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POC Tectal Race MIPS Review

This model offers great protection, comfort, and ventilation in a lightweight package, making it one of our favorites
poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review
poc tectal race spin
Credit: POC
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Price:  $230 List | $230.00 at REI
Pros:  Well ventilated, lightweight, great coverage, MIPS Integra, comfortable
Cons:  Expensive, visor is less user friendly than the competition
Manufacturer:   POC
By Jeremy Benson  ⋅  Apr 10, 2019
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  • Protection - 25% 9.0
  • Comfort - 20% 9.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 8.0
  • Features - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 10% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Tectal Race MIPS impressed our testers and put up a fierce fight for the top spot on the podium. In the end, it was bested by a few competitors, but the Tectal remains one of our most highly regarded mountain bike helmets. We love it for many reasons, starting with its impressive protection. It has loads of head coverage, and POC has also incorporated MIPS Integra for additional safety. The Tectal has a great fit, a quality adjustment system, and drafty ventilation to enhance your comfort out on the trail. Additional features like an adjustable visor and a goggle clip add to this helmet's versatility, making it a great all-around performer and a tester favorite.

Compare Similar Products

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $230 List
$230.00 at REI
$130.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$69.99 at Evo
Compare at 4 sellers
$80 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
Bottom Line This model offers great protection, comfort, and ventilation in a lightweight package, making it one of our favoritesAn incredibly airy and well-designed helmet that lives up to its high price tagA versatile trail helmet that will stand up to all-day adventures and won't cost you an arm and a legAn affordable helmet with high-end styling and coverage
Rating Categories POC Tectal Race MIPS Giro Manifest Spher... Giro Radix MIPS Specialized Camber
Protection (25%)
Comfort (20%)
Ventilation (20%)
Features (15%)
Weight (10%)
Durability (10%)
Specs POC Tectal Race MIPS Giro Manifest Spher... Giro Radix MIPS Specialized Camber
Rotational Impact Protection System? SPIN MIPS Spherical MIPS MIPS
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 12.87 oz, 365g 14.1 oz, 401g 12.6 oz, 360g 13.8 oz, 394g
Number of vents 15 19 25 13
Goggle or Sunglasses Integration? Yes, Goggle Clip Integrated eyewear grippers No No
Adjustable Visor? Yes Yes Yes No
Sizes XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL S, M, L S, M, L, XL XS, S, M, L, XL
Certifications CPSC, CE EN1078 CPSC Bicycle for ages 5+, CE EN1078 CPSC, CE EN1078 CPSC
Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating (if applicable) 5-star 5-star 5-star

Our Analysis and Test Results

POC was one of the first helmet brands to start using MIPS in their helmets. They eventually switched to their own system, known as SPIN, that they used for several years in the Tectal Race helmet. Recently, they announced a deeper partnership with MIPS, and they now use a rotational impact protection system called MIPS Integra. It looks nearly identical to SPIN, but now there is a yellow slip plane integrated into the foam of the helmet where the pads attach. The photos below show the SPIN system, left, versus the MIPS Integra, right. -June 2022

POC's SPIN system.
POC's SPIN system.
The new MIPS Integra system.
The new MIPS Integra system.

The Tectal Race MIPS is one of POC's high-end half-shell mountain bike helmets with good coverage and protection, a high level of comfort, good adjustments and features, and performance that make it one of our highest-rated models. In this case, top-of-the-line protection comes at a top-of-the-line price. The Tectal is among the most expensive helmets in our test. But you can't put a price on safety. With high scores across the board in our rating metrics, the Tectal outclassed most of the competition. Read on to find out more about this excellent helmet.

Performance Comparison

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - the tectal race is a fantastic helmet with great coverage, comfort...
The Tectal Race is a fantastic helmet with great coverage, comfort, performance, and features.
Credit: Jeremy Benson


The Tectal Race MIPS is among the most protective helmets in our test for a number of reasons. First, it offers some of the best coverage of all the models we tested, with a shell that is designed to cover more of the temples and back of the head. The coverage is roughly equal to that of the Specialized Ambush, and it is clearly visible as the shell dips lower on the temples and wraps around the back of the cranium, though the Tectal fits closer to the head. Despite the increase in coverage, the Tectal's design and shape remains comfortable.

