Sometimes in life you can only have one thing or the other – as the old saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But the people at Kask have been asking why we have to compromise when it comes to helmets. Why can't we have a helmet that is aerodynamic, well-ventilated, stylish and safe? But it is a question that the Italian brand has been working on for a while.
Since 2004, Kask has been producing sleek, high-performing and safe cycling helmets that have ended up being some of the most popular helmets on the market. In 2014, the brand released its Protone helmet, which Kask redesigned in 2022 to the Protone Icon, upgrading the safety features and advancing the helmet's ventilation technologies. It's one of its most popular helmets, and you can't often do a ride without seeing at least one person donning it – even the WorldTour team Ineos Grenadiers have often chosen the Protone Icon in favour of the brand's other helmets. Kask then launched its most aerodynamic helmet, the Utopia (upgraded earlier this year to the Utopia Y), for those who were in search of every aero gain. While the brand has launched helmets that are better at one thing and not the other, Kask has never been able to bring to the market a helmet that can do both – until now...
The brand has now launched its Elemento helmet, which is aimed at those who are performance-obsessed, no matter the discipline, and are looking for a helmet that is aerodynamic, ventilated and safe – designed "without compromise" says Kask.
Having been in the works since 2020 at the Ineos training camp in Mallorca, Kask has been researching and developing the new technologies needed to create this helmet. Digging deep into research primarily focussed on how an athlete's performance varied when their body temperature changed, Kask found that, in performance terms, an athlete's thermal comfort is just as important as a helmet's weight and aerodynamics – leading them to develop the Elemento's 'Fluid Carbon 12' and 'Multipod' technologies.
The new technology is claimed to not only improve the performance of the Elemento but most importantly, the safety, with the Fluid Carbon 12 material being capable of absorbing more energy from an impact than traditional materials, says Kask. The Multipod technology, which is found on the inside of the helmet, is 3D-printed (similar look to the 3D-printed saddles you now see on the market) and is said to better withstand linear and rotational impact due to the structure being able to slide and compress upon impact.
Safety is one of the most important factors of a helmet, and unlike other helmet brands, Kask has never used MIPS technology to address rotational impact and ensure safety standards. Instead, the Italian brand developed its own WG11 rotational impact protocol, which it says allowed it to create an even higher level of safety for the Elemento, and the helmet has been certified a five-star rating by Virgina Tech.
The Fluid Carbon 12 has also enabled the vents at the front of the helmet to be reduced, which is said to improve the helmet's aerodynamics. And the reduced thickness of the composite technopolymer material that makes up Fluid Carbon 12 allows for a greater volume of air inside the helmet for better thermal comfort and airflow. The improved airflow inside the helmet will help keep heads a few degrees cooler – something riders will be thankful for when putting in a hard effort.
Kask has worked closely with Luca Oggiano, principal aerodynamicist at Ineos Grenadiers, to create the Elemento. Working on the fine details, the Italian brand and Oggiano used cloud computing, simulations and digital twin technology to make sure that no stone was unturned in order to get the best results in terms of aerodynamics and ventilation. Having the relationship between Kask and Ineos has proven to be key in creating a helmet designed for elite-level athletes. Who better to provide feedback on a high-performing cycling helmet than those who race the Tour de France?
The fit of the Elemento is also provided seamlessly by the rear Octofit+ dial adjuster, the interior Multipod pads and the ultraweight, fabric chinstrap. It feathers the scale at 260 grams for a medium.
But I know what you're thinking, where is the leather-look chinstrap we're used to seeing? Kask has swapped it out for the brand’s “Pro” chinstrap, which is said to be the same ultra-lightweight chinstrap used by Ineos Grenadiers, and saves less than two grams on the helmet's overall weight. While the leather-look strap may provide more comfort against the skin, the lightweight strap is much easier to adjust. Also sitting more flush with the skin, the new strap gives the helmet a more tidy look.
Kask also prides itself on design, and knows how important aesthetics are for those who cycle too – wanting to look cool, stylish, and fast, without a mushroom looking helmet. Thankfully, the Elemento has a stylish design. The new helmet has a similar look to the brand’s Protone, with several vents at the front and a compact, sleek shape. Coming in six colours – traditional black and white, or the more striking beetle green, oxford blue, red, and silver – riders will have a range to choose from to match their different kits as well as stand out with some of the range's bolder colours. The Elemento’s branding is also subtle, finishing off the helmet’s design.
Retailing at £335/€375, it is a considerable increase from the brand’s alternative helmets (Utopia Y £245 and Protone Icon £245), which might make you think twice before purchasing the Elemento. But can you put a price on performance? That’ll be a question to weigh up.