What a handsome devil huh? Yep, that’s trek7k trying out the POC Trabec Race helmet at Interbike back in September. I managed to get my hands on one a few months ago and I’m ready to share my review. The Trabec represents a first in the XC/AM helmet market for POC which is already well known in DH/DJ circles. With a new helmet like the Trabec it’s only a matter of time before POC becomes a household name in the XC world as well.

In case you’re wondering, POC hails from Sweden and their mission is “to do everything we can to possibly save lives and to reduce consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes, by developing and renewing what personal protection is all about.” Ok, so maybe some of that was lost in translation but clearly it’s a bold statement. The Trabec helmet is proof that POC is serious about its mission.

The Trabec helmet is made from EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) but with a twist: an embedded aramid fiber grid adds a second level of protection. Think of the construction as a mix of a skeleton with a tough outer shell. The aramid filament is the skeleton while the hard polycarbonate shell is optimized with zero seams in the most exposed areas.

The Trabec Race has a familiar singletrack/enduro style to it, with good coverage that doesn’t just ride on top of the rider’s head. Developed without compromising functionality or performance, the inside of the helmet features a channel system with 16 vent holes for ventilation.

Moving further inside the helmet, the intelligently placed molded pads are comfortable and help wick moisture away. To make sure everything stays in place, POC utilizes a helmet stabilization system similar to Giro’s Rocloc . There are two pads at the back that pull your head toward the front of the helmet while the strap and buckle system holds the helmet in place to prevent rolling. The pads at the back are also height adjustable to best suit your head shape.

I found that I could wear this helmet for both trail and DJ riding. Of course the Trabec isn’t a full-fledged DJ helmet but for me it worked great on Joyride’s indoor progressive jumps and pump track. The helmet felt good – a bit snug on the sides but nothing too bad (everyone has a different head shape so you may not have the same experience). Adjusting the helmet was easy enough with gloves off; with gloves on the adjusting tabs are a bit smallish.

Since it’s still cold here I can’t say how the helmet vents perform in the sweltering summer heat, though I did get some test rides indoors at around 65 degrees. At these temperatures the Trabec felt reasonably comfortable, and when I was moving I could definitely feel some air circulation from the 16 vents. I didn’t get sweat pouring down over my eyes due to a overly soaked cushion either, so in that way that’s a big plus. The visor is adjustable and can be removed and re-attached easily. Indoors I typically rode without the visor.

So what do I think of the Trabec Race? Well for POC’s first stab at an XC/AM helmet, clearly the guys and gals did their homework and did a good job. It may not be the lightest but it certainly offers great protection and is durable – I tossed mine in and outta the car and into the house without noticing any dings or dents.

Ok, so how much does this baby cost? Well, how much is your noggin worth? The Trabec is priced at $175 which is a premium price but in return you’re getting premium protection – just do a few searches for crash videos on YouTube to remind yourself how painful and expensive a brain hemorrhage can be. ๐Ÿ™‚

Check out the Trabec Race and other cool gear on POC’s website. Thanks to POC for providing this helmet for review.

# Comments

  • trek7k

    Although I only put this helmet on once at Interbike, I can vouch for the comfort and fit – the Trabec seems to ride lower than other helmets I’ve tried which is a plus for me.

    I also really like the look of the Trabec helmet – in some ways it reminds me of a marshmallow with its smooth lines and rounded shape. As an XC guy I feel like it’s almost like a mash-up between a skate style helmet and a standard vented lid. I’m into the whole crash-test-dummy look too – very mod. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Audrey4

    Having a devil of a time finding this product to actually purchase. No luck online, and nothing apparently in Colorado (keep finding just their ski stuff). Anyone have luck out there?

  • element22

    Hi Audrey

    The production of them and shipping was a bit late..The POC products from what I have heard of should be arriving to your locals bike shops sometime soon.. Contact POC USA and find your closest distributor..


  • Full_Truth

    Just wanted to point out that he following excerpt from the above review is misleading and could be viewed as false advertising:

    “The Trabec is priced at $175 which is a premium price but in return youโ€™re getting premium protection….”

