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Smith vs. POC Helmets

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I have had a Smith Variant for 6 years now. Some fairly big impacts and for some reason I never replaced it. In the market now and was going to just go right back to Smith but wanted to do my due diligence first.

 

I am between the Smith Variant/Vantage (if there is big difference let me know but assuming it is styling) and the POC Synapsis. Never used a POC but I'm not blind to all of the ski racers that have adopted the brand. 

 

I care the most about safety, styling is a secondary concern but I happen to like both these helmets look. Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed light on the subject. POC will be more expensive so if its a wash, going with Smith but also happy to spend the required money. 

post #2 of 26

Smith fits me well, but I had problems with the fit of the POC. Bern is proving to actually fit me even better.

 

Just try them on side by side.
 

 

And FWIW pro racers are paid to wear certain things, and by no means are all other racers immune to marketing and trends. Is racing even the pinnacle of the sport these days. That's another thread though.

post #3 of 26

The vantage is a nice helmet and it's about 20% lighter than the variant 80g lighter than the variant and probably more than that compared to variant brim. 

 

I like the vantage better than the other two you listed, I do like the POC receptor though and the sound system is a nice plus if you like music while skiing.

 

I currently have a smith transport and would go for the Vantage if I had to replace it right now, because Smith fits be well and can be found for cheap.. STP has the Vantage available but limited size options :-(

 

Also if you have a camera smith helmets are usually hard to use with side cameras like contour, I took my helmet to a store and couldn't find a way to fix the camera, I would say the vantage is even more problematic, no issues with a gopro though.

 

I don't believe there is much different in safety between different helmets as long as they are from reliable brands like POC and Smith, so I would go for fit first, and then price.

post #4 of 26

I currently own a POC Synapsis and absolutely love it.  Super light and comfortable.  Prior to the POC I was skiing in a Smith Variant Brim and liked it a lot.  Fits similarly to the Synapsis, but is much heavier.  Adjustability of the vents on the Variant was the only thing I liked better about it than the POC.

 

Mike

post #5 of 26
Big fan of the Maze helmet, if it fits your head (little adjustability). Low profile, cheap and very lightweight. Almost as little as my lightweight mountaineering helmet.
post #6 of 26

I use the POC Skull Comp helmet. It has an interior honeycomb structure that is designed to prevent your skull from rattling around inside the helmet in a fall at speed. It is warm  and is a closed helmet no vents, but can be hard to fit - no real adjustments so you need to make sure it fits. I found some variation among helmets of the same size. I think it offers the best protection available other than the POC with an aramid inner shell (for penetration protection) and a carbon outer shell (for lightness),

post #7 of 26

If they all fit well, get what you want.  In my previous life as a competitive racer, we either got our gear free or for a pittance, depending on the manufacturer and the rep and the item.  Things like goggles and helmets were easy to come by, and often dominated by marketing and trends.  Briko is a great example.  Poc is the current trend leader in racing.  And they embrace it by helping the racers wear the gear.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice everyone. Going to my ski shop on Friday and going to put on the Smith Vantage and the POC and see what happens, leaning toward sticking with Smith though. Just want to try something a little different from what I have now. 

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

I use the POC Skull Comp helmet. It has an interior honeycomb structure that is designed to prevent your skull from rattling around inside the helmet in a fall at speed. It is warm  and is a closed helmet no vents, but can be hard to fit - no real adjustments so you need to make sure it fits. I found some variation among helmets of the same size. I think it offers the best protection available other than the POC with an aramid inner shell (for penetration protection) and a carbon outer shell (for lightness),


...ok so whats the better safety feature for the run of the mill advanced all mt skier to have; the "Supracor™ honeycomb sandwich core for progressive energy absorption" or "MIPS® technology that allows the helmet to absorb rotational forces, reducing the stress on the brain when crashing at speed"?

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

I went with the POC today, I liked the fit and like the technology behind the single impact helmet. 

