Mountain biking is different from riding your bike to work. You need protection that has heightened safety features to keep you in one piece. Bike riders will always agree: the most important piece of protection you carry is absolutely your mountain bike helmet.
Helmets that are designed for mountain biking are sturdier and can generally protect you from harder impacts than a regular helmet. When you’re riding on rocky, steep, and rough terrain, you need the best protection you can get. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about helmets for mountain biking, as well as the best helmets out there.
POC Sport is a Swedish based company specializing in clothing and protective gear for cycling and skiing. Like Fox and Bell, POC mountain bike helmets are regarded as some of the best in the industry and have the coolest designs in our opinion.
If you’re looking for the best POC helmets you can take on your rugged rides, here are the top 3.
POC Tectal Mountain Biking Helmet
- FEATURES: Includes an EPS liner, outer PC shell, and unibody shell construction
- PROTECTION: Aramid fiber grid for protection and durability
- FULL COVERAGE: Designed to provide more coverage at the temples and back of the head
- FIT FOR YOU: Size adjustment and adjustable visor
- EXTRAS: Recco reflector
The Tectal is a POC mountain bike helmet that maintains a high safety standard without sacrificing the comfort and performance you need. This helmet is also super lightweight, thanks to the EPS liner and outer PC shell. This helmet is so highly regarded that it’s even awarded for quality and safety.
With this helmet, you get ample ventilation that you’ll love on hot summer rides. It stays cooler, while offering extra coverage. Even better, it gives you an easy adjustment system as well as an adjustable visor.
- Includes visor and Recco reflector
- Developed to perform in aggressive riding conditions
- Includes superior safety features and durability
- May sit higher on the head than other models, depending on head shape
POC Trabec MTB Helmet
- PROTECTION: Features an EPS liner, outer PC shell, and aramid fiber grid for protection and durability
- FULL COVERAGE: Designed to provide more coverage at temples and back of the head
- FIT FOR YOU: Size adjustment system
- VENTED: Aerodynamic ventilation channel system with 16 vent slots
- FEATURES: Adjustable visor
If you’re looking for a POC MTB helmet that gives you temple to the back of head protection and plenty of durability, you’ll love the POC Trabec. This model includes a comfortable, protective EPS inner layer coupled with an aramid fiber, which adds in extra protection and makes this helmet even more durable. You’ll get plenty of ventilation and a comfortable, easy adjustment system.
What a lot of riders really love about this helmet (aside from the heavy-duty protection it provides) is how ‘breezy’ the ventilation system makes it feel. In fact, the ventilation system includes an impressive 16 vents.
- Ventilation system uses 16 vents and aerodynamic design to keep you cool
- Covers more surface area than other models
- Easy adjustment system
- Needs special attention to sizing when ordering
POC – Receptor Bug Mountain Bike Helmet
- PROTECTION: Featuring Ventilated Double Shell Anti-Penetration system (VDSAP) made up of two ventilated shells that are placed offset for maximum protection against penetration from sharp objects, while maintaining good airflow and ventilation.
- LINER Has an in-mold EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) liner, where the strength lies in its versatility and protection against single impact accidents.
- DURABILITY: Made from a robust ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) shell that ensures helmet strength and integrity.
- FEATURES: Detachable goggle clip, ear pads, and neckroll.
- COLOR OPTIONS: Comes in 6 colors with matte finish, features 6 different sizes, and weighs 500 grams.
The Receptor Bug is an award winning helmet that couples great design with incredible protection. It includes double shells for added protection but includes ventilation in both so you never have to feel stuffy to be safe. You get the highest impact protection out there with this helmet, which makes it a winning pick.
This super durable helmet has a flexible, protective EPS liner and ABS shell, both of which ensure the helmet holds up to the same protection as the day you bought it.
- Uses double shell anti penetration system with ventilation (VDSAP)
- Make for durable integrity
- Attractive matte finish and design make this helmet even more appealing
- Helmets may run small
Mountain Bike Helmet Certification
Mountain biking helmets are graded and tested for safety so that bikers can have confidence in the protection they purchase. While there is one mandatory test that mountain biking helmets must pass to be on the market, there are plenty of other safety certifications that can inform your choice.
The EN1078 is a mandatory test for safety certification that all mountain biking helmets must pass, and it’s a detailed process. First, helmets have to be impact tested with 8 various head forms, and under various temperature and conditioning scenarios. This provides a better picture of how the helmet will perform under stress and with age.
If you are wondering what the most important features to look for in a good mountain biking helmet are, read on to see what you should be checking out.
While this feature pretty much goes without saying, you do need to look at your helmet’s safety certifications. At the very least, it should have the minimum safety certification standard (EN1078, ASTM F1952-15, or NTA8776, depending on the country you’re in). Although, the more safety credentials the helmet has backing it, the better.
Full Face Vs Open Face
There are two main design options for mountain biking helmets: full face and open face. Open face helmets leave the face unobstructed, and are more similar to the regular biking helmets you’re familiar with. Full face helmets do offer more protective coverage, and for many people, they’re the ideal option for mountain biking. They do offer less visibility and ventilation than open face helmets, so many times your choice will depend on where you’re riding and for how long.
An uncomfortable helmet isn’t one you want to wear, even though it’s a necessity. Sometimes discomfort can be due to padding, the shape or form of the helmet, or even improper sizing. Since a mountain biking helmet is an important investment, it’s a good idea to try one on in person whenever possible to ensure you’re comfortable in it.
Some helmets can only take a single impact; unfortunately, the level of severity of the impact can be pretty subjective, at least among riders. However, some helmets do offer discounted replacements in the case of a crash. This isn’t a necessary feature per se, but it is a nice future money saver.
Finding the Suitable Size for your POC Helmet
Helmets come in a wide variety of sizes and fits, so it’s important to make sure you get the right fit. First, if the helmet is uncomfortably tight, then it isn’t the right fit. A mountain biking helmet should be snug all over, without excess pressure in any area.
When you put on the helmet it should rest an inch or so above your eyebrows. Any lower and you could end up with obscured vision. Also make sure there’s enough room for you to wear glasses, goggles, or other protective eye gear. When you measure to order with a sizing chart, make sure to measure around your head at the widest point, horizontally.
This guide has everything you need to get to riding on rough terrain with the best helmet to protect you. While we’ve pointed out the top 3 POC mountain biking helmets on the market, if you do choose to search on your own remember: safety trumps all other features.