Accessibility Widget: On | Off
First Ride: POC Kortal Helmet and Devour Riding Glasses

Founded in 2005, POC (which is short for “Piece Of Cake”) got started in the alpine ski industry where it almost single-handedly made wearing helmets “cool” after Julia Mancuso took home a giant slalom Olympic Gold Medal wearing a distinctively shaped POC lid. Since those times, the company has made a big investment in cycling as well, and their catalog has grown exponentially over the last few years. We previously tested the Tectal all-mountain half-shell with great results, and today POC is adding another open face option which is said to take the level of protection up another notch. Read on to find out what we think of the all-new Kortal after a handful of rides.

POC Kortal Race MIPS Highlights

POC Devour Clarity Highlights

  • Patented breakaway peak – designed to snap off in a crash to enhance neck protection and reduce the chance of injury
  • MIPS Integra – all-new integrated rotational impact protection from MIPS 
  • NFC Medical ID - store your vital medical info and emergency contacts within the helmet so first responders can instantly get the information they need
  • RECCO reflector - helps rescue services easily and quickly locate you if something goes wrong
  • Standards: EN1078, CPSC 1203, AS-NZS, NTA 8776 (Dutch speed pedelec/e-bike helmet standard)
  • Goggle compatible - The helmet gives a seamless fit with the POC Ora goggles, which fit underneath the peak when not in use
  • Eye garage – storage created at the rear of the helmet
  • Adjustable 360° Fit - makes it easy to find a secure, comfortable fit.
  • Uninterrupted ventilation - ensures goggle strap does not cover any ventilation ports.
  • Unibody shell - enhances the structural integrity of the helmet
  • EPS Liner - A lightweight EPS liner gives optimized protection
  • Extended Protection - Extended zones around the temples and back of the head give extra protection in risk areas
  • Weight: 483 (size L, verified)
  • MSRP: $250 USD / €250 EUR (Kortal Race Mips), $200 USD / €200 EUR (Kortal)
  • Clarity lens - developed in partnership with Carl Zeiss, gives optimum control of the color spectrum for unparalleled vision on the road and trails
  • Exceptional field of view - providing riders with lots of visual information and a better ability to react
  • Adjustable temples (length and grip) - The length and grip of the temples can easily be adjusted for a personalized fit on any head shape
  • Adjustable nose piece - A soft, adjustable nose piece in grippy rubber provides a precise and secure fit
  • Ri-Pel treatment - the Ri-Pel hydrophobic and oleophobic treatment protects from dirt, water, sweat, salt, oil and dust
  • Anti-scratch  - reduces the risk of surface damage for clearer vision
  • Interchangeable lens –a simple mechanism making it easier to exchange lenses when light conditions change
  • Complete UV protection (UV400) - complete protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Spare lens - comes with an extra lens (clear)
  • Soft carrying pouch - the pouch can also be used as a polishing cloth
  • MSRP: $250 USD / €250 EUR

Initial Impressions

Our Kortal Race MIPS sample showed up in signature POC orange, and the least you can say is that it makes an entrance. The Kortal is big, with a thick shell and a bold, angular shape that is a big departure from the rounded and streamlined appearance of the Tectal. In case you wondered what the “AVIP” acronym on the helmet stands for, it’s “Attention Visibility Interaction Protection” – the idea that big blocky shapes and bright colors will help you be more visible, a POC design concept first implemented in their road cycling goods. It should be noted that what POC sometimes calls a size “Large” is more like an “Extra Large” in many other brands – it covers heads measuring 59-62 cms. Accordingly, the comparison shots below are slightly skewed, as they show our size L Kortal next to our size M/L Tectal.

Tectal on the left, Kortal on the right.
Photo

Digging into the safety features, we find the very latest technology from MIPS, called “MIPS Integra”; basically a low-friction layer that sits directly on the EPS shell and provides the comfort liner a certain degree of rotational freedom against it. MIPS Integra offers several advantage over classic MIPS, not least the fact that it no longer requires the addition of a dedicated “slip plane” to sit between the liner and the helmet shell, which gives designers more space to play with again. Also, MIPS Integra doesn’t squeak and creak when you move the helmet around, something which would often plague helmets equipped with classic MIPS. The pads of the comfort liner itself are filled with some sort of gel-like substance, very similar to what POC called “SPIN” on the Tectal (short for “Shearing Pads INside”). These silicone pads add to the overall comfort level but also do provide some degree of rotational freedom as well, further adding to the MIPS-effect (POC has confirmed that they are moving everything to MIPS over time, so don’t expect any further emphasis on the old SPIN stuff).

