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POC Kortal Race MIPS Helmet First Rides Review

POC Kortal Race Helmet Profile

Those of you who’ve been around the site for a while know I’m big on retiring helmets, even if they haven’t taken a impact. They’re made of a foam, exposed to UV, sweat, heat in your car, etc. Point is: it’s time for a new helmet and here are my first rides review of the POC Kortal Race MIPS.

Let’s start with a quick video blast to make sure we get maximum SEO points right? haha… Somewhere you don’t have audio? Well you can check out the video’s captions or read on – the blog goes a little deeper than the quick video.

POC Kortal Race MIPS

I was drawn to the Kortal Race for a variety of reasons. One of the major reasons was a handful of people I know ride this helmet and really like it. Frankly it’s kind of unusual for anyone to “sell me” on MTB products at this point (between being in the loop and jaded right?). But the BikeCo staff and a couple riding buddies made some great points on this helmet.


The Kortal Race fits a variety of head shapes. Sounds like cliche marketing eh? Well hang tight for a second…

Currently both my brother and I are wearing the Kortal Race. My brother has an intermediate oval head shape while I have a long oval head. How do I know this? We both rode Arai motorcycle helmets for a while and his intermediate oval helmets made my head want to explode. I would get crazy hot spots on my forehead. When I went to the Arai Signet X series (same manufacturer but different internal shape) I was fine and have used those for years.

POC Kortal Race Interior Retention

The internal retention on the Kortal Race is mounted across the forward radius and then located with the rear “catch”.  This accommodates a range of head length versus width sizes.

One of the most underused sizing options on enduro helmets is adjusting the rear catch’s vertical placement.

POC Kortal Race Sizing Tips

Adjusting this rear catch up or down will provide a notable difference on how the helmet “loads” and sits on your head. I like to set this just below the where my skull dips back towards my neck. I feel like this gives the helmet the best “catch”. Too high and it feels like it might pop off or is just weird. Too low and it’s uncomfortable. Adjusting this position generally results in a clear “ah-ha, this is it” moment.

POC Kortal Race Helmet quarter view shape

Finally on fit: I want a helmet with the most coverage I can reasonably get. Enduro helmets generally have more protection in thickness, possibly a bit less ventilation and tend to sit down “lower” on the back of your head. Yes please to all of these. I recommend enduro level helmets to all of my family whether it’s my wife riding her beach cruiser or my dad and uncle cruising around on their street ebikes. If you’re going to wear a helmet wear a helmet that gives you the best chance if you need it right?


For a while I was in the camp of “well I have hair, and hair rotates” and didn’t really gravitate to MIPS helmets. This was also about the time they first came out and the MIPS system was kind of slammed into standard helmet shells. And it tended to be uncomfortable for me.

The last three years or so I have only ridden MIPS helmets. First, I’ve gotten a little bit more aware of improving my odds wherever I can. But most importantly as MIPS progressed helmet manufacturers were designing helmets around the MIPS system which provided notable comfort improvements.

POC Kortal Race MIPS Integra

The MIPS system is designed to improve a helmet’s rotational performance in a crash, essentially providing a coordinated amount of “slip” so to speak to lessen the blow. I assume this is based on “extending” the time of the impact, ie decreasing your rate of deceleration which lowers the G forces involved.

Long and short – modern MIPS isn’t a sacrifice for comfort and doesn’t notably increase the helmet’s overall weight.

MIPS Integra is essentially two technologies in this helmet. First, the comfort pads have a technology which provides additional support when “rolled”. Second, the comfort pad sits on a specially deisgned slip plane to allow a touch more rotation than even the previous POC Spin design.

You can take a look at a comparison of the SPIN and MIPS Integra here (don’t worry we provide a link to get back to this read!)


Like I mentioned in the video I’m not counting ounces. Not on my riding kit (which includes at least a pocket camera for animal photography if not more for work content). Not on my bike (my opinion: enduro level bikes shouldn’t be dainty – I want to ride home not push). And not in my diet hahaha… Ok, self deprecation aside so if weight doesn’t matter most places why do I care with my helmet?

POC Kortal Race MIPS Weight Size Large

Well I’m shopping helmets based on protection. But, if I feel like a helmet has equal protection to a similar model I’m going to ride the lighter option. Reducing the weight sitting on my neck, or pulling my head through corners has notable comfort benefits.

The Kordal Race MIPS helmet came in at 479g, or just a bit heavier than published (9g).


The POC Kortal Race has an expected level of vents and internal channels to direct airflow. The rear of the helmet has a more solid design compared to the top or front as is expected.

I’ve worn the helmet on a couple warm days already and it’s appropriate for the level of protection provided. I’ve also worn it on a couple cold mornings and using that as a comparison it’s not “the most” ventilated helmet I’ve ever had. (Cold mornings are easy to judge when its kinda miserable across your head if you have short hair.)

I’m not sure why, but my last few helmets I have been really interested in the visor. Thinking about it it’s probably after I tried the Smith helmet years ago with the like no-visor visor.

The visor of a helmet needs to be able to block the sun at reasonable angles. Many of my rides are sneaking off at the end of the day chasing sunsets so this is key.