 

Neonorchid - I am not a scientist but from what I gathered from research is it depends on the type and frequency of crashes you experience. The final answer is close to common sense. A single impact helmet has less give to it until it hits a failure point where the technology really starts to take full effect. So for an expert skier that is more likely to suffer that type of impact and only ocassionally take small falls, it's best to go with the Supracor based helmet. For a skier that is more likely to take smaller but very frequent falls, the MIPS helmets are generally made from materials that absorb impacts at slow speeds with less damage and retain its durability. The sacrifice at the high speed end is most likely not going to be much of a concern.

post #11 of 26

Wrong.

 

MIPS: the EPS (foam) layer of the helmet is attached to the outer hard shell of the helmet by a plastic pin that breaks when rotational force is applied to the helmet.  This provides another axis of impact protection vs a shell with is bonded to the padding.

 

Supracor:  honeycomb layer in Skull Comp models (except skull comp DH) which returns to its pre-impact shape much more quickly than the (theoretically) multi-impact EPP foam also used in these helmets.  This protects against multiple impacts which occur in the same accident.

 

POC claims its EPP (expanded polypropylene) helmets can withstand multiple impacts.... not sure I'd buy that.  

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info...not a great feeling to have my guess be so wrong but its always better to have the right information. 

post #13 of 26

I found a related video review of the POC Receptor BC/MIPS, shows POC's breakaway system. http://youtu.be/CIVRLo8WVgU

 

Btw, and not to hijack but I've been trying on many different models and they all fit terrible. Either too tight across my forehead and or the larger sizes (and some smaller too), put to much pressure where they cradle just at and above the nape of my neck! Plus my Giro Ionos bike helmet is a size Medium 55 -59cm, i measure ~ 58.5cm and any of the ski/snowboard helmets in a M are downright impossible to even put on! I found myself trying L and XL. Additionally REI has a well illustrated fit guide in the helmet dept which i followed to the T. I tried mid and top level POC, Gyro, Smith, K2, RED, prob a few others, they're all to uncomfortable in one way or another for me to imagine having on for any length of time. I really only want something to feel safer skiing trees. However trite, i've been skiing without a helmet since the days of Spider Sabich, Billy Johnson and Suzy Chapstick, the worst i've had was a slowish sideways fall on a icy mogul where my head struck just above and slightly forward of the ear. Didn't break skin but did hurt and was tender to the touch afterwards, thankfully no symptoms of concussion. Anyhow at this rate and short of orderering a bunch of other models in + and - sizes online, i'll likely continue to go without a helmet again this season.

post #14 of 26

Interesting article in Popular Science about rotational force on the brain being the biggest cause of concussion in football, resulting in development of football helmets that minimize rotational force with outer shells that move independently of the inner protective layer at higher force moments.  I'm not enough of a scientist to be able to conclude whether some football impacts might or might not have some similarities to some ski impacts, but it certainly piques my interest that there are ski helmets touting rotational impact protection.

post #15 of 26
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonorchid View Post
i've been skiing without a helmet since the days of Spider Sabich, Billy Johnson and Suzy Chapstick, 

Oh, the irony.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

Oh, the irony.


I know...i didn't want to turn this into another Helmet's, yes or no thread.

 

Will say i'm very frustrated with the fit of what represents a rather large cross section of whats currently available. About the only thing of interest which i haven't tried are TSG's Arctic Kraken+ and Sweet's Trooper and Grimnir MIPS which i don't think are available in the US.

post #18 of 26

First, Vantage has more vents than older model - Variant, I also owned. The difference is not in styling, these two models exterior appears is pretty much the same. The difference is in better ventilation (if this spec make difference for you) and better manual adjustment on the back to fit your head shape and form. 

