POC Octal Raceday helmet review

High on function and safety — if you can handle the look

The Octal offers more side-of-head coverage than most road helmets.

The Octal offers more side-of-head coverage than most road helmets (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: POC Octal Raceday Helmet

The relative importance of fashion versus function will go a long way as to how you feel about the POC Octal Raceday helmet. If the somewhat bulbous, Lego-head shape doesn’t mesh with your on-bike sense of style, it’s a safe bet this polarizing brain protector isn’t for you. Alternatively, if you place highest value on air flow, adjustability, comfort, and safety, the POC Octal should be on your short list when it comes time to pull the trigger on a new helmet. Read our full review below to learn more.

Stat Box
Weight: 240 grams (size medium) Certifications: CPSC 12.03, AS/NZS2063-2008
Vents: 21 Safety: Scanable ICE Dot tag (app required)
Padding: Temperature regulated MSRP: $240
Color options: Black, pink, blue, red, white, navy Rating: 3.5 Stars 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sizes: Small, medium, large

  • Very well vented
  • Polarizing look
  • Degree of vertical adjustability
  • Not overly aero
  • Sunglasses port
  • Small adjustment dial
  • Lay-flat straps
  • No strap adjustment at ears
  • Reasonably low weight
  • Minimalist padding
  • Extended side of head protection
  • Thin cage plastic
  • Straps molded into liner
  • Snug fit with cycling cap
  • Multiple color options
  • Expensive
  • ICE Dot notification integration

Review: POC Octal Raceday Helmet

I’ll be honest. I don’t love the way this helmet looks. It just doesn’t “accentuate” my narrow head shape. And for better or worse looks do matter, especially when there are so many quality road cycling helmet choices. But get past aesthetics, and the POC Octal Raceday is a true marvel of functionality.

The helmet’s 240-gram weight is middle of the pack in the realm of higher end lids. Giro’s Synthe is 5 grams heavier, while the Kask Protone is about 20 grams less.

The helmet’s 240-gram weight is middle of the pack in the realm of higher end lids. Giro’s Synthe is 5 grams heavier, while the Kask Protone is about 20 grams less (click to enlarge).

Start with its venting, which is among the best I’ve experienced. There are helmets with more than the Octal’s 21 vents. But few match it on air flow. The biggie-sized openings (including deep internal channels) allow air to easily pass from front to back, helping keep you cool on even the hottest days.

The Octal also gets high marks for adjustability, thanks to its multi-position vertical tabs and rear cinch dial. Some users may pine for some give-and-take around the ears, but the fixed strap splitters fit my dimensions fine, and they lay flat on your head, meaning no annoying twisting or wind flap.

Continue to page 2 for more of our POC Octal Raceday helmet review »

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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