Let’s face it. Aero helmet is not everyone’s cup of tea. They might be faster, but often time they are heavy and gets hot way too easily, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you’re riding in the cold, but I strongly dislike wearing my aero lids in the middle of summer.
POC’s new Ventral is trying to change that. You can now have an aero helmet that is fast, lightweight, well ventilated and safe featuring POC’s own SPIN (Shearing Pads INside) pads to combat against rotational impact. No need to decide which helmet to use on certain day because the Ventral can do it all.
“Over the years we have developed a number of advanced performance helmets. The award winning Octal is well known, but our Octal Aero, Cerebel and Tempor helmets have also been fundamental in improving aerodynamic performance and times for many track and road riders. With all our experience, we wanted to push our ideas even further and develop a ventilated aero helmet that would give significant speed gains to a rider and further improve safety.” – POC CEOJonas Sjögren
Our in-depth review is on the way but here’s a short video about the Ventral.
The Ventral will be used by EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale Pro Cycling Team starting March 4th and they are available for purchase today both in store and online.
POC recently brought a select group of journalists from around the country to Solvang, California to experience the new Fondo clothing line in its intended habitat: among friends and during adventure.
POC Sports, a Swedish brand renowned for an acute focus on safety, sprinted onto the road cycling apparel scene in 2013 with its research-driven AVIP line. Following quickly with their svelte Raceday Collection in 2014, the decade-old company has this year focused on the rider who is driven more by passion and love than results: the “Fondo” cyclist.
I arrived at our bucolic accommodations for the enviable task of riding bikes through wine country grueling product testing during early autumn, with little idea of who would fulfill the “friends” half of the equation. Luckily, it wasn’t long before I realized the other attendees would pilot wheels I could trust.
This was helped by a selection of beers crafted by Figueroa Mountain Brewing, a local brewery whose namesake we would conquer the next day. We had been brought there to explore the tenet of passion— clad in and aided by the Fondo line, to be sure, but not at the cost of adventure.
“I don’t climb.”
In line with the loosely defined itinerary, an exciting journey would soon follow. Setting out the next morning at 9:37 AM precisely, our assigned guide deftly navigated a brightly clad group past windmills and through wineries of the region — and promptly disappeared when the pavé began to ascend. (“I don’t climb,” he’d said. It turned out that he was being literal.) With little idea of where we were headed other than up, soon came the jokes and hopes about whether every rise was the top.
Dodging tarantulas sunning themselves and entertaining thoughts of getting intentionally lost on the fire roads of Los Padres National Forest, the ten-mile mixed-terrain climb finally relented after an hour and a half. Cresting what was ultimately determined to be the actual top at the height of the afternoon, we began our fast descent back toward the valley with little fanfare other than a cry of “WATER!” from a rider who had, like the rest of us, run dry miles beforehand.
An exciting half-hour of jarring twists and turns followed — the front brake of my rental bike howling each time I pushed toward its limit — until we happened upon our guide taking a siesta from the midday sun beneath a majestic oak tree. He had relied on an intimate knowledge of the area to circumvent the previous hours’ challenges and, with little concern over our thirst, informed the group that there was another 10 miles before we could be quenched.
The nonchalance was perhaps justified as we stopped for a moment before charging forth into the wind coming from town; we’d learned that the tree stood at the entrance of a property formerly known as Neverland Ranch, the notorious home of late entertainer Michael Jackson. Succumbing to star power (as many German tourists are purportedly wont to do), the lycra lineup posed quickly for a one-gloved salute before continuing on to the convenience store oasis which awaited.
A short time later we guzzled the Cokes we’d wished were 4,000 feet above while bantering with locals about the industrial implications of 3D printing — from teeth to automatic weapons to crazy things like bicycles. Replenished and riding high in a way that can be had only through a solid day of adventuring, we mounted our iron horses and pointed them back toward the ranch, tired and happy.
And the clothing? As anyone who is familiar with POC’s previous offerings may have surmised, it too hit the required marks with high precision: from clean, consistent design to quality materials and thoughtful construction, the Fondo Collection supported the ride throughout.
Ultimately, my adventure led to one question: do you Fondo, bro?
Look for an upcoming review of the 2016 Fondo Collection as well as a look at POC’s latest mountain bike gear, the Resistance line.
The POC booth at the 2013 Interbike show was a showstopper. There was so much buzz around their booth, you couldn’t help but be excited about what they were up to. They had appeared on the bicycle scene with a scream, arriving out of nowhere.
Even if you weren’t crazy about orange as a color, their bright aesthetic and safety-first spiel was infectious. The helmets, and even the sunglasses, started to appear everywhere, with a whole pack of riders embracing their non-traditional style with a vengeance.
The apparel line on the other hand seemed to land with a little bit more of a whimper. This seemed to be part availability and part, if the internet is to be believed, early quality and sizing issues.
The Raceday jersey uses what they call 3d fabric. It feels like a quilted material and wicks the sweat away from your body. It also keeps you cool under the hottest of conditions. The arms and waist stay in place and the color, although not the bright, neon orange of their early kit, looks great in person.