Mountain Bike Action Product Test: POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC Helmet

POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC Helmet

As one of the biggest producers of protection products around, POC has quite the distinguished reputation. The Swedish brand sets high goals for safety, and its continuous push has led POC to add features for even more protection. The popular Tectal series has already scored high in terms of safety, but POC decided to go further by adding safety features to the all-new Tectal Race SPIN NFC helmet.

Tech features:

The tagline for the new product is, “The helmet that can speak for you when you can’t.” How does this work? This updated Tectal model uses a cleverly inserted Near Field Communication (NFC) chip within the structure of the helmet to store your medical info and contact details in case of an emergency. If an accident occurs, responders can tap into your info to make more informed decisions and know whom to contact. Along with this tech, the helmet has a RECCO reflector. This is a lightweight passive transponder that uses no power of activation to function. If rescue teams have a compatible scanner, the RECCO reflector will let them know where you are.

Just like its sibling version in the family, the Tectal Race SPIN NFC has a unibody shell construction. The Race SPIN NFC consists of an EPS foam liner that is reinforced with aramid fibers. POC uses the popular extended-coverage-zone design around the temples and back of the head. There are even precision straps molded into the liner for extra comfort. There is also a goggle clip and an adjustable visor. For rotational protection, POC uses tech from its ski/snowboard line. SPIN, or Shearing Pad INside, is a silicone-gel-like membrane inside the helmet padding. The Tectal comes in three sizes, ranging from 51 to 62cm. Packed with safety tech, the helmet has a hefty price tag of $250. Not exactly good news for the budget-minded rider, so how does it compare with other less-advanced helmets?

Field test results:

Out of the box, the fit was noticeably comfortable—no pressure points, no unwanted shifting. The easy-to-operate dial was great for modifying the support of the helmet. We are fans of the A2 from Troy Lee Designs for its breathability, but we continued to choose the Tectal during our hot summer testing days. The helmet is very lightweight, despite the extra gadgets. It almost felt like it wasn’t there. The goggle strap was a bit unnecessary, and we would even stash our sunglasses within the strap instead. Nonetheless, some riders like using a half shell with goggles.

The easy-to-set-up NFC chip uses the twICEme app to upload and store a rider’s medical info.

 

If you are deterred by the price tag, NFC and aramid safety components, POC does offer a base Tectal. This comes priced at $190 with the RECCO reflector but no aramid structure. The step-up is the Tectal Race SPIN priced at $220 with aramid and RECCO but no NFC chip.

If protection is your main goal, it’s worth checking out the Axion SPIN from POC, priced at $150 without a RECCO or NFC chip.

If I get lost, how will rescuers know I have this technology in my helmet? The short answer is, they probably won’t. Yes, the NFC chip is a simple setup with an app, but this feature relies on the person rescuing you having the same app. The RECCO system is widely used in Europe, with more rescue units becoming aware of the possibilities in the United States. We see POC pushing the safety tech; however, until the app and RECCO scanners are standard in the U.S., tell folks where you are riding. Take a minute to write your medical info down and put it in your pocket just in case! 

Hits:

• Comfort and fit

• Packed with safety tech

• Breathability

Misses:

• Not cheap, but it is your safety on the line

• Some rescue units may not have compatible technology yet

Star Rating: ★★★½

Price: $250

Size tested: XS/S, 51–54cm

Weight: Claimed, 337 grams; actual, 349 grams (0.8 pounds)

www.pocsports.com


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