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Inside POC | Cycling Helmet And Clothing Design At POC HQ

Inside POC | Cycling Helmet And Clothing Design At POC HQ


– POC are just launching a brand new aero road helmet called the “Ventral,” and they’ve very kindly
flown us out to Sweden to actually come and take a look at it. There is a full, in-depth feature on it over on the GCN Tech channel right now, but before we get too into the minutiae, I actually just want to find out a little bit more about
this super cool company, the headquarters of
which are just up there. And you may be able to tell by my borrowed coat, helmet, and bike, I have already been there this morning. (analogue urban soul) POC’s HQ is in a mega
looking office block, in a very cool part of Stockholm. Actually, all of Stockholm is pretty cool, or at least it certainly
is today; it’s minus seven. But having said that, there
are a lot of bike riders still buzzing around the
place, which is amazing to see. Anyway, we’re heading just up there. (analogue urban soul) ♪ Doo doo doo, de doo doo ♪ ♪ Dodoo dodoo doo de doo ♪ Right then, here we go. I’ve not actually been in a design-savvy Scandinavian office before, but I’m not going to lie; this is everything I hoped it would be. We’ve got nice high
ceilings, massive windows, loads of natural light;
open plan, communal dining: very, very cool. But the GMBN guys actually,
who have already been here, did tell me that I do need to check out the branded coffee machine;
I need no second bidding, it seems like a very good place to start. Mugs … (machine growls) ♪ Hey ♪
– Ah! (sipping) Ah. Now POC have got quite a
recent history in road cycling, but the company was founded back in 2005 with skiing helmets, and then transitioned over into mountain biking in 2007, and then the first range for road cyclists wasn’t until 2014 when they came in with helmets, eyewear, and clothing. You can see then that there’s
quite a variety to the range, but the central theme through all of it is that’s it’s got to enhance
the safety of the customer in some way. So, helmets, that’s quite an obvious one; body armour, obvious one as well; eyewear, dual function that one, because actually protecting
your eyes is pretty valid, and they say actually their
latest range of lenses, called “Clarity,” actually
enhance certain light conditions and improve your visibility
and thereby safety as well. And then clothing as well,
well that’s just designed to improve your visibility too. So you can see where we’re
going with all of this. So I don’t know about you,
but I’m really intrigued just to know where this central mission has actually come from. I think we need to find
someone to talk to. After I finish my coffee. (hip urban rhythms) I found this man Damian who’s
going to tell us all about it. Unfortunately you’re not quite as Swedish as I was initially
hoping for, but you know, that’s fine, you’ll do the job. So how exactly did this
mission come about, this mission of safety? – So, POC was founded, let’s
say 12 or 13 years ago, and Stefan Ytterborn,
the guy who created it, was a passionate skiier,
doing ski competitions with his children, and then
realised actually at some stage with his kids, that the
protection in skiing was not developing as fast
as other parts of skiing. So the speeds the kids were travelling at was a lot more, let’s say
in terms of downhill speeds, and the impacts were a lot bigger. So he thought there’s
definitely a need here for something that’s
better, better designed but better protection and
just a better overall concept in terms of protection and safety. – Okay and then the move
into mountain biking, did that come from a passion
of Stefan’s, or is that … – Yeah definitely; he was definitely into mountain biking as well;
I think most Scandinavians or Swedes, especially in this area, have got a lot of mountain
biking available to them, so they’re into mountain biking too. But the reality is I
think in downhill skiing, and in sort of downhill mountain biking, the terrain is much the same and a lot of the needs
are very similar too so there was a natural shift across from skiing to mountain biking. – Yeah and if the safety thing
runs through the whole range, there is also a really
clear design aesthetic to all POC products, and so how do the two kind of sit together, safety and design? – Yeah it’s funny, because I mean, let’s say Sweden or Scandinavia
is well known for design, so actually you’d kind of expect some of that aspect of
it to be in POC product. But the reality is that safety
is the most important part; design comes afterwards. But we realise also that the
best or the safest helmet is one that somebody chooses to wear, and that’s often down to a design choice, and so we make a lot of effort to make sure that the design is right, but the safety is the starting point for everything that we do. So the safety is the starting point and the design comes afterwards. (analogue urban soul) So Simon I’ve also heard quite
