If something ain’t broke, why fix it? Kask’s Protone has long been one of the most popular and aesthetically pleasing helmets on the market. Despite the Italian brand having a plethora of road helmet options, the Protone has almost always been the choice of riders from Team Ineos – Kask’s WorldTour sponsored outfit – and amateur riders alike. A radical redesign would have been risky and perhaps unfruitful for the helmet manufacturer.
It’s for this reason that the latest iteration of the Protone doesn’t see huge style changes outwardly. Kask have kept the seamless technology which ensures a sleek shape and maintained the multiple vents towards the front of the helmet accompanied with a solid shape over the top and fewer vents rear. The Kask branding has remained in the same spot too, keeping the stylish and understated look that made the helmet so popular when it was first released. With 10 different colours to choose from, in gloss and matt finishes Kask has also remained true to the wide-range of options that we saw when the original Protone was unveiled back in 2016.
With the new Kask Protone, however, it’s inside where the magic happens. Kask has overhauled the helmet's internal frame structure which they say prevents the helmet from breaking into many pieces in case of a crash. Unlike other manufacturers, which use safety systems such as MIPs or Kineticore, Kask uses its own WG11 protocol which they argue is an objective, scientific approach to measuring the helmet’s performance against rotational impacts. According to Kask, this new structure also leads to much improved aerodynamics over the previous iteration.
Aside from safety, Kask has introduced an improved Octofit+ retention system with the release of the Protone Icon, improving the ergonomics of the helmet. It features stabilising rubber inserts which supports a wider area across the nape of the neck. A larger rotation dial will be a benefit for those who struggled with the smaller dial in the old iteration of the Protone, making adjustment much easier, especially on the go.
As a rider with longer hair, the new Octofit+ system was an asset: a ponytail can be hooked through the frame and then adjusted accordingly. This ensured that the helmet fit snugly against my head without any hair pushing against the frame to create bulk. With the Protone Icon available in sizes small, medium and large which covers head circumferences from 50 to 62 centimetres and the easily adjustable retention system, it seems that most riders would be able to find the perfect fit.
The internal lining of the Kask Protone icon is made of CoolMax® fabric which Kask claims is comfortable and quick-drying. While I can agree that the fabric does dry quickly, I would note that the pads are thicker than those in other helmets I own, which means I might not reach for it on the hottest days. On the occasions I’ve used it where the temperature has been creeping over 25 degrees celsius, I’ve found myself adjusting it slightly for a looser fit to improve airflow through the helmet. This is, of course, personal preference and won't be an issue if you live in colder climates.
As for weight, the new Protone Icon comes in at the same weight as its predecessor, a claimed 230g in a size medium. This is clear when wearing the helmet, it’s extremely comfortable on the head and has an almost barely there feel while riding. Retailing at £245, the new Kask Protone Icon is at the pricier end of the spectrum, but it is a helmet with a premium feel.
Overall, Kask’s Protone Icon still keeps the popular core identity of the Protone. It’s a relief to see the Italian manufacturer has kept the blueprint of the well-loved design which looks understated, classy and is aerodynamic. The Protone continues to look compact and sits close to the head, the much improved Octofit+ retention system ensures that each rider can find the perfect fit. The better safety system inside the helmet is also a welcome addition, allowing for peace of mind and ensuring the helmet is practical as well as stylish.