When you are riding down the trail you have a lot to think about: which line to take, when to shift down, where you’re going to stop for a milkshake after this epic ride is over. You don’t want your helmet taking up any of your precious brain power, but you do want it to protect your noggin. This is why I like the POC Tectal — the lightweight construction has plenty of ventilation to keep my head cool, the straps are comfortable, and there are no weird pressure points. Added bonus: the built-in adjustable visor helps keep the sun out of my eyes, so there’s another thing I don’t have to worry about.
After a decade-plus of mountain biking, the POC Tectal is the only helmet I’ve ever purchased more than once. I have two: one in white and one in pink, and my husband rocks the Tectal as well.
Review in a Nutshell
- Full coverage
- Comfortable, easily adjustable straps
- No pressure points
- Includes Recco reflector
- Adjustable visor
- Fun colors
- Larger profile
- No MIPS technology
- Hard to wear with a pony-tail
- Visor screw falls out easily
- 343 grams
- EPS liner, Outer PC shell
Price & Where to Buy:
POC Tectal Detailed Review
Usually when I try a new helmet on in the bike shop, it feels great. I go ride for an hour or two, and it still feels great. But then, at hour 3 or 4 (or 24) it suddenly starts to hurt somewhere, slightly annoying at first until finally it hurts enough to take an ibuprofen. With the POC Tectal, I’ve never had any “pressure point” issues. And based on comments from other friends, riders, and fellow reviewers, it seems that other people would agree.
Same goes for the straps. I might be challenged, but I often struggle to get straps positioned correctly around my ears, so that either I look like a total dork or they are rubbing my ears just enough to drive me crazy. The straps on the POC Tectal, thankfully, have a marvelous no-adjustment-required splitter around the ears that keep things looking tidy and feeling comfortable. All helmets should have this design for their straps.
The helmet loosens or tightens via a fit dial at the rear. It is easy to operate, even one-handed and with gloves on, should you choose to adjust it while cruising down the trail.
The one issue I do have with the Tectal – that I haven’t seen in any of the male-written reviews out there – is the pony-tail problem. Because of the deep-coverage that the Tectal provides, there isn’t any room for a ponytail. I end up having to do a low pony or braid which I don’t love because of the heat/sweat factor, but it is a worthwhile trade-off for the comfort and safety of the Tectal.
Whether or not you like the looks of the POC Tectal is largely a matter of personal preference. The profile is larger than other helmets, so if you like a slimmer shell, pass on by. Personally I think the Tectal looks rad – it has a hard-core enduro look that will make you look pro even if you’re just cruising down the blue runs at the bike park.
The other thing I like about POC helmets is the wide variety of colors that they come in. Don’t offer your favorite color? Wait a month and they probably will. For instance, I like pink. POC didn’t make the Tectal in pink – and then they did – and now they don’t again. (Although you can still get it as an “archive color” if you’re lucky).
As you would expect in this price range, the POC Tectal has an adjustable visor. (Unfortunately the screw has a tendency of falling out, which I’ve had happen several times). That said, even when missing said screw, the visor works well – raising up if you choose to wear goggles, and lowering for times of full-sun.
So the POC Tectal is comfortable, it shades your eyes, and it looks good — but what about safety? After all that’s what a helmet is supposed to be about, right? Fortunately, the Tectal will do a good job in saving your noggin in the event of a crash. The PC outer shell and EPS liner meet all of those standard certs: EN 1078, CPSC 12.03, AS/NZ 2063:2008.
The really cool part of the Tectal is the built-in Recco reflector. In the unfortunate event that you should become lost or hurt, the Recco reflector bounces a directional signal that can be located by rescuers carrying a Recco detector. Of course, it is unlikely that you will ever need it, but if you often ride solo or venture out in the backcountry, the Recco reflector is a good insurance policy.
The one surprising safety miss on the POC Tectal is MIPS. At this pricepoint and technology-level, you would expect the Tectal to come with MIPS, but it doesn’t. If you think that MIPS is nothing more than a marketing gimic, which many people do, this won’t be any big loss – but for folks wanting the safest helmet money can buy, this could be the deciding factor to choose a different lid.
The POC Tectal is my helmet of choice. Even after trying several other mountain bike helmets, I keep coming back to the Tectal – primarily due to its extreme comfort. If at some point, the Tectal comes in a MIPS version, I’ll switch to that; until, then I’ll keep buying the Tectal in all its array of colors.