POC has also added Aramid, a strong woven fiber similar to kevlar, in bridges that are molded to the outside of the EPS foam liner for added structural integrity. The EPS liner is wrapped in a sturdy polycarbonate shell that POC calls a unibody construction, but it is actually three pieces with clean seams and a perfect fit around the EPS foam.

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - more coverage = better protection. it's simple science, but it's...
More coverage = better protection. It's simple science, but it's still science.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

POC also incorporated a rotational impact protection system, known as MIPS Integra, into the Tectal Race MIPS helmet. It looks strikingly similar to the SPIN system previously used, but there is now a yellow MIPS slip-plane built into the foam of the helmet where the pads attach. One of the unique aspects of MIPS Integra, versus the other systems, is that it adds no weight or thickness to the lining of the helmet since the technology is integrated into the pads, nor does it block any vents. The pads also do double duty, absorbing a small amount of linear impact while also helping to deflect rotational impact. The new MIPS SL system in the Specialized Ambush with ANGi looks quite similar to us.

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - the mips integra system looks nearly identical to the spin pads...
The MIPS Integra system looks nearly identical to the SPIN pads previously used with the addition of the yellow slip plane where the attach.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

A Recco reflector isn't something you usually see on a mountain bike helmet, it's commonly used in skiing products for avalanche recovery, but POC has put one on the Tectal. This feature could help in a search and rescue situation.


Comfort is another one of the Tectal Race MIPS's strong suits, and it gets high honors in this rating metric. As a rule, comfort is somewhat subjective and may vary based on several factors, most notably the shape of your head. That said, our testers found the Tectal to be one of the most comfortable helmets in our test selection. It is offered in three sizes, XS/SM, M/L, and XL/XXL so there should be a size suitable for most people's heads.

Several factors made the Tectal a favorite for comfort including the straps, size adjustment, the shape of the helmet, and ventilation. Overall, we found the fit of the Tectal to be good, although possibly a bit on the narrower side compared to other models in this test. Its fit has a relatively average length and depth, and it comes down low on the sides and back of the head.

The fit adjustment system has a large dial at the back of the head. It tightens and loosens the cradle on the occipital lobe by pulling tension evenly from both sides for a snug and secure fit. This helmet also has one of the best strap designs we've seen with a strap splitter yoke by the ears that hold the straps flat and prevents them from making any ear contact. The chin strap has a standard plastic buckle and plenty of adjustment to suit most riders' needs.

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - thetectal race mips is a comfortable helmet with a great fit...
TheTectal Race MIPS is a comfortable helmet with a great fit, adjustability, and good ventilation.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Inside the helmet, the MIPS Integra system is integrated into the padding. The padding extends across the brow from temple to temple with four fingers that extend towards the back of the helmet between the front vents and air channels. The padding is thin but quite comfortable, and the integrated MIPS system gives them a unique feel. It feels like there is a gel or soft rubber inside that not only cushions but also has lots of side-to-side give. It's this unique material and design that allows these pads to provide rotational impact protection without an additional liner in the helmet.

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - the large dial on the fit adjustment is easy to use one-handed and...
The large dial on the fit adjustment is easy to use one-handed and with gloves on.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

We have heard that the Tectal's additional temple coverage may conflict with some sunglass arms. We didn't experience this issue while wearing Smith glasses during testing.


The Tectal has 16 vents and provides some of the best ventilation in our test selection. We ranked it near the top, with several other models in this metric for its excellent airflow. Nine large vents on the front of the helmet, a design borrowed from the POC Octal road bike helmet, help keep the air moving on your forehead. Three vents on the top and five on the back of the head allow the air to exhaust and your head to breathe. Deep air channels on the inside of the helmet draw the air from front to back and help keep air circulating.

The Tectal was bested in this metric by the Manifest Spherical and the 100% Altec. The Specialized Ambush has 20 vents and an excellent internal air channel system that draws air through the helmet and out the massive exhaust vents at the back. The Smith Session and Troy Lee A2 are right about even with the Tectal for ventilation, and the helmets mentioned here vent better than the rest of the field.

