Kask has been a fixture of the professional cycling scene for over a decade, but the Italian helmet brand has now jumped into the booming market for urban bike helmets with three new models designed purely for cycling in the city.
The Urban R, the Moebius and the Moebius Elite helmets aim to ‘marry…Italian flare with stylish, city-inspired aesthetics, optimum durability and comfort.’
They are designed for daily commuters, city explorers and the exploding numbers of urban electric bike riders. Kask hopes that soon you will just as likely see one of their helmets pootling along a bike lane as you are sitting on the front of the peloton on top of an Ineos Grenadier.
The most eye-catching new helmet is the range-topping Urban R, which could have been plucked off the head of a Vespa rider zooming past the Duomo on their way to Milan Fashion Week. Put a tricolore on this one and you’re all set to scoot down to Brighton and get into a fight with some rockers.
The Urban R is achingly good-looking, with its synthetic leather chinstrap and bold detachable visor, which comes in five options for varying degrees of brightness. Kask claim there is space inside the helmet for glasses, although anybody who has ridden more than 20 minutes in London will know that a visor is a nifty way to protect against the typical drizzle-borne road grime of pulverised cab tyres, pigeon droppings and chewing gum.
And since commuters tend to have little choice over where and when they ride, adjustable vents (which are opened and closed by a sliding lever) make this good for rainy mornings that end in warm sunny afternoons.
At 420g the Urban R is a little under double the weight of a typical helmet in Kask’s road line-up, but it’s an impressive figure considering the number of technical elements and the fact that it simply doesn’t have many holes in it. It will retail for €210 / £189 / $249 USD.
Kask's new Moebius
Kask’s no-frills urban cycling model is the Moebius, which seems to echo the aerodynamic ‘Infinity’ road helmet from a few WorldTour seasons ago.
This has a detachable peak, a scratch resistant ABS exterior shell (whatever that is) and removable and washable padding. If the Urban R is a piece of art, the Moebius is designed to withstand being clunked around, dangled from bag straps, shoved in and out of office drawers and subjected to the worst that the hustle and bustle of city life can throw at it.
However, Kask will also offer a premium edition of the bomb-proof model, the Moebius Elite. It will feature a lining made of merino wool, a material renowned for its antibacterial properties, plus a synthetic leather chinstrap and a glossy shell finish.
Both weigh 420g, just like the Urban R. Both conform to CE EN 1078, CPSC 1203 and AS/NZS 2063 regulations. The Moebius will retail for €99 / £89 / $149 USD / $190 AUD; the Moebius Elite for €149 / £135.
(The Moebius Elite will not be available in North America or Australia. Sorry Aussies, you don’t get the Urban R down under either).
Into the city
Entering the congested urban market is a bold step for Kask, who used to only have one helmet designed for what you might term utility cycling, the ‘LifeStyle’.
Even the entry-level of the new Moebius model will struggle to compete with many rivals when it comes to price, but that’s not really the point.
Kask knows which way the wind is blowing, and that is towards a wholesale restructuring of how people get around cities, particularly in Europe. It’s a process that has been turbo-charged by the pandemic. UK bike sales grew by nearly 50% in 2020, many of them electric, and there was a 70% increase in cycling in Paris in the year to 2021.
In the middle of the first lockdown, Milan embarked on an ambitious Strade Aperte programme to promote cycling and clean up one of Europe’s most polluted cities.
More people are cycling in urban environments. With these three new helmets, Kask is aiming firmly at the premium end of that rapidly ballooning market, carrying its well-earned reputation for quality and style from the pro ranks.
There’s no getting away from the fact that helmets can often be a right pain for city cycling; they are big, bulky and the majority are decidedly uncool (wearing a road helmet in a city is even more uncool).
But in these three models, we'd say Kask has created helmets that you would want to wear, want to carry around, and want to be seen wearing.