a few things about glasses, and how old your glasses
are. (Simon laughs) They really need replacing,
so I think it’s about time that you got some new eyewear. – Well, thank you very much. How do I look, Fear and
Loathing in Las Vegas? No? (urban soul music) In total, there are 35 people that work here in the Swedish
office, and this is like the engine room of the company. They’ve also got other offices in the U.S. and Central Europe as well, but it’s still a relatively small team to have
made quite such a big impact in snow sports and mountain biking, and road cycling as well. And I think part of it,
certainly my impression anyway, from puttering around and
chatting to people here, is their openness to collaboration. An example of which would be the POC Lab, which is a panel of experts
from different fields. So you have neurologists, who
can consult on brain injuries; orthopaedic surgeons, who are doctors that deal with fractured bones; but then you also have
people that can actually help prevent accidents in the first place. Perhaps the most interesting
one for us roadies is a woman called Magdalena Lindman who works for Volvo Cars, and
she is a traffic data analyst. So to find out a little bit more about that particular partnership, we need to talk to Johan, who’s the digital business
and collaborations manager. And he’s just down there. All right, so I’ve just been talking about the partnership with Volvo; what do POC get out of that exactly? I’m really interested. – Well the partnership with
Volvo is very important. And from a realistic point of view, we share the same heritage
when it comes to safety, also the Swedish quality in design. And it allows us to explore possibilities and experience and knowledge within safety to find new ideas, for
safety functions or design. – So how’s that worked in the past? And is it an ongoing project as well? – Yeah we did some projects
and concepts in the past. Now we are in two different
projects together. First project where we want to be a part of the connected vehicle environment; vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be a standardised protocol, and I want the cyclist to
be part of that network. – [Si] So that’s a little
bit like autonomous cars actually being able to see
cyclists, because at the minute I gather we’re a bit of a problem to them. – Normally this industry’s
very automotive focused in the development, and I also want to be a part of that environment, to be able to have the information and take decisions and give feedback to the cyclist
from the same environment. – And so does this come from
the traffic data analysis then? – Yes, exactly. – And so they’ve literally
been able to tell you, you know, these are the incidents that have been with
Volvo cars and cyclists, and these are the most common? – They have a lot of
statistics and background when it comes to crashes,
where they occur and why and what kind of environment they were in. And if you go from that and see where the statistics is the worst, we can try to solve
that also from our side. – Now I noticed as well in your job title that you are digital
business manager as well. So how does digital technology
come into safety as well? We haven’t seen too much of
it on the roadside of yet. – Yeah, so POC Aid is about
finding and integrating digital applications and
electronics in our products to support the safety mission. How can we use technology
within electronics to make the product more safe? And that can be from simple integration, when it comes to, you know, visibility, LED or even more advanced
printed lights, electroluminents, inside the garments,
to increase visibility. How can we help the user to be searchable? How can we help the user to be trackable? Communication devices, so
more simple applications and also adaptive geometry,
how can we integrate, for example, airbags and stuff like this in the cyclists’ environment. (raucous urban jazz) – This little fella is Gustav Larsson, Swedish time trial ace, and
this is a POC aero helmet that was designed specifically for him for the London 2012 Olympics. Now it’s fair to say that
it rather divided opinion when it comes to the aesthetics, but when you stick it on Gustav’s head you kind of see exactly why
it was designed like that. Amazing; so it was a
complete conceptual design. It was a project specifically
for Gustav Larsson. Check it out, the most
aero helmet for him. I’m not sure that’s
going to go over my ears. Has he got small ears? (modern urban jazz) So Johan’s just been talking about one of the POC Aid digital projects, and that is this little bad boy here which is the wearable and
washable printed LED fabric. So this product is still in development. You can see it’s a vest, or a gilet, and here on this back panel
you’ve got your wearable LED. Which is just genius, because you kind of wouldn’t really know it was there. But then it doesn’t have to be