 

However, comparing the fit between POC with Smith helmets, later are somewhat more accommodating, comfortable for most people is my experience since Smith helmet shape match more heads with its optimal oval-round form, while POC fits less head forms because of its round shape. Otherwise some POC possess a hard object penetration protection of their shell, while only bombshell Smith helmets like Pivot/Pointe (women) MIPS helmet has both bombshell harder to penetrate shell and inside multi-impact EPP liner, which make them long-lasting. On the other hand, POC also has not only protection for hard objects sliding in the trees, but also offers MIPS brain protection technology, but you can't find in this brand the ultimate protection combination of MIPS shell and EPP multi-impact liner. On the top of everything POS is more expensive on average, it's your choice if you know what exactly you're looking for. because majority of the public picks their helmet exclusively based on the exterior look and color, the same like their snow cloth, skis and boots, not based on their particular application. Sorry Public!

post #19 of 26
For free skiing find what fits your head best and has the features you want. The POC helmets run hot because their venting system sucks and their fit is highly user specific.

While I race with a POC Skull Orbic (best fitting FIS approved helmet for me) the POC free ski line was very lacking compared to Smith or Giro offerings. As such I free ski with the Giro Seam which I believe is comparable to the Smith Vantage.

Don't play into the marketing. Any approved helmet will protect you in pretty much the same way. MIPS is another system on top that certainly is not POC specific (I believe Smith makes a Vantage MIPS if I'm not mistaken).

For race, same deal, FIS approved is FIS approved. Briko is no worse than POC or UVEX, etc.
Edited by hbear - 3/12/16 at 8:11pm
post #20 of 26
Hbear, have you tried the Receptor Backcountry? Slightly different fit than other POC's. More oval than round. Orbix doesn't fit me very well, Receptor does. And FWIW, foam is different in POC, few others, than Smith. EPP (multiple impact) instead of EPS (single).
post #21 of 26

Yeah, I tried it.  Didn't care for it.  Felt very firm inside (no surprise given those tiny strips of padding) compared to both the Smith Vantage and Giro Seam.

I can live with firm for racing, but when free skiing I want something more comfortable.

post #22 of 26

anybody tried both the vantage and vantage MIPS? I'm seeing a lot of reviews that you should size up the MIPS version since it runs very small not true to the size chart. I saw some mixed size info about the regular non MIPS version.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post

anybody tried both the vantage and vantage MIPS? I'm seeing a lot of reviews that you should size up the MIPS version since it runs very small not true to the size chart. I saw some mixed size info about the regular non MIPS version.
I tried both on in a medium
The mips is a tighter fit for me
I currently ski the medium vantage from a few years back
The non mips felt the same on my head
post #24 of 26

I had a POC Fornix and had to get rid of it (gave it away). The medium was too tight and the large, which is what I had, was just too big. They also seem to best fit those with rounder heads. My wife and son both have POC helmets and love them.

 

So I bought a Smith Vantage (non MIPS) a few weeks ago and it is just great.


Edited by naja - 3/15/16 at 1:59pm
post #25 of 26

@mfa81,

 

To give you a idea, I'm at the upper end of a Giro size Medium and have a Giro bike helmet size M. The Range MIPS size Medium didn't fit my head shape. Too much pressure on my forehead and loose with air gaps at the temples/ears. The Range in a size large was huge.

 

I hadn't planed on trying the Smith Vantage MIPS but decided to get a closer look at the one staring at me from the ski shops display wall. It was a size Large and I tried it on a whim, not expecting it to fit, but it did, quite well. I now own a Vantage MIPS size L. I can dial it down without bottoming out and being on the lower end of its size range can dial it up to fit a hat underneath if needed.

 

Never tried the standard Vantage non-MIPS version, but if you fit a Vantage and are at the upper end of the size range you most probably will want to size up in the MIPS version.

post #26 of 26

It took me about 5 years to start wearing a helmet full time, I didn't like wearing one and would take them off after about an hour. I knew I had to find something that would work with the way I ski, so I tried everything really and hated all of it. The Vantage Mips was pretty good, the venting and adjustable dial fit are as good as it gets and it's one of the few non racing helmets that can take a real hit, but I ultimately didn't get on with it.

 

Eventually I picked up a POC Receptor Bug Communications and never touched my vantage again. The best thing I can say about this helmet is since the day i bought it I have never ski'd without it, It is the best helmet out there as far as I'm concerned. There is no better combination of comfort, protection and durability for my money.

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