    As the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) likes to point out every year:

    “The higher priced helmets have big vents, but no verifiable advantage in impact performance. You can pay more than $200 if you want to, but Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and other discounters have models that meet the same CPSC impact standard at an everyday price of under $20. And in the $20 to $35 range they have better looking and better fitting models. Our testing shows that the very expensive helmets and the very cheap helmets all have about the same impact protection.”

    Here’s the link to the page where the above appears:


    Check out the same site, [forward slash]testbycost.htm for the detailed crash test results.

    Nice review but let’s take care to not stretch the truth to market one helmet over another. I have zero affiliation with BHSI. I also have zero affiliation with any helmet manufacturer, distributor or retailer.

    Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • element22

    We are not affiliated with anyone. My statement still stands. The added aramid fiber is in my opinion added protection which will help keep the helmet together.. The review is that..A review and not advertising.

    When your paying for your helmet your paying not only for the protection it provides, your also paying for the level of fit and comfort. The Trabec also has protection in the back where the CPSC testing does not cover. There test is a frontal downward test I believe. I don’t think there is mention of a rear strike (as in falling backwards off a bike). Am I wrong in this thinking?

  • element22

    Actaully here is the test:

    The CPSC standard uses a lab test drop of 2.0 meters on a flat anvil and 1.2 meters on a hemispheric and a curbstone anvil. Now that doesn’t take into account falling sideways or back does it?….Have you seen some helmets that are in the Low end of the scale…All the protection is up top so to speak with little or any side or rear protection…This is why I stated what I stated…I stick by my statement.

  • Goo

    In addition to paying for comfort and fit with many of the expensive helmets, you are also paying for reduced weight. A helmet that weighs significantly less than a wally world special yet provides equal or greater protection is going to cost more.

  • trek7k

    The link you provided says “POC uses a double overlapping shell construction to ensure that there are no straight-through vents where a sharp object can penetrate.” The description notes that this isn’t required by CPSC which to many people means premium protection. Is this extra protection necessary? That’s up to the buyer.

    I’ll also point out that’s a pretty general statement from the BHSI – “about the same impact protection.” This also leaves open the question about helmets that exceed the CPSC standards…

  • Full_Truth

    Had the reviewer paid out of pocket for the helmet than, yes, I would agree that the post is just a unaffiliated review. However, it seems to me that a review ceases to be a review and becomes more like advertising when, (1) the item being reviewed is comped (2) the reviewer makes claims about safety (or some other improved feature) that cannot be backed up by any verifiable study/data, and (3) the writer goes on to use that claim to validate the high price of the item.

    Were this helmet actually made in Sweden or some other Western country replete with the kinds of environmental and labor laws that we here (in the USA) take for granted – instead of making them in the same factory if China as the wally world variety – then I would also be less inclined to point out what I see as a conflict of interest on the part of the “reviewer”. However, when a corporation markets and sells a product that costs them a few dollars to produce but that retails for what equals a thousand or more percent markup AND exploits an entire workforce and the environment in the process, then I feel it is the duty of all of us to call out a fraud when we see it.

    When we get paid to write a review (either in cash or in-kind) we must hold ourselves to a higher standard since regardless of our intentions the impression is that we are acting as defacto spokesperson for the company and/or its product(s). Not taking the high road allows our reader to see right through the facade and puts them in the unenviable position of having to call us out on it.

    By the way, to their credit, Bell still apparently assembles a ton of its “lower-end” helmets here in this country (albeit from foreign and domestic parts). I take real umbrage with consumers who blindly pay a premium for a product without having any idea what they are supporting. Hopefully its a domestic manufacturer whose costs actually support the working folks of this country. More likely than not, however, its a shell company that uses sweatshop labor to produce its goods and then consolidates the wildly obscene profit margins in the hands of a few. In my book, no additional amount of real or perceived safety warrant the latter behavior – designed as it is to suck us all down to the lowest common denominator. I’ll repeat what the facts bear out, that expensive helmets are no safer and offer no additional protection then their cheaper counterparts. Its been said before, but paying a lot more for what is in effect less helmet (more vents equals less actual mass, etc) is one of the greatest frauds ever foisted on the buying public. Give me a helmet that is verifiably safer and that is made by people who are paid a living wage and I’m happy to pay more for it. But un-scientific conjecture put forth by a company staffer concerning a Chinese helmet simply goes too far.

