good, the POC pitch resonates with me, and the colour makes cycling safer.
– By Rob Arnold
*POC’s crash replacement policy
“If you damage your POC helmet in a crash within 24 months of the original purchase we offer a 35% discount off the retail price on a replacement helmet.”
For more, see: https://au.pocsports.com/pages/faq