We review the POC Cortex Flow helmet. Being a Swedish company, POC Sports are more well known for their ski accessories, but they’ve recently burst onto the cycling scene with a fantastic range of protective mountain biking gear.
I’d been looking for a new full face helmet since my claustrophobic 661 Strike went AWOL, so finding something with good airflow and breathability were high on my helmet priority list. After some deliberation and wanting to stand out from the 661/Troy Lee crowd, I picked up the Cortex Flow helmet from POC Sports.
Better suited for all-mountain riding or downhill riders who don’t have uplift, the Cortex Flow is styled on POC’s Cortex DH downhill helmet, but with increased ventilation and a lighter design.
POC Cortex Flow Technical Features
- Weight: 1000g
- Sizes: S/M, M/L, L/XL
- Fibre glass outer shell
- Maximized ventilation with 10 vents
- Ear chambers designed for balance and hearing
- Chin bar for optimized protection and easy breathing
Comfort and Fit
Having fitted comfortably into a XXL 62” helmet before, I had to go for the Cortex Flow in L/XL. Available only in 3 sizes, S/M, M/L and L/XL, there isn’t an XXL with POC; apparently Swedes all have small heads! However, bigger interchangeable cheek pads are supplied so you can tailor the fit if you need. They’re also machine-washable if you’re a particularly sweaty rider.
Once on, the Cortex Flow was comfortable around my cheeks and forehead but spacious near the front grill and around my ears, just what I wanted. Additionally, design details such as the ear chambers keep you from being disorientated and don’t muffle your hearing.
Weighing in at 1000g, depending on which size helmet you get, it’s not the lightest on the market, but you’re not going to find anything much lighter until you go full carbon fibre. Neck strain isn’t an issue, even after a week of day-long gravity runs in Morzine over the summer.
POC have done well with the aesthetics of the Cortex Flow with a simple design in bold primary colours. It’s a head turner for sure and really stands out amongst the louder Moto-X style lids.
Excellent ventilation is one of the design main features of the Cortex Flow. With 10 air vents I was able to stay cool in the sun even if when I wasn’t moving.
The large grill lets a lot of air in too and there’s plenty of breathing space so you’re not filling your helmet when you exhale. Even after exhaustive downhill runs I didn’t feel I needed to pull the helmet off due to overheating as I did with my 661.
The wide open front will fit every goggle type. I tested this with Oakley, 100% and Thor goggles with no problems, having plenty of breathing room left.
The large visor peak can be adjusted for height and is held in place by two stylishly (for a screw) machined aluminium thumbscrews. There’s enough space below the visor to rest your goggles on too if you’re don’t want to wear them around your neck.
The back of the helmet offers a slight, smooth ridge for your goggle strap, so it will stay in place with ease. However, the goggle straps will cover at least part of the ear vents depending on their adjusted height and strap width.
Final Take on the POC Cortex Flow
For a sleek and lightweight full face helmet, the Cortex Flow ticks all the right boxes. With sizing, not having XXL and XS might be an issue for some, as not everyone has a normal sized head, so try it on before you buy.
The Cortex Flow isn’t the cheapest on the market but comes with many of the features that you’d have to pay more for with other brands. Unless you’re going to fork out double for a Troy Lee helmet, the POC Cortex Flow is a smart choice.
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