Review: POC Octal Helmet and Fondo/AVIP Cycling Kit
August 21st, 2017
August 21st, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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The Octal Helmet
The award winning Octal Helmet offers great ventilation, comfort and weighs around 200 grams. I happen to think it’s one of the best looking road helmets out there at the moment, and they certainly offer a lot of options in colours and safety upgrades, like MIPS.
The Octal defining safety feature includes more head coverage and additional protection for the temples and back of the head, which is notable from the first fit. Also less usual is the use of fewer, but larger, ventilation slots. POC insist that this ventilation design allows more air to flow through the helmet, which I cannot deny on testing this on some very hot days. Once you’re moving, the air is for sure flowing. Add this together with the ‘Coolbest' padding, which helps reduce the temperature on contact with the head, and POC have seemingly innovated a helmet that can do both increase coverage and yet decrease that hot and claustrophobic feeling. This really is my go-to helmet.
The Fondo/AVIP Collection
Produced in a sumptuous collection of colours, all designed to be coordinated with a number of accessories, and aligned with a colour for each of the World Grand Fondo Series, the Fondo range already stands out from the crowd, but it won’t be until you wear it that you’ll notice what I did, and that is; absolutely nothing! Now, let me explain, the jersey didn’t ride up, pinch at the arms, catch anywhere, or fail on unzipping. Not one thing bothered me about this jersey at all, and sadly that is rather hard to say about jerseys these days.
Although the jerseys all tie in with coordinated colours, I quite liked how they tied in with each other, so I grabbed a grey jersey (representing New York) and some red gloves (representing Rio). Again, these things just worked; the soft palms protected my hands throughout long days in the saddle, but were supple enough to get good feedback and control on the bars. The little grippers did their job and offered a nice touch of visibility when signalling too. The little tabs between the fingers want that these little mitts were whipped off without a fight after a ride too. I don’t usually like finger-less gloves as so many bunch up in the palms of my hands, but these did not.
On test were the AVIP bib-shorts, similar to the Fondo shorts, both being navy blue, but with some added features. The warp knitted stretch fabric has a “thick”, compression-like feel to them, which really makes you feel sucked into place and clearly offers great support and circulation to the muscles, but it is also stretchy, so it never felt overly tight, nor did I end up with red marks all over my legs after a ride. They honestly just felt “right”. Both the material, and the chamois, have a very comforting, high-end feel to them, and both were as breathable as advertised. As with all of POC’s AVIP range, the main point of concern in this product is visibility, seen with a cluster of reflective dots on the buttocks area, and plenty of white “POC” logos on the side.
On first look, POC always seem to be a high-end, high-priced product, which ties in with their classy, clean look and excellent range of colours and accessory coordination. It’s not until you give them a go, and look into the research put into each product in terms of safety and innovation, that you really realise where that price tag comes from. POC never fail to surprise me with tiny innovations that make a big difference, and their attention to fit and comfort is never secondary. This outfit has become a favourite this summer, and their products have really become a go-to brand for me recently, both on and off-road, as I find myself reaching for this label every time I ride. Well worth the money in my opinion, especially their helmets.