quite so complicated as that. The commuter jacket that I was wearing first thing this morning has this, as you saw, built-in iPhone holder that you can then tuck
away in your pocket. And they’ve also built an app along with another collaboration with a
tech startup called POC See Me, and it basically turns your iPhone into a blinking rear light
or indeed an indicator when you tell it to turn left or right. Which is kind of cool; I
actually first saw that in Eurobike a couple of years ago, and it has to be said I was
quite taken with it back then. But it’s not all about digital
in their clothing range. So I mentioned at the beginning, they’ve got clothing to
improve your visibility. And so it’s called
“AVIP,” which stands for Attention Visibility
Interaction Protection. And basically they’ve worked out through their own research the key colours that can really help to
make a cyclist stand out. And not only the colours
but also the print as well. And so this mirrors, effectively, the design of the helmet as well, and then you’ve got these really super bright, vibrant colours. And then they’ve also built in protection into other garments as well. So one of my favourites
is in the rain jacket, they’ve got this new super tough Vectran fabric on the forearms. So the whole jacket is
made of like a normal super lightweight waterproof
breathable fabric. You couldn’t make the
whole thing out of Vectran because it would weigh a tonne, but in a key area that matches up, funnily enough, with scars
that I have on my own forearms, so it actually gives a bit
of extra life to the jacket and also a bit of extra
life to your forearms, much like this next one here, which is actually a
ceramic-printed fabric. So it’s like a normal Lycra,
so it’s stretchy in every way, but it’s been printed
with a ceramic coating that basically helps to make it slide. So if you were to fall off
your bike wearing this, then you’d basically get
much less gravel rash, which sounds like a bonus. So that can be printed onto
key areas of your shorts, or like you can see here,
again on the sleeves of a long-sleeve jersey. So there we go, cut down on gravel rash. And then finally, I know this
is technically mountain biking but bear with me because it’s
cross-country mountain biking, they’ve got another Cordura
fabric on the shoulders there, so anyone who’s been mountain
biking in the summer, in woods, you know that
you bash up against loads of trees and brambles and stuff. And so that adds life
to the jersey, again, but also a little bit of
security to your body as well. So a bonus there. Right, so we’ve talked
about POC Lab, POC Aid; we’ve talked about AVIP clothing; what we haven’t done, and seeing as that’s kind of why we’re here, is talk about helmets yet. So I think we need to remedy
that, and remedy it quickly. And finally then, we have
got the helmet design team. Would you believe it,
there’s only three of them. We’ve got Claes, the
designer in the corner; hello Claes.
– Hey mate! – As well as helmets you can see he’s also a designer of eyewear. Then we’ve got two engineers,
so we’ve got Magnus just here, and then we’ve also got Fredrik, who unfortunately isn’t in today. Now they work across all disciplines, so skiing, mountain
biking, and road cycling, which is pretty cool if you ask me, because if there is going to
be innovation in one sport, it can therefore also spread
across to the others as well. So for example if we
look at the construction of ski helmets it’s very different to the normal road cycling
helmets that we see. They’re basically more
robust to repeated impacts. Or some of them are anyway,
because of those that designed for ski racing, where you wallop your head repeatedly against the ski gates. And so the construction is
therefore slightly different, and that construction
then migrated its way over to commuter helmets. So instead of that EPS foam,
it’s made of what’s called an “EPP foam,” and so you can
see, it’s slightly squishy, and that elasticity
allows it to bounce back when you have those smaller impacts. It is however, a little
bit on the heavier side, which is why roadies don’t
normally use this kind of thing, but perfect for commuters. Right, now as I mentioned,
we have got a video over on the tech channel
where we go into this, the new Ventral, in great detail. Magnus is going to talk us
through not only the safety but also the aerodynamic side as well. So why not head over to
watch that video right now; there will be a link very shortly. Safety, it’s not normally a
glamorous kind of subject, but POC are definitely making it cool. And not only that, there’s also this kind of infectious sense of
enthusiasm on the subject that pervades the whole
company, and I really like it. So thank you very much to POC, in fact, for having us here for the day. I think it’s been absolutely fascinating. Do make sure you give the video a big thumbs up if you think so as well, and of course don’t forget to go and watch the video on this,
the new Ventral, after. The link is just there.

