Don't like wearing a bike helmet? Guess what: nobody does. But we all really should be wearing one any time we hop on our favorite man-powered, two-wheeled transportation. (If your favorite two-wheeled transportation is a motorcycle, I double down on my point.)
Sure, I'll admit to hopping on a rideshare bike from time to time without a helmet — but whenever I can, I strap on a bike helmet. I've been riding road bikes, gravel bikes and mountain bikes for multiple decades now, not to mention a few healthy years of bike commuting. Never once did I regret having a helmet on.
One thing I did have a hard time finding, however, was a helmet that worked for all of those disciplines. A road bike helmet should be lightweight and well-ventilated, a mountain bike helmet should provide ample coverage of each side of your head, and a commuter helmet should be simple, affordable and reliable.
I am happy to report that I have finally found a helmet that does all of these things. The POC Omne Air, specifically the newest model with MIPS protective technology, is the best helmet I've ever had. I've been using it for two years now, originally wearing one with POC's proprietary SPIN protective system. But now that they've dropped a MIPS version, I am all the more enthusiastic about it.
What's Good About the Omne Air MIPS
It's made for any type of bike riding
As I mentioned earlier, this helmet is equipped for any discipline. The Omne Air is equipped with MIPS Integra, which is the latest in helmet technology — providing 360° protection from rotational impact, thus lessening the chances of concussion. You'll find this tech integrated into a lot of helmets these days, but certainly not all of them. This makes it a viable choice for mountain biking, gravel grinding and road riding; plus, having MIPS is a huge plus for a commuter helmet.
In fact, one of the first places I saw the helmet was on a professional multi-discipline racer, Lachlan Morton, when he ventured out to take on hundreds of miles of mixed terrain on a drop-bar adventure bike. Racing across road, gravel and mountain bike terrain, he needed a versatile lid and the Omne Air was perfect for the job.
The Omne Air comes in a number of exciting colors
POC knew it had something fun on its hands when it made the Omne Air; the helmet has always come in a variety of colorways that lend themselves to the playful, adventurous spirit of the helmet. White and black are standard, but it has also come in bright orange, purple, blue and the pink you see on Lachlan's dome above.
Not only does the variety of colorways allow the rider to express themselves, but it also adds a layer of safety. Being seen on the road or the trail is imperative, so adding a bit of pop to your helmet (or even rocking an all-white one) is never a bad idea. POC certainly knows what it's doing here.
This POC helmet looks good on your head
When it comes to high-performing helmets, looks aren't generally the first thing to think about. The priciest ones that are made for pros on the road are full of aerodynamic tech that gives them funny angles and shapes, while higher-end mountain bike helmets require a ton of bulk to keep you protected. Neither of these things really translate to a helmet that looks stylish.
While it is still a bike helmet, the slimmer profile of the Omne Air keeps your head from looking enormous, even if you have a small head or slim face. Not to mention the weight savings you get from a slim profile, which makes it much more comfortable on longer rides or when fitted over a cycling cap.
What's Not Ideal About the Omne Air MIPS
It's way too tricky to dial in the fit of the straps
My only gripe with this helmet is that the straps are very difficult to get dialed in. Once they're there, you're in the clear, but to get to that point, a lot of pushing and pulling on the straps is required to move the plastic piece into the correct position. It's obviously not a dealbreaker, but it can be kind of annoying.
POC Omne Air MIPS Bike Helmet: The Verdict
There are lighter helmets out there, and there are helmets that provide more coverage for mountain biking — but pound for pound, you're not going to find a better helmet than this one. It's super-affordable, and considering you can use this for all of your biking needs, you get even more value; no need to have three helmets lying around.
Beyond its affordability and usefulness, you also get thoughtful details like what POC calls the "Eye Garage" — a clever bit of design incorporated into the front of the lid that allows you to safely store your sunglasses on the helmet when you take them off. This may seem like a little thing, but you'll be thankful you can put them up there and trust they won't fall out when things get bumpy. (The Eye Garage works especially well with POC's sunglasses, which are made to work in tandem with all POC helmets.)
All in all, if you're not sure what helmet to get and you need something that can do it all...just get this.