    Lets stick to the facts and leave the supposition to those folks who have no reason to lie.

  • element22

    Ummm.. Where are you going with these statements of a helmet made overseas or another country? So in otherwords are you pro-american and do not believe that other people make as good or better products? Kinda shallow minded if I may say so myself… Now this is not a forum where you or anyone else should be saying comments like that. Companies have their products made where they like and thats that…Giro, Bell, THE, and the list goes on make helmets overseas. Is that bad? No. So your saying these brands are also no good and should not be trusted? Is that what your eluding to?

    Each brand I mentioned has helmets over $150.00 Are you saying that those helmets are no good as well?? Are you even qualified as an engineer to say so?

  • skibum

    “Had the reviewer paid out of pocket for the helmet than, yes, I would agree that the post is just a unaffiliated review.” Not necessarily so–you see very few average or poor reviews of top end products; few willingly admit they dropped a lot of coin on something the ultimately determined to be inferior or simply didn’t like.

    “Were this helmet actually made in Sweden or some other Western country replete with the kinds of environmental and labor laws that we here (in the USA) take for granted โ€“ instead of making them in the same factory if China as the wally world variety โ€“ then I would also be less inclined to point out what I see as a conflict of interest on the part of the โ€œreviewerโ€. ” Where the helmet is produced and whether there are discrepancies between the review and reality are completely unrelated. It doesn’t help your case to say you’re more willing to slam something just because it was produced offshore.

    “. . . when a corporation markets and sells a product that costs them a few dollars to produce but that retails for what equals a thousand or more percent markup . . .” Does this helmet only cost a few dollars to produce? I don’t know, do you? I doubt anybody outside POC knows. How ’bout the actual markup, eh? Same story. It looks like you are making an assumption based on your preconceived notion–kinda like thinking somebody is assuming a construction technique is stronger just because he didn’t have to pay full price for the helmet, eh? “Lets stick to the facts . . .” Good advice; you should follow it sometime.

    “Its been said before, but paying a lot more for what is in effect less helmet (more vents equals less actual mass, etc) is one of the greatest frauds ever foisted on the buying public.” Why is it that lighter (less actual mass) bike frames costs more than heavy ones? Because the cost of materials and/or manufacturing processes are higher to make a similar frame at lighter weight. This is no fraud foisted on the unwitting, it’s material science. If I want a helmet that’s full of big holes (which I like for the light weight and the cooling aspect), the actual material present will have to be stronger to protect my noggin’ in a fall. I don’t need ANSI to tell me that and I’m willing to pay a premium for it. Even if it didn’t actually cost the manufacturer more, I’m still willing to pay more since the product provides me with more utility. If there’s competition, then I don’t have to worry about paying more as Fox, Bell, Giro or somebody else will make the product without that high a markup. Fact is, business operating in a competitive environment will (and should) charge whatever people are willing to pay.

    I appreciate healthy skepticism more than most and I don’t naturally trust anybody trying to sell something, but I see no conspiracy or even unwitting promotion here. Dude got a helmet and liked it. He looked at the materials and construction and surmised it was good, and probably assumed anybody reading the review would understand that’s just one man’s opinion, not an assertion of universal truth.

    While the environment, workers wages, and false advertising are all issues worthy of our attention both as citizens and consumers, the constant harping on these topics unrelated to the actual truthfulness of the review damage your credibility more than whether the reviewer paid for or got comped the helmet. At least the reviewer stayed on topic.

    In fact, your credibility was suspect the second we saw your screen name. Messiah complex, anyone?

