Editor’s Note: This review is part of the Mtbr All Mountain Helmet Shootout.
There is a helmet out there that looks different from the rest and has really influenced the All Mountain / Enduro scene with a line of helmets with style, colors and a reputation for safety. Swedish based POC produces the Trabec in three flavors, the Trabec Race and Trabec and the Trabec MIPS. The helmet extends down the back of the neck, and it uses Aramid filaments combined with an In-mold Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS) foam liner for maximum protection. The three-piece outer polycarbonate shell has optimized sections that don’t have seams in the most vulnerable areas, and its bonded to the reinforced core, for strength and lightweight. The comfortable and extremely safety engineered Trabec Race helmet, offers extra Aramid reinforcements than the Trabec, and weighs around 340 grams and costs $180.
The major components of a helmet, are the outer shell, the foam liner, the retention system and the padding. The hard shell helps spread the impact over a larger surface (specifically to the liner), accentuates sliding and prevents object penetration. The EPS foam helps prevent or reduce brain injury by managing the energy of an impact through its own compression or destruction. Its main duty is to slow the stopping process so that the head slows down during its inertial of the impact (deceleration), by cushioning and redirection.
Fit, Pads and Retention System
The Trabec Race is a pretty comfortable helmet, with enough padding in the proper places, and a good form fitting inner shape, that has adequate room to accommodate varying head geometries. It’s not the most fashionable looking helmet, and it looks sort of blocky and chunky perched on top of your head, but safety is its preeminent point, not fashion. The helmet offers excellent protection, coming deeply over the ears, and drooping far down onto the neck in an enduro type styling. The additional coverage certainly adds a great sense of reassurance for protection in case of a crash, and the hidden features such as the Aramid reinforcement and extra thickness of the liner, and the shell seams in non vulnerable areas, make for an extensive safety dominated package. The liner uses a web or grid of Aramid filaments molded inside the EPS foam, acting very much rebar in concrete or the skeleton inside a body, to works in a synergistic manner to offer strength, resistance and durability, and keeping things together throughout an impact.
Note: Aramid fibers are a class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers. They are used in aerospace and military applications, for ballistic rated body armor fabric and ballistic composites. The Trabec Race has more aramid fibers than the Trabec so it is stronger and should provide more protection. However, US helmet law actually prohibits claiming protection characteristics so we don’t have any information on how much more the ‘Race’ model offers. Helmets can only state that they pass specific government tests.
The helmet has 16 large air vents with an internal air channel, which help with air flow, but it can still feel a bit warm compared to a highly ventilated cross country helmet. It is kept purposely rounded, without any extraneous pointed sections, so that during a crash it will roll better, and nothing will get caught or pinched in debris or terrain obstacles on your terra firma encounter. The visor is removable and will break away in a crash, and has an adjustable tilt, which is nice in variable light conditions, and allows you to either put it down for maximum coverage or up out of the way for more expansive viewing.
Although it doesn’t look like it has a lot of vent holes, In our heat test, it measured on the upper 20% of the helmets so we’ll say that venting is sufficient. It doesn’t have big forward facing vents but the key to its ventilation properties is inside the helmet, there are channels above the head where air can flow through.
Continue reading for more on the POC Trabec Race and the full photo gallery.