The £199.99 Cortex Flow from Swedish company POC is a lightweight and well ventilated full face helmet that won't turn you into a horrible sweaty mess after five minutes.
One of the most popular sights in the Alps this summer was the unmistakeable POC full face helmet. The Swedish company has struck out into the mountain bike market with their bold styling and exciting colour palette and has made quite an impact.
Their products not only look good, but they are functional too, and very much fit for purpose. The Cortex Flow we have here is modelled on the company's Cortex DH downhill helmet, but increased ventilation makes it more suitable for all-mountain riding and for gravity riders seeking something that won't have them turning into a sweaty mess.
It's been designed to cost a bit less than the Cortex DH too, thanks to a fibre glass shell rather than a carbon fibre outer. Inside is a regular multi-impact expanded foam liner. Sandwiched between the inner and outer layer is a penetration-resistant aramid barrier. This allows POC to decrease the shell thickness while still keeping crash impact protection high. We can't attest to its crash protection as fortunately (touch wood) we haven't had any crashes yet. It exceeds EU standards only.
We fitted the M-L comfortably. Larger cheek pads are supplied so you can tailor the fit. Despite there being no adjustment of any sort, the helmet stays put in place on the head well. There are three sizes (S-M, M-L & L-XL) so it's wise to try one on before you buy, to make sure you get the right size and that it fits your head well.
Lucky for us it fitted well, and that allowed us to enjoy a well ventilated helmet. Full face helmets are by their very nature going to be hot places to put your head, but the Cortex Flow managed to keep us cool during a week in the French Alps. A large mesh panel in the chin guard keeps the airflow high, and there's a couple of smaller ones on the side that allow hot air to escape.
The large peak can be adjusted for height, and is held in place by two machined aluminium thumbscrews. A nice touch is the soft draw cord bag included in the box to keep your lid from getting dusty when in storage or scratched when transporting. And a sheet of stickers is provided for a spot of customisation.
With the rising popularity of 160mm bikes being used as lightweight downhill bikes at the many uplift days across the country, the Cortex Flow makes a good case for itself.
For extended periods the Cortex Flow is pleasantly comfortable. We've worn a few full face lids in our time, and we've always been itching the take them off the moment we reach the bottom of a run. Not so with the POC, it was comfortable and never got unmanageably hot. .
Fit us very well
More information: POC Cortex Flow
UK importer: 2Pure
What POC has to say about the Cortex Flow
"Cortex Flow is a generously ventilated full face helmet with a durable fiberglass outer shell. The core is made of multi-impact EPP, which means that the helmet withstands numerous crashes without having to be replaced, as would any other EPS helmet. Thanks to specifically designed ear chambers, the Cortex Flow will not affect your hearing or balance. The open vents allows air to flow through the helmet, increasing the user comfort. The distance between the chin guard and face is optimized for best protection and allowes you to breathe with ease. Polygiene anti-odor treatment included. Sizes: S-M, M-L & L-XL.
Fiber glass outer shell
Multi impact liner
Aramid penetration barrier
Ventilation through outer shell
Ventilation through inner shell and liner
Ear chambers designed for balance and hearing
Chin bar size and distance from face is optimized for protection without sacrificing easy breathing."