Photo

Other safety features include a Recco radar reflector, intended to help rescue crews locate you in case of an incident occurring off the beaten path. There’s also an NFC-chip that can store your vital medical information and serve it up to an NFC-reader equipped first responder should they find you unconscious and unable to provide important medical information like blood type or severe allergies (we demonstrated how this feature works in our Tectal review on Gear Show). These features feel a bit more like “gadgets”, but it’s not hard to imagine scenarios where they could actually save your life and as such, props to POC for continuing to push the envelope here.

Photo
Photo

To round off the safety features overview, the visor is designed to snap off in a crash to prevent it snagging and potentially causing your head to twist, and the EPS liner has been extended around the head to cover critical areas as much as possible. An “Aramid Bridge” provides extra strength in the outer part of the shell. The Kortal meets the new NTA 8776 standard, a Dutch speed pedelec/e-bike helmet standard that imposes more demanding impact tests than the traditional EN and CPSC standards.

Photo
Photo
Photo

On the comfort side of things, The Kortal features the classic internal harness, which can be adjusted in circumference and height. The chin straps can be adjusted to fit perfectly to either side of your ears. The comfort liner is relatively minimalistic, and sits out of the way of the massive air vents that traverse the Kortal from the front to the back. The breakaway visor can be adjusted and moved up to provide storage space for goggles.

Photo
Photo

Coinciding with the launch of the Kortal, POC is also introducing new riding glasses. The Devour Clarity glasses were designed to mimic the look and feel of a goggle, without the frame and strap. A lightweight frame holds the single, big lens in place, and both the temples and the nose piece can be adjust to fit your face. The lens was developed by Carl Zeiss, engineered to provide optimal clarity and contrast. It’s available in several different tints, with a “Ri-Pel” hydrophobic and oleophobic treatment that protects the lens from dirt, water, sweat, salt, oil and dust.

Photo
Photo
Photo
Photo

On The Trail

As we mentioned in the first part of this article, POC’s size L is more like an XL in other brands. Consequentially, our size L/XL sample is on the big side for this tester, who usually wears a M/L in POC helmets. Nevertheless, we were still able to cinch it down enough to be able to use it properly, and it still proved to be very stable in action.

Photo

The level of comfort is high, and the ventilation is highly effective. The ability to fine tune the fit both in terms of circumference and height of the internal harness as well as the position of the chin straps where they cradle the ear are big plusses. The design of the straps also gives the helmet a very clean look. 

Photo
Photo

The Kortal was designed to fit perfectly with POC’s own Ora goggles, and they do indeed work great together on the trail. We salute POC for providing space for the goggle strap where it won’t obstruct the ventilation channels, something that not all brands have been able to pull off to date. 

Photo
Photo

The new Devour riding glasses had us scoffing a bit at first, if you attempt to wear them without the helmet be prepared for some funny looks (unless you happen to be driving your purple Lambo to a Euro-zone nightclub in which case they would probably fit right in with the rest of your attire). However, once on the trail, we were won over. The “Clarity” lens lives up to its name, and the overall experience is really positive. The field of vision is as wide as with a goggle, but you still get the extra ventilation and general feeling of “lightness” of a pair of sunglasses. The temples are adjustable in length which helped us get a secure fit, and the nose piece can be adjusted in width as well. All in all, the Devours are dialed and they complement the new helmet well (we’ve also used them with other helmets to great success).

Photo
Photo

Photo

What’s The Bottom Line?

POC usually takes a safety first approach to their designs, and the new Kortal half-shell helmet is no exception. Loaded with innovative safety features, it was made for riders who like to get rowdy while wearing less than a full-face lid. Get it with or without the new MIPS Integra system – in either case you get a helmet that fits well, offers plenty of ventilation and that passes new standards for impact protection. Complete your look and benefit from great vision on the trail with a pair of the adjustable Devour riding glasses.

More information at: www.pocsports.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 47 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord


View key specs, compare products, and rate the Kortal Helmet and Devour Glasses in the Vital MTB Product Guide.

Create New Tag
5 comments
Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment