Swedish athlete protection specialists POC continue to expand their cycling line for 2013 with new gloves, TT helmets, urban helmets, and spine-saving hydration packs. We spent some time with the company at Interbike last month to look at the last two- and came away impressed. Hit the jump for all the dirt!
Perhaps positioning themselves as the Volvo or SAAB (R.I.P.) of cycling equipment, POC are first and foremost focused on rider protection- and bring a unique combination of high technology and clean design to bear on the problem. The new Crane urban helmet is a prime example. Knowing that urban cyclists’ helmets spend a good deal of their days being bounced around while hanging off of messenger bags and backpacks, POC have combined a thicker-than-normal outer shell with a dual-density foam inner. This construction keeps protection high and weight low while allowing the $120 helmet to shrug off the indignities of everyday life. While the soft inner foam provides production for lower-energy impacts, the denser outside foam helps to progressively dissipate high-energy hits.
Aimed at the gravity set, POC’s 16L and 25L VPD 2.0 Back Protector packs are low profile hydration packs that incorporate a visco-elastic spine protecting sheet. The green sheet (shown in the open pack above) is feels like a dense foam during normal use, which should keep the packs reasonably comfortable, but hardens upon impact At $175 and $200, the packs sit reasonably close to the rider’s back, so shouldn’t be much of a bother on the lists. An integrated helmet/armor holder keeps everything together on the way up the hill.