99 comments on “Inside POC | Cycling Helmet And Clothing Design At POC HQ

  1. On eyewear, you should cover prescription lenses sometime. Maybe all the GCN folks have great eyes or wear contacts. I'm riding with the Project Rudy Rydon with photocromic coating (so I don't end up riding with dark lenses at night), but mostly that was the choice because of what's available at local shops. For curved lenses, you need a dimension between eyes that isn't part of a normal prescription, so it's not even practical to order online

  2. Safety design is second to none but, the helmets are for cycling rather pig ugly. I use their stuff for skiing but, can't transfer that to cycling. They need to make them just a bit cooler looking

  3. I look away for two seconds, and I would have sworn I heard Si say "Thank you Tupac for having us here." Which, I guess in a way he kind of did… albeit "Thank you TO POC…"

    Yes, I am sleep deprived.

  4. Amazing to see riders in the winter? Simon, you need to come to Canada and let us show you how is done here on temps of minus 29 🙂

  5. Welcome to the Siberian winter in Stockholm Simon! I hope GCN in future do some more stuff from Sweden. Maybe take a ride around "Vättern".

  6. I can ride around like a christmas tree and the car driver won't see me because he / she only sees what he / she wants to see – and thats not a cyclist, but a gap between obstacles to rush through.

  7. I disagree about design being one of the main decision when buying a helmet. Having one is a need and many times it comes down to cost. I would rather pay less for a less sexy helmet that is the safest but $300 for a helmet seems to be a large barrier when it comes to safety.

  8. Check out Si's pinky coming up at https://youtu.be/qfFHfpd8Pmc?t=1m53s. He's so used to having tea with HMTQ!!

  9. I don't think the ruggedized shoulders of the MTB shirt is just to withstand brushing branches, more like the features of the tarmac jersey it is to stand up to rubbing over the ground – as most crashes in XC are OTB or sudden loss of grip when cornering, whirling you into a fractional barrel roll and most often landing on your … ta-da – shoulders.

  10. #askgcn
    hi, i was wondering if you guys could help me, i'm thinking about getting a carrera vanquish and it comes with shimano claris gears with the shifter cable on the outside, are the shifters any good,
    thanks

  11. you guys seem pretty obsessed with aero helmets. Do they make that much of a difference? I mean, the resistance isn't too high wether or not the helmet is aero.

  12. An app for a rear bike light would actually be pretty useful. I've sometimes got caught out with my lights needing charging for the ride home, especially in cold weather. Being able to slip my phone into the mesh pocket of my bag cover would be great.

  13. GCN! Tell about Sverges riding at -7C to British sportive's organizers! They are cancelling rides at +5C!!!! Sick!

  14. Poc is putting lots of attention into safety, which is absolutely great (although which designer of helmets would not?) but their products are also insanely expensive.

  15. As I said in my other POC comment,if you pay top dollar,you expect it to be Swedish made!!!
    I always research,if I am buying something,where the products are made.
    My bike is a Colnago C60,with full Campagnolo Super Record EPS,etc,and all my clothing
    including current pro-issue,TREK Segafredo kit,by Santini,and Vittoria carbon shoes,are 100%
    ITALIAN-MADE!!!

  16. With all these specialists working for POC talking about accident prevention etc. I bet not one of them noticed the tires are flat on that bike…….GCN viewers assess risk for free!

  17. Thoroughly enjoy Inside the factory videos like this, Factor, Elite and Canyon. I own a POC DO Half Blade and loving it. Is there a video on Giro? Would love to watch that. These videos allow us to help appreciate the R&D and design philosophy that goes in. Keep up the good vids!

  18. A guy in Australia is about to release a helmet with in but front and rear cameras, looks pretty stylish too, its on kickstarter.

  19. poc and volvo have more than safety in common, both have a history of product design people either love, hate or love to hate.