  • element22

    I figured as much. What does get me though is the way people who just pop into the forums without any real sense of what biking or any other sport is about.. For years I was also involved in motorsports and there we had many an arguement on helmets as well…There were many people also agruing about meeting standards vs claims of exceeding them…So people were really pasionate about that too..Truth is. One test does not make a safe helmet…It makes a helmet meet a standard. It does not take into account other factors which if you don’t get out there and experience the real world, you will never find out.
    For example in motorsports impact tests were great but missleading. The heavier the helmets got in that case were a liability as well. Under a real work situation where a driver impacts a wall. The added weight of a helmet which just meets standards for example would transmit more force on the neck than a helmet which was made lighter out of stronger materials which also meet the standard and dare I say exceeded it. But the test did not take into account the added forces due to acceleration of a higher mass on the head. That could cause other effects. Very much like my comment (which I still stand by) it meets the standard test (the anvil drop) but due to it’s shape also adds more protection in my opinion (again getting out there and actually experiencing more than one fall). Ohh and I don’t ever think I landed squarely on the crown of my head. Mostly sides or back.. Hmmmm in fact it would be cool to see how many other people who are reading this actually fallen right on the crown of the head…

  • Full_Truth

    I take issue with companies whose send our jobs overseas (we used to make our helmets here) and pay people people pennies per hour to do the same jobs we used to do here for a livable wage. If its not already obvious, the natural conclusion to a business ethic that always seeks cheaper and cheaper labor costs is our all working for 20 cents an hour. I take issue with the exploitation of other flesh and blood humans and with companies who pollute our natural world (and all of us) and governments who look the other way while they do it. I take issue with companies who charge the same price or more for products made in a sweatshop then the same products that used to be made here. I take issue with a global transportation system (that moves these goods) that is wholly unsustainable and flies in the face of peak oil and climate change.

    Yes, by any logical meter, companies that don’t have our best interests in mind (or that of future generation) are bad if they are blatantly contributing to our collective extinction via all of the above. On a superficial level they are also fleecing us consumers in the process. How can I trust anyone who does all of that? The underlying reason that companies chose to move their production “overseas” (read sweatshop) is not so they can compete (that argument is bunk) – its so they can lower their labor costs, externalize even more of their expenses and laugh all the way to the bank. We’re the suckers in that equation. Most of us keep right on buying these companys’ wares, delusional about the ever greater negative impact our choices have on people and environments far way (and ultimately on ourselves). As I get older and examine what is truly important in life, I simply have less patience for marketing hype, exploitation and greed. Again, I’m all for a $150 helmet as long as it meets some sort of fairtrade standard (workers are paid a livable wage and have the same rights and privileges we in this country take for granted) and doesn’t needlessly degrade our environment in its production. Unfortunately, this won’t happen as long as compaines are allowed to run rampant the world over. When we make stuff at home we can have a fighting chance of control through regulation and labor actions the behavior of the companies who employ us.

    I’ll also remind everyone reading that this forum is in fact exactly the place to call into question how and why companies do what they do. I’ll point out that workers who toil in factories in China or Malaysia or Sri Lanka to produce the overpriced helmets we rely on don’t have the ability to call into question the system that suppresses their rights and their human diginity. I’ll end my comments on this particular review now. I hope that these comments and future ones will be met with logical analysis and debate. I also hope this debate continues unabated – the time for action is now.

  • dgaddis

    It’s like those little brain bucket helmets Harley riders are so fond of: they must have passed a test of some sort to make them legal for street use, but they certainly are not as safe as a full face helmet.

  • Mountaincrazy

    I think that if you are really honest hear you will admit that the additional price you pay is not for added protection, but for the brand and design of whatever helmet you decide to by. This is the same for Giro, Fox, 661 or POC. I bought the Trabec, but I don’t expect to have better protection, but I do believe I have one of the best designed and marketed helmets and brands in the MTB industry today.

    You can buy the Trabec Race or Trabec Regular from All Sport Protection. I bought one a couple weeks ago.

  • jaredmcvay

    It looks like an Anime helmet. I like it. Wouldn’t wear it myself, but the wife would.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.