Swedish company POC has come to the conclusion that many of the back protectors on the market have serious weaknesses in terms of shock absorption and spinal protection. The Company worked with spinal cord injury specialists, riders of all kinds and experts in material construction to come up with two different back protector concepts: VPD and the Multi-Impact hard shell system.
Stockholm based POC is on a mission to develop new and better products to reduce the consequences of accidents or possibly save lives of gravity based sports athletes. Over the past five years on the market, POC has continued to expand their product range, starting with goggles and helmets and now including a new line of performance sunglasses and casual wear.
The VPD or Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough back protector is one of the few on the market that reaches the highest performance standard. The material is highly dampening, using a modified Polyurethane foam that is soft, comfortable and adapts to create an individual fit. When exposed to impact however, the material stiffens and absorbs extreme amounts of energy. The back protectors also have extra density along the spinal area for further protection.
POC has a flexible, patented back-protection system which allows you to chose your protection degree at all times from various components, including the VPD back protector and the Multi-Impact hard shell system, which is POC's back armor with hard panel shields and a multi impact core. You can tailor your degree of protection depending on how you ride for the day or to meet different competition rules.
I was also really excited to see that POC has incorporated MIPS technology into their backcountry range of helmets for which they won the SIA Snowpress Innovations award this year. If you recall, I met MIPS at Interbike last summer and they were still looking for go to market helmet partners at the time. MIPS technology utilizes a low friction layer between the shell and liner of the helmet. Upon impact, the low friction layer allows a small rotation of the shell relative to the liner, reducing significantly the impact forces to the brain.