POC Sports: Cortex Full Face Helmet Review

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been testing the POC Sports Cortex Full Face Helmet.

What’s tough about testing a helmet is checking to see how well they work in a crash. I doubt any product tester would intentionally place them selves in danger for the sake of a review. Well this is how different we are at MtnBikeRiders.com. I actually tested this helmet’s ability to keep me safe and from major head trauma.
POC Cortex DH
Let’s start off with the specs.


Cortex Full Face Helmet

* Carbon outer shell (DH version), Fiber glass outer shell (Flow version)
* PC inner shell
* Multi-impact liner
* Aramid penetration barrier
* Ventilation paths through the inner and outer shells, as well as the liner
* Ear chambers for hearing and balance
* Optimized chin bar for breathing and protection

Cost: Around $500.00

I’ve raced with the the Cortex since November and have put it through the paces in all weather conditions. I’ve been in wind, sun, rain and a combination of super wet and rainy conditions topped off with wind and mud.

The helmet I tested was a medium,I normally wear a large, but at the time, medium was all they had. Though my fat face and head looked like it was going to burst in the helmet, I was actually comfortable. POC says the Cortex has vents in it for breath ability. In all honesty, if you look at the vents, they don’t seem much, but shoot, these things kept my head nice and cool.

The inside liner was also very comfortable. But it got dirty really fast. Between the sweat and dirt that’s out on a DH trail…there really wasn’t anything I could do to prevent dirt from building up.

Now I’ve mentioned that I tested the POC Cortex’s reliability during a crash. This occurred back in November 2008 during a DH race at Fontana. I entered the lower rock garden and as I rode over a boulder, I was bucked off my bike and I flew into another boulder, head first. I shook my head because I was dazed a bit, got up and finished the race. I later checked the right temple area of the helmet to see if it had suffered any damage from the trauma. Nothing! The only indication that I crashed was from the retainer bolt on the visor, its a bit chewed up. Other than that the helmet saved me. In fact, I used this helmet for a few more races as well as training rides.

The POC Cortex has a few things that scored high in style. For one, its white. I REALLY dig white! Then there’s the orange accents, that’s a plus. The ability for me to see from the side was not hindered by the helmet. I was also able to hear just fine, this is important when you’re being counted down for your race run. But the thing that made me fall in love with the POC Cortex was the mouth/chin guard. Did you see how big the vent is for breathing? I was really impressed on how well that worked. It was like an air dam that forced are into your mouth when bombing down a hill. But don’t worry you won’t get bugs or rocks in your teeth since the vent has a screen liner to prevent such occurrences.

The vent is what sold me on this helmet. I’ve used other full face helmets in the past and I HATED the fact that when I am gasping for air, I was breathing in my own breath because air couldn’t get past the chin guard. But the Cortex, that was never an issue. In fact during one of my early morning practice runs, it was cold. At the end of my runs, I felt my lips become numb and chapped from all the cool air that was being forced while coming down the mountain.
poc cortex
So overall, if you were to ask me, and some racers have during the Winter Series, if I would recommend this helmet to them, then my answer would be yes. Though a medium was given to me to test, it fit my fat 23″ head just fine. I’m sure if you had a skinner face, you wouldn’t look so puffy like I did. Other than that, the POC Cortex DH helmet is one great find. I guarantee that the huge vent on the chin guard will help you breath better during your race/ rides.

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