Welcome to T3's POC Ventral Lite review. If weight (or riding with as little of it as possible) is a priority for you, you want a helmet that does the job without piling on the pounds. Enter POC’s new Ventral Lite road cycling lid.
It's the company’s lightest ever cycling helmet and will appeal to weight weenies and those looking for simple but effective protection for their noggin, albeit at a fairly heavy price. The POC Ventral Lite is available to buy now, with an RRP of GBP£240 / US$275 / AUD$424. Looking for the best cycling helmet but can't afford to have hefty headgear slowing you down? Let's see what's on offer in our POC Ventral Lite review.
POC Ventral Lite review: design and build
The POC Ventral Lite follows on from earlier incarnations of the POC Ventral range which were noted for their excellent airflow and comfortable fit, two features which this new helmet has retained at the same time as seeing the weight reduced to less than 200g.
This makes the Ventral Lite one of the lightest road cycling helmets on the market, but despite this it meets all the required safety standards.
- Everything you need to know about buying a road bike
- Best cycling sunglasses: the most functional and stylish shades
POC Ventral Lite review: features
POC has been able to pare back the weight of the Ventral Lite thanks to combining an outer PC shell that covers ‘only the absolutely necessary parts of the liner’ with a lower density EPS in the liner, all of which has been possible due to a redesigned shape. These changes to the shell and liner design have, in fact, enhanced the helmet’s structural integrity, so you don’t have to worry about the superlight design providing inadequate protection.
It is worth noting, however, that the Ventral Lite doesn’t feature any internal rotational safety liner (such as the MIPS system) which is common in many of POC’s other lids.
The retention system is minimalist in the extreme (to reduce weight, of course), consisting of a PET Perspex headband with detachable padding which is adjusted via a rear dial connected to a very slim nylon cable, and even the straps have been ‘shaved’ to further reduce weight, whilst there are no divider buckles beneath the ears (weight saving again) so the only adjustment possible with the straps is with the buckle under your chin.
A total of 19 large, angular vents provides excellent airflow – this includes six big exhaust ports on the back panel – and the Ventral Lite is available in five colourways (Uranium Black, Black/White, Black/Fluorite Green, Black/Basalt Blue and Granite-Grey) all of which are both muted and stylish.
There is no ‘eye garage’ as such, although a couple of fabric stickers are provided for this purpose, which you have to apply yourself.
POC Ventral Lite review: performance
It’s a bit of a cliché, but the POC Ventral Lite is a helmet that is so lightweight that you literally forget you’re wearing it. This should obviously appeal to all cyclists (or at least those who don’t mind shelling out a fair-sized wad for their bike helmet), but in particular those at the more serious end of the spectrum looking to shave weight whether for club races or big days out in the Alps.
However, there’s always a danger when you pare the weight right back like this that you compromise comfort and safety, but neither apply in the case of the Ventral Lite; the retention system feels absolutely bombproof (as well as being quick and simple to adjust) as do the straps, and the lack of adjustment buckles below the ears wasn’t an issue for me when wearing the helmet; in fact I found it to be more comfortable than many helmets I’ve worn with buckles, and you’d need to have ears the size of an African elephant for the straps not to fit around them.
As for safety, as stated earlier the Ventral Lite meets all the official safety standards so there’s no reason to be concerned over that. I do wonder how resilient the very thin nylon cable of the retention system will be with extended use, but only time will tell on that one.
As for keeping you cool, this is the perfect lid for hot summer days on the bike – the excellent venting system (which also features internal channels to control airflow) does a great job of preventing overheating and allowing cooling breezes to waft through.
It seems to be impossible to design a road bike helmet that looks truly cool (unlike some MTB helmets) but even so the Ventral Lite does a pretty good job of helping you cut a dash when you’re out riding, mainly due to a really nice selection of colourways, from the utilitarian granite/grey of the helmet that we were sent for review to the uranium black/basalt blue matt design that looks light and airy enough to float above your head rather than sit on top of it.
POC Ventral Lite review: verdict
If you’re serious about your cycling and like to shave grams off everything you can both on and off the bike the POC Ventral Lite will be right up your sunny alpine col (which is where it will also be most at home).
Super light, super comfortable and stylish, with the Ventral Lite POC has done a great job of incorporating all the essential elements you’d expect in a top-quality road cycling helmet, whilst at the same time reducing the weight to the extent that you may find yourself checking to be sure you’ve actually remembered to put the thing on as you ride along.