Also, particularly on hot days, it’s nice when the visor can go up a bit further. Some riders love this for keeping goggles close at hand. I’m using it as a air brake to drive more ventilation into the front of my helmet… older and wiser eh?


Recco is essentially a reflector technology to aide finding lost people. Well, I guess technically to aide finding lost gear. If you’re lost keep the helmet with you.

I’m not 100% sure how universally updated the Recco search system is, but to quote a wildernress first responder I spoke with about some of these technologies for this blog:

“if it gave you 5% better odds in a bad situation you’d take that right?”

Ya. Guess I would.

The additional technology on this helmet doesn’t move the price point out of what I expect to pay for protection at this level so the additional Recco reflector capability is a bonus.

POC NFC by twICEme and Recco

You’ll see a couple things in additional to the Recco logo on the image above.

First POC shows this as a Large helmet. I think the boxes were like LXL or something kind of confusing. Go with the 59/62 below – if you’ve got a smaller head to smaller, if you’ve got a larger head find the larger option.

Also you’ll see the NFC Medical ID graphic.

Medical ID?

According to the insert with the helmet the NFC Medical ID provided by twICEme “stores the user’s vital info and makes it accessible in seconds using a smartphone. The info is stored locally on your equipment. No cloud service involved.”

You’re provided a QR code or can visit to look at the app and how to get started.

Now, I might sound like a bit of an alarmist, or a bit late to the old “what info is digitally available” game. But, the idea of another app with who knows what access to my phone, image, data, microphones, cameras or whatever – and BTW, I have NO REASON to think this app would be anything but totally legit and with good intention – but, the ads on my ESPN viewing have grown suspicious to me as after texting a friend that I wanted to giant windmill backup generator (which I also hoped would keep the helicopters away just a touch more over the property, beach life right?) anyhow – on the F1 page I’m now getting ads for guess what? Giant windmills. I don’t have facebook and only have insta for work so I know some of my data is being scraped but come on. (sidebar, I got the most AWESOME ad on ESPN the other day. It was for a rescue lift, both man or equipment, for a helicopter. So, somewhere along the lines I searched something that convinced an algorithm that one: I had a helicopter and two: it needed a recovery hoist. I clicked through and found the pricing and everything on the site just to mess with their analytics. Somewhere some “market-eer” is saying see I told you! We got a live one!)

Anyhow, I was kind of reticent to sign up on anything additional. So I thought, well let me reach out to my wilderness first responders and see how prevalent this is and if it would improve my chances in an emergency.

Four calls. Four “huh? What’s that?” hmmm. I told them it was kind of like the medical ID on my iPhone. Paraphrasing two of them: not iPhone person. wouldn’t know how to get to that either.

iPhone Medical ID Access 2

One way to access medical ID on some iPhones is to start the shut down procedure by holding the top button on either side. Don’t hold them too long or it dials 911 I think. My phone shown is a 12 or whatever the one before the 13 is called.

iPhone Medical ID Access

You can also access the medical ID from the lock screen. If the phone isn’t locked I think it’s harder and I would try the method above to short cut it.

While I had my first responder people chatting I was interested in what kind of info might be helpful on these. We spit balled some like allergies, pre-existing medical conditions, that sort of thing.

Only thing I could come up with for me is I’m O neg blood type so I can donate to anyone but can only accept the same. Once they were done laughing that I’d watched one too many dramatizations of a transfusion in a helicopter or a van they advised me they doubted that it would be taken at face value anyhow.

We kind of came to the conclusion that IF you had preexisting medical conditions and allergies you might see some benefit from this technology – but you should invest in one of the road-id type bracelets too. Something you’re less likely to be “borrowing” and might be seen more as an identification.

They also all individually kind of went through some of the concepts of wilderness first response which seems to be stabilize and arrange transport. With the exception of extreme blood loss they reiterated a common theme I had heard years ago: try to stay calm and work through it with minimal panic. seconds probably don’t matter (bleeding aside) and minutes rarely do…

POC Aramid Bridges help miniimize penetration

one last tech feature we get a lot of questions on that I didn’t work into the write-up earlier:

Aramid Bridges

You know, I had to get out the search engines for this one. I found some interesting data at

Essentially it’s a product similar to Kevlar which adds strength and some resistance to materials.

Is your helmet fireproof? ah, it’s got vents. Is it considered ballistic rated? ah, nah. So be careful on your search of it!

POC utilizes Aramid to help minimize the chance of penetration to the helmet in a crash with small and stiff impacts.

Overall Review of the Kortal Race MIPS Helmet

These sections on protective gear are always short for me. I’ve got enough rides on the Kortal Race helmet to know that the fit is good, ventilation good, etc, etc. Really the best “review” I can give on quality protective gear (since I’m not gonna be the one sacrificing my body to try to tell you about the results! sorry, you’re my people but there’s a line right?) anyhow the best review I can give protective gear I know to work is “I didn’t notice or think about it on my ride”.

Perfect. Anytime you’re struggling with or paying too much attention to your riding gear and not the trail well, that’s not perfect. So a “didn’t notice it” is like a 5 star review for quality kit!

Want to see more of the POC Kortal Race or other helmets we believe in? Shop the best in MTB at – helmet links below.

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