  20. that poc guy doesn't speak very fast… sped up the video to 1.25x and it was perfect = just like a talk given by Emma (love her addition to the team btw!)

  21. Brilliant overview, Simon. I agree though that the helmets are ugly as sin. I do like the tech going into apparel though.

  22. I saw GMBN cover POC before, this answers some questions I had. For those who didn't see it check it out. I'm going to look into there clothing.

  23. POC has made a huge impact in skiing. I am a ski racer and POC is one of the most recognised and popular brands for protection (Helmets, back protecters, arm y
    gaurds, ECT.). I found it very interesting that they are such a small team.

  24. Lol. You said “thank to POC” and I thought you said “thanks 2 Pac” giving a shout out to the late rapper.

  25. So, POC is more awesome that I just thought. Thanks for the data, team!
    Question: Besides weight, is there any other disadvantage of using a Commuter (and/or BMX specific) helmet on the road or the track? #Torqueback #AskGCN

  26. Interesting video, good to see the background to a company and the research. Design and aesthetics are often a marmite subject, you only have to look at the "Shard" in London, some people hate it others love it. POC helmets have a distinct look and break the mould from the standard shape. Mate of mine has one and absolutely loves it and the fact it is so cool, in both senses of the word.

  27. No offense to anyone involved, but POC must stand for Piece Of Crap. Their cycling helmets and eyewear are THE ugliest things ever made. Anyone caught wearing them looks stupid, none more so than the world tour team POC sponsors…

  28. I understand why there is divided opinion about Gustav Larsson's POC time trial helmet. It makes him look similar to a giant humanoid phallic creature.

  29. I don't get how such an innovative company designs such simplistic looking helmets..it's the equivalent of getting a bowl cut from a world class hairstylist. (I own a lot of their AVIP range)

  30. Very cool design approach and love that they place safety at the top of their priorities. I can't stand the POC orange or the aesthetics of their helmets for me personally or their extremely high price points. But I can appreciate what they are doing.

  31. It´s a very good brand, Simon. In Mallorca, my teammates using POC helmets and they are so happy because are very safe. Greetings from Spain.

  32. Great Video. I’m Glad you guys do these… I just purchased the Scott Cadence today thanks to the vídeo you made.
    As far as aesthetics I’m not a big POC fan but definitely respect the company a lot more now that I know all they do to improve cyclist safety. It will certainly make the head of someone who likes POCs helmets a lot safer. Salud!!!

  33. It's not anyone's fault, but every time I see "POC" in the title, description, or comments, my mind reads it as "People of Color". "Inside People of Color", "Do they sell People of Color lids at IKEA?", "Thank you to People of Color". It's a fun mental game, lol.

  34. Love my POC OCTAL MIPS helmet, I bought it a few years ago when I was racing and wanting something bright to stand out more to drivers on the road during training rides.

  35. Boycott Giro, Bell and Camelbak: Parent company (thus your money) promotes gun sales, even to kids, with no remorse. So please DO SOMETHING! Buy a POC helmet and be safe.

  36. Love these Factory tours you take us on! I mean, they are REALLY cool, which is indeed something for someone who was previously in-industry and privy to much of this. However, I must say, in the case of POC and others like them; while I understand and appreciate the technology, and wish them every success, I'd much rather hit my head in something stylish, and less advanced, than wear something that makes it look as though I hit my head often….as a child.

  37. You need to visit Vätternrundan "The world’s largest recreational bike ride, Vätternrundan, is truly an experience. 300 km around the lake Vättern is a proper test for the many participants that annually gathers in Motala for the bike festivity. The event takes place in June and is a part of the Swedish Classic!"
    http://vatternrundan.se/en/

  38. That place looks a lot like all the tech incubator facilities we have here (Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario). Neat.

  39. POC is just fascinating, love my POC gear, I want to know more about the company and its design process!

  40. Why do you guys always say iPhone? Stop advertising that greedy company, be generic! Smartphone, phone, screen etc could have been used in this video instead of iPhone holder

  41. POC cycling gear is ridiculously expensive, even when compared to well established brands such as Assos, Oakley and Giro….

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