POC Kortal & Kortal Race MIPS Helmets

On The Trail

David: For the most part, I’ve forgotten about the Kortal MIPS Race while I’ve been wearing it, and that’s a really good thing. The ventilation is better than average for this sort of Trail / Enduro helmet (if not quite on par with the exceedingly cool Speedframe Pro), the interior padding does a great job of directing sweat drips away from the face, and it’s been very comfortable overall.

The MIPS Integra system used in the Kortal Race MIPS is also one of the more impressive parts of the helmet. I’ve complained in the past about certain other MIPS implementations being some combination of noisy and / or making it feel like the helmet is moving around on my head — which is especially noticeable for me, since I tend to keep my head shaved — but there’s absolutely none of that with the Kortal Race MIPS. Its MIPS liner is both totally silent, and sufficiently damped as to not really feel like it’s moving around under the weight of the helmet as you bounce down the trail. It’s outstanding.

I’ve also come to appreciate the gigantic visor on the Kortal — especially because, as I noted above, it does an uncommonly good job of staying put and not changing positions, which can be a real annoyance on some other helmets. The biggest factor for me is that it actually seems to make an appreciable difference in keeping rain off whatever eyewear I happen to be wearing, which in turn goes a long way towards keeping said eyewear clear and un-foggy. I did a ton of riding in very, very wet weather earlier this winter, and the monster visor on the Kortal was a real boon there.

It’s probably helpful if you’re riding in a lot of bright, sunny areas too, but between how dense the tree cover is in most of the places I ride and the fact that the sun probably won’t reappear in the PNW for another few months, I’ve got a lot less testing on that front. But maybe more to the point, it hasn’t obstructed my view, flapped around, or done anything else annoying, so unless you’re super opposed to the aesthetics, I don’t think there’s any downside.

I had wondered how much the added weight and slightly increased bulk of the Kortal Race MIPS would feel on the bike, and honestly, I really don’t notice it once I start riding. It does feel a bit heavier than most other helmets in the class (everything else I’ve mentioned here is ~80–100 g lighter) when you’re holding it in your hand, but once it’s on my head, I’ve just forgotten about it. And that probably makes sense — sure, it’s ~20% heavier than a lot of other stuff I’ve used recently, and that sounds like a lot when you put it that way. But it’s not actually very much weight in absolute terms and is a total non-factor in my book. And if you are worried about the weight, the non-MIPS version of the Kortal is substantially lighter (though we are comparing different sizes, so take our measured weights with a grain of salt). If you’ve got a jacket with a hood that’s a marginal fit over a lower-profile helmet, the Kortal might push that fit over the brink (especially in the larger sizes) but even the XL–XXL has been fine in the couple of jackets I’ve been using most of late (primarily the Fox Flexair Neoshell and 7mesh Skypilot) so I don’t think that’s a big deal, either.