The POC Corpora AID is the Swedish firm's best commuter helmet, and part of the utopian-looking 'POC and forth' collection. It is a dedicated urban helmet designed to offer a blend of safety with a casual style that doesn’t encourage a post-work crit commute.
Design and aesthetics
As with many commuter helmets, the Corpora takes its base design from the skater-style helmet with its smooth rounded shape and deep coverage around the sides and rear. However, the smaller front vents and subtle branding set it apart from standard skate-style helmets. Visually simple, the design shouldn’t contrast whether you’re wearing casual or smarter work attire and looks designed for purpose rather than an old lid dug out the back of the garage. The helmet is only available in white which personally wouldn’t be my first choice as it is more likely to show marks and dirt.
Ventilation is provided by two front slits that feed into internal channelling to feed air across the head and out the back via two similarly sized exhaust vents. Dot vents in the ABS shell add some additional points of escape for hot air. There is also internal channelling between the ABS shell and EPP (Expanded Polystyrene) liner which are in line with internal vents in the EPP, I’m not entirely sure what these do but suspect they may create a Venturi effect to draw air away from the head.
The ABS shell is robust and quite a bit thicker than what you would find on a regular road helmet. POC has specced this durable shell to help add a little extra protection to the EPP liner as commuter helmets are often subjected to a bit more rough-and-tumble than a regular road helmet which is likely to be primarily stored in a single safe place.
POC uses a multi-impact EPP liner to withstand the rigors of day-to-day use. EPP liners are generally designed to permanently compress during an impact which is what reduces the forces on the head to provide protection, POC claims that the multi-impact liner will protect from multiple impacts meaning that your helmet doesn’t need replacing after every incident. Of course, common sense must be used and if you are in an incident that involves a head impact you must inspect the helmet for any significant damage, such as cracks or noticeable dents, that could compromise the integrity and safety of the helmet.
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The Corpora gets a proper retention system with an easy-to-adjust dial at the rear which brings the helmet into a snug fit. The strap closure doesn’t use a regular buckle, instead magnetic FIDLOCK buckle is used for quick and simple use. The two ends easily locate into each other and once connected are extremely secure. Removal is as easy as flipping it open and the two ends come apart.
Additional safety is an important consideration with products designed for urban riding. POC has specced the Corpora AID with five rear LEDs to increase visibility when riding in dim or dark conditions. Adding lights to the helmet is a logical move for commuter helmets, lights mounted higher up are more visible as they are less likely to be hidden by cars or street furniture. The LEDs are controlled by a single button on the strap that lets you cycle through the two modes, steady and blinking. The helmet is charged using a micro USB cable (included) straight into the rear of the helmet. Battery life is claimed to be 8 hours in steady mode and 18 hours in blinking mode.
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Performance and fit
The simple design of the Corpora AID should mean that the fit is universally comfortable. The padding is well placed around the helmet and the retention dial give a good range of adjustment for further fine-tuning. The straps are well positioned and have a nice metal guide to adjust strap routing around the ears. The magnetic FIDLOCK buckle is so much easier to use than a regular buckle - POC says that it can be closed one-handed, I couldn’t figure that out myself but closure is still simple and removal is very fast.
Ventilation is always a bit of a compromise with commuter helmets, and the Corpora AID is no different. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it dealt with heat when riding along at a steady pace without much exertion. Turn up the power and your head will get a little hotter but not as much as some competitors. Without air flowing through the channels heat very quickly builds up, unable to radiate away so it can get a little uncomfortable at times. This doesn’t come as a surprise as any helmet that doesn’t have gaping vents, like a proper road helmet, is going to suffer in the same way.
All too commonly, built-in lights on helmets are more of a gimmick rather than providing any practical functionality. While POC’s five rear LEDs aren’t going to replace the best rear bike lights any time soon, they provide a useable supplement for additional visibility and enough output to get you home safely on those days you get caught out by the setting sun. If I were picky I would like to see a faster flashing mode but this is more a personal preference. The single rubberised button on the left strap is neat and easy to locate and use on the move and if you're wearing gloves.
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If you’re looking for a well-designed dedicated urban commuting helmet, the Corpora AID is one of the best. Simple styling will appeal to the majority, as will the universal and easily adjustable fit. While the LED lights are subtly integrated into the helmet they are far from subtle once turned on and are punchy enough to offer an additional level of visibility when out on the road. The only real negative is the price which is set at an eye-watering £240 and in line with the best road bike helmets.
- Temperature range: Summer, 15-25 degrees
- Test duration: One month
- Terrain: Urban
Tech spec: POC Corpora AID
- Price: £240 / $250 / €270
- Rotational safety: No
- Retention: POC ratchet
- Weight: 535g (actual, M/L)
- Aero: No
- Sizes: XS/S (51-55), M/L (55-58), XL/XXL (59-62)
- Colours: White