Review: POC Cerebel Raceday Aero Helmet
article & images by Nick Salazar
May 19, 2016  hits 32,175

The POC Cerebel Raceday helmet is possibly my new favorite areo lid.

This is a bit of a funny story. A few years ago, POC released their first time trial helmet, called the Tempor. It was ... ridiculous in appearance. Maybe it was fast for some athletes, but I don't know of any. And anecdotally, I spoke to one wind tunnel tech who had tested dozens of athletes with the it, and never found one for whom it was faster than other modern lids.

Fast forward to 2014, and POC releases a completely different design that has me foaming at the mouth with excitement. This new lid, the Cerebel, looked awesome. I've had my eye on the POC Cerebel since it was in prototype stage under Pro Tour riders. It's a short-tail lid with an integrated magnetic visor, slick minimal design, and a shape that looks to lend itself well to a wide variety of head positions. I finally got my hands on one, and have been very happy with the helmet. So let's take a look at this thing.

Minimal, modern design

My first impression of this egg-shaped airfoil is that it looks a lot like modern rim + tire designs, also meant to work well at a variety of orientations and angles.

The Cerebel is something that POC developed in collaboration with Team Garmin, so it's probably no accident that it looks a lot like the no-tail Giro Selector team-only prototypes that the team rode for a couple of seasons. Looks like when Garmin switched helmet sponsors, they made clear that they wanted a helmet with similar characteristics. Fortunately for consumers, this time it was destined to become a retail product.

The basic concept of the helmet is to provide a short, snub-tailed shape that works at various angles of slip and attack, mnaking it less sensitive to head movement. This was a requirement Garmin thought important for Team Time Trials, where riders' heads move quite a bit. And it turns out to work very well in the case of triathletes, who move around a lot. But my eyeball guess is that even if you take out the "high movement" use case, the helmet stacks up very favorably to others. That is, I'm willing to wager that in a normal tuck, the helmet still puts out very good drag numbers compared to traditional helmets. At least for my position, where the helmet fits very nicely. It would take a wind tunnel test to confirm, but absent a specific study for my own position, I'm inclined to say I like it. A lot.

Creature Comforts

My three favorite helmets: the POC Cerebel, LG P-09, and Giro Selector

Aero speculation aside, how does this thing actually work? How livable is it? Actually, it's fantastic. Well, it's fantastic for me. The Cerebel comes in two sizes: a Small that fits 50-56cm heads, and a Medium that fits 54-60cm. In general, you want to use the smallest helmet that can fit your head, as to reduce that frontal area. My head is a 59, so the Medium is a perfect fit for me. It comes down over my big monkey ears without any fuss, and I can keep the ratcheting adjustment knob pretty loose.

I'm also a big fan of integrated helmet lenses, as seen on the Giro Selector and Louis Garneau P-09, currently my two other favorite helmets. POC doesn't make any mirrored versions of its lenses, like Garneau does for the P-09. A mirrored lens would easily make this my favorite helmet, for reasons of pure vanity. But the shape, comfort, construction, and light weight of the Cerebel still put it into first place for me, perhaps just tied with the P-09, and the Selector just slightly behind. At $380 retail, it's not cheap, but absolutely worth a look.


Tags » cerebel,  helmets,  pochelmets

Helmet Details 

  • The POC Cerebel Raceday Helmet in all its minimal glory.
  • The vents on the lens are the only air intake on the helmet, so it can be a little warm in there, but not too bad.
  • From the top, you can see the egg-shaped airfoil of the Cerebel which reminds me a lot of the best modern rim shapes we've seen lately from the likes of Zipp, FLO, HED, and others. Those shapes are also designed to work in a variety of orientations. Conceptually, I like this idea.
  • A comparison of my three favorite helmets at the moment: The Giro Selector on the left, Louis Garneau P-09 center, and POC Cerebel on the right.
  • A comparison of my three favorite helmets at the moment: The Giro Selector on the right, Louis Garneau P-09 center, and POC Cerebel on the left.
  • The Carl Zeiss lenses use a novel vertically-oriented magnet system that eliminates the problems some other helmets have had with front-facing magnets falling off.
  • The Carl Zeiss lenses use a novel vertically-oriented magnet system that eliminates the problems some other helmets have had with front-facing magnets falling off.
  • The Carl Zeiss lenses use a novel vertically-oriented magnet system that eliminates the problems some other helmets have had with front-facing magnets falling off. Another nice feature of the magnets being recessed into the helmet in the vertical orientation is that it means they aren't in your field of vision at all.
  • The Carl Zeiss lenses use a novel vertically-oriented magnet system that eliminates the problems some other helmets have had with front-facing magnets falling off.
  • The lens fully seated in the helmet.
  • The ratcheting closure system in the back can be tricky to access, but I just tended to keep mine fairly loose, as the helmet construction gripped my head well enough without it.
  • A nice strap management system keeps the strap out of the wind.
  • The foam tail can be trimmed to better fit your position if needed.
  • This hole at the tail is the primary exit path for air moving through the lid. There are also two little slit-shaped vents behind each ear.

Helmet + Rider 

  • This side-on shot shows that the total height of the helmet doesn't change much with changing head positions. That helps keep frontal area low in a variety of positions, a big strength of the Cerebel's design.
  • Side-on shot of my position with the POC Cerebel, head up but mildly tucked.
  • Side-on shot of my position with the POC Cerebel, head up but mildly tucked.
  • A more complete side-on shot, in a resting heads-up position. I am quite happy with the looks of this, absent a wind tunnel test to confirm whether the helmet is actually fast for me.
  • Even with my head a little higher up, I like the shape the helmet takes. Not much of a gap anywhere, and I can easily imagine the air taking a nice smooth path from the front of the helmet to the small of my back.
  • With my head halfway down, the short tail means frontal area doesn't go up.
  • With the head completely down, the helmet completely disappears from the wind. No long tail to point up and catch air.
  • Front-on shot with the POC Cerebel Raceday.
  • Front-on shot with the POC Cerebel Raceday.

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