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - the tectal race mips's 16 vents do a great job of keeping the air...
The Tectal Race MIPS's 16 vents do a great job of keeping the air flowing and your head cool.
Credit: Jeremy Benson


The Tectal Race MIPS is packed with useful features that help make this one of the best overall helmets in our test. Many of these features have been mentioned previously, specifically those having to do with protection and comfort, in the sections above. Of course, the helmet features MIPS Integra, loads of coverage, quality construction, and aramid bridges to enhance its protection. On the comfort side, it has MIPS integrated padding, a quality fit adjustment system, and a great strap design that holds the helmet comfortably and securely in place.

The visor is adjustable for goggle compatibility. A small screw in the center of the visor holds it in place. You need to loosen it before adjusting the visor. This screw is relatively small and can be a little challenging to tighten and loosen with the helmet on your head, and we found it easier to adjust the visor by taking the helmet off. When in the up position, you can rest a set of goggles under the visor and secure them in the back with the "goggle clip." The visor doesn't flip up as high as many of the other models in this review, but it adjusts just high enough to stow goggles there when not in use.

We prefer helmets with more easily adjustable visor designs, like the Smith Forefront 2, but the visor on the Tectal works well once you're used to it. It's just a little more time-consuming.

The strap design on the POC Tectal Race is one of the best we've...
The strap design on the POC Tectal Race is one of the best we've ever seen.
There isn't a ton of visor adjustability, but enough to stash...
There isn't a ton of visor adjustability, but enough to stash goggles if you need.


Weighing in at 365-grams or 12.87 ounces in the size Medium/Large we tested, the Tectal Race MIPS is competitively lightweight. It weighs just 15 grams more than the Specialized Ambush. That difference in weight is virtually unnoticeable, but in mountain biking lighter is typically considered better. In contrast to the Tectal's lightweight, the Oakley DRT5 weighs in at 476 grams, 111 grams heavier.

What is truly impressive is how light this helmet is considering the additional coverage of the shell and the addition of features like MIPS Integra, a Recco reflector, and goggle clip. POC claims their Aramid reinforced EPS foam liner and unibody shell construction help keep the weight of the helmet down, and we won't disagree.

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - the medium/large tectal helmet weighs 12.87 ounces.
The Medium/Large Tectal helmet weighs 12.87 ounces.
Credit: Jeremy Benson


We've been riding in this helmet for months, and so far we have no complaints about its durability. Overall, the quality of craftsmanship appears to be top-notch, and the outer shell and EPS foam liner are still in like-new condition. The outer shell covers the majority of the EPS foam on the helmet, which helps protect it from being damaged while riding or during transport. The straps, size adjustment, visor, and MIPS liner pads still appear in excellent condition, other than the inevitable sweat stains.

Now, we haven't crashed in this helmet, and as lovely as it would be to have some real-world crash experience to report, we aren't going out of our way to crash and find out. Considering the excellent coverage, protective features, and apparent quality of the Tectal, we believe that it would protect you well in the event of a crash. Note: as with any helmet, you must replace it after one crash. The foam liner typically breaks to allow the helmets to dissipate impact forces. The cracks may not be visible.


The Tectal Race MIPS is one of the most expensive helmets in our test selection, but we feel that this is still a solid value considering the excellent performance that it provides. If there is one item of protective gear that is worth splurging on, we think it's a quality helmet, and the Tectal is worth every penny.

poc tectal race mips mountain bike helmet review - the poc tectal provides comfort, versatility, features, and...
The POC Tectal provides comfort, versatility, features, and protection that make it one of the best.
Credit: Jeremy Benson


It comes with a hefty price tag, but we feel the Tectal Race is one of the best mountain bike helmets on the market and one of the best we've ever tested. The combination of great coverage and MIPS Integra make this helmet very protective, which is the whole point of wearing a helmet in the first place. The great fit, lightweight, adjustability, versatility, and ventilation make it the total package.

Other Version and Accessories

POC makes a full line of protective gear for cycling including helmets, pads, eyewear, and apparel.
  • The Tectal retails for $180 and has the same design and most of the features of the Race MIPS model, minus the goggle clip and MIPS technology.
  • The Tectal Race MIPS NFC goes for $240 and has all of the features of the Race MIPS, with the addition of an integrated NFC Medical ID chip. This medical ID chip can be scanned by first responders so they can instantly read your vital medical information.
  • The Tectal Race Visor is offered as an aftermarket purchase as a replacement part for your Tectal Race helmet. It comes in white or black and retails for $15.

Jeremy Benson

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