POC Axiom Race MIPS Helmet Review


Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Finlay Anderson

POC has been protecting riders’ heads for many years at this point, always with a unique look and high focus on safety tech. The Axion Race Mips is the Mips-equipped version of the “budget” trail helmet in the POC lineup, but as is typical with products from the Swedish brand, there’s no skimping on features or quality. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting this trail helmet to the test, and for the slightly lighter duty days it’s become one of Robert’s favorites.


The Axion is the entry level trail mountain bike helmet in the POC range, and the Axion Race Mips adds the Mips Integra tech to bolster the protective capabilities of this helmet with only a small $20 price premium. POC is not one to offer cheap equipment for the sake of it, and so their most affordable Mips-equipped mountain bike helmet still retails for $180. But for that, you get a very well-made product with the details well accounted for.

POC Axiom Race MIPS Helmet Review

The base structure of the Axion is an EPS foam liner which features extended temple coverage and is covered in a PC “Unibody” shell to keep it safe from damage. The helmet is given what POC claims to be optimized ventilation channels, letting air flow through the lid to keep your head cool. The Axion Race Mips is equipped with the Mips Integra rotational impact protection system, designed to reduce the chances of a brain injury in a crash caused by an angled impact. Mips Integra replaces the SPIN system found on the previous Axion helmet and shares the same general concept. This system is very simplistic in appearance, avoiding the need for an extra plastic layer and so improving ventilation, but it still allows for that 10-15mm of rotational translation of the helmet in a crash to reduce the peak rotational impact forces, thanks to a stealthily integrated slip plane and special pads designed to slide. Further boosting safety is a patented adjustable peak that’s designed to break away to reduce the chance of snagging in a crash.

On the chin strap there’s a standard buckle, and the rear of the helmet features a dial to adjust the 360-degree fit system and snug down the helmet on the head. This fit system is adjustable between a few vertical positions thanks to a sliding rail system inside the helmet. POC offers the Axion Race Mips in a choice of seven colors in sizes XS-L to fit heads from 48cm to 62cm. A size Medium tips the scales at a competitive 360g.

POC Axiom Race MIPS Helmet Review


While many POC helmets fall on the slightly more extreme oval-shaped end of the scale, the Axion appears to be a slightly more rounded profile that should work with a wider variety of heads, especially for those on the cusp of having to go for the next size up. My size medium (56-58cm) helmet fit very true to size, and the 360-degree fit system let me quickly and easily adjust both the cradle at the rear and the overall size of the helmet to sit on my head comfortably and securely. The Axion Race Mips has a fairly low profile on the head compared with the burlier POC offerings, leading it to receive some compliments from riders who hadn’t been on board with the appearance of POC’s trail offerings in the past. And it passes the looks test for me too, especially in the clean and futuristic matt silver colorway tested. It doesn’t quite offer the extended coverage down the back of the head nor the overall burly and protective looks of the other POC trail lids, but I rarely felt as if my head was lacking protection.

The Mips Integra system is so stealthy that you’d have no idea it was there without the sticker to tell you. Thankfully we haven’t tested its efficacy in a crash, and we don’t have the means to test it in a lab setting, so we’ll assume it’s just as effective as the older Mips systems, which I think we can safely say are a must-have for riders looking to protect their head as best as possible. The other benefit of the Integra system is there’s a reduced chance of creaking and squeaking of the helmet, as there’s not the same plastic-on-plastic contact or two foam layers to rub against each other, and so the POC lid goes about its business silently.

POC Axiom Race MIPS Helmet Review

While thick padding inside a helmet can yield a “cushy” sort of comfort and overall feel a little more reassuringly safe on the head, in reality thicker pads do not really offer any meaningful extra protection and instead only stand to increase heat, weight and the tendency to retain sweat. The thin padding on the POC Axion manages to prevent any pressure hot spots or any general discomfort, but crucially gives a lighter more “trail” feeling on the head that combines with some good airflow to keep the head cool inside. The Axion Race Mips doesn’t quite hit the pinnacles of airiness but certainly does a stellar job for all but the hottest and steepest climbs. This airiness is undoubtedly a helping hand in keeping the padding free from building up a smell, which it has thus far avoided, much to my surprise.

With more helmets coming with a Fidlock buckle I’ve started to really miss it when I go back to a standard closure – it still does the trick, just with a slightly less refined feel. My only real gripe with the Axion Race Mips though is that the peak is very difficult to adjust in position. This could be an isolated issue, but I found that I would need a solid hand to hold the helmet steady while the other moved the visor, which isn’t the most practical when on the move. Otherwise though this is a dialed, quality helmet that fully gets my seal of approval for riders looking for their next trail lid, especially with its comparatively reasonable price.

The Wolf’s Last Word

By no means is $170 cheap for a helmet, but given its quality and performance all around, the POC Axion Race Mips helmet doesn’t feel like a bad buy. I think it looks great and other than the stiff peak, it gave me no complaints through the countless rides it’s joined me on.

Price: $180 /£150
Website: Pocsports.com

We Dig

Sleek looks
Mips Integra integration
Reasonable ventilation

We Don’t

Stiff peak adjustment


Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.