KASK UTOPIA – THE WHOOSH OF A TOP AERO ROAD HELMET
Whoosh! That was the first and continues to be the lasting impression I have wearing the Kask Utopia aero road helmet.
Whoosh because it feels that I’m riding faster. Not that I know that I am riding faster wearing this helmet. I probably am, and my times and average speeds suggest that I am, but I don’t know if that’s because of the aerodynamics of the helmet or that the feeling the helmet gives me motivates me to go faster.
And that leads to the other, more knowable part of the whoosh. The air whooshes through the Utopia. It’s not just an audible whoosh but a tactile one too. I feel the air flowing across my head.
The faster I go, the more I feel it. The more I feel it, the faster I want to go.
Kask Utopia’s cooling on the warmest days is among the best of any helmet I’ve worn, aero road or standard road. As your ride along, it’s almost like there is a Venturi effect happening atop your head. With fewer and smaller openings on the front and sides of this aero road helmet, the velocity of air flowing through them increases compared to a helmet with more and larger ones.
The openings in the Utopia which are more like narrow horizontal or vertical slots, seem to be located at just the right places. The air comes rushing through your helmet across your forehead, along the sides, and down the middle of your head. There’s also a square port near the top of the Utopia, a place where I’ve found heat can get trapped in other helmets.
All of this is quite different than the Protone or Infiniti, Kask’s other, more rounded looking aero road helmets. The Protone, a helmet I’ve also worn and really enjoyed for its comfort and similar fit, has more and larger openings. The Infiniti is the same shape as the Protone but has a built-in cover you can slide down over the holes when it’s time to get aero.
The Utopia’s mold shape and internal bracing make it more versatile than either of the other two Kask helmets and most of the other aero road helmets I’ve evaluated. While most helmets are ideally suited for riders that with a shape more oval than round or more round than oval, the Utopia fit can be adjusted for oval, round and heads in-between.
The key to making this possible is the combination of the adjustable rear cradle and the rear cut-out starting much higher on the back of your head. There’s plenty of freedom for you in the back of the helmet if you’ve got a more oval head for it to have room out the back. Don’t worry; there’s still plenty of protection should you make contact with the pavement as the sections just above and to the side of the back of your head reach out well beyond it.
At the same time, if your head is rounder or somewhere in between oval and round, you can just bring in the rear brackets that slide along the cradle to fit the shape of your head.
The Kask Utopia is not the most comfortable helmet I’ve ever worn. It’s not uncomfortable but there are more comfortable ones. There’s much less padding in the top of the helmet – two long narrow strips running on the EPS either side of the center of your head – and just a couple of short pads on the inside of your helmet above your temples.
Most notably, there’s no padding running across the width of your forehead like there is in most other helmets. Instead, the Utopia’s two long strips extend to the forehead and provide the cushioning.
It took me a few weeks to get used to riding without the front forehead pad and doing a little trial and error with the rear cradle brackets and the right amount of tension with the cradle dial so that I could properly judge the relative comfort of the helmet.
I got to the point where I had it all dialed in and acclimated to the feel of the Utopia pads to where I was fine doing 3-4 hour rides on hot summer days without thinking about the helmet comfort at all.
This Kask is marginally or significantly lighter than nearly all the other aero road helmets I’ve tried and the airflow I wrote about above is also superior to most. That likely works to offset the orientation and reduced amounts of padding to creates the overall level of comfort.
Like the Protone, the Utopia has a leather chin strap with the buckle on the side that is both comfortable and easy to set up. Over time and a lot of sweat, I’ve found this leather to be durable and easy to keep clean, that latter of which I can’t say for traditional fabric straps.
It comes in black, white, black/white combinations, the fluo yellow highlighted black I tested, a bright orange, and the pro team Ineos colors. I’d expect Kask will introduce it in more colors over time as they’ve done with many of their other helmets.
Overall, I rate the Kask Utopia at the top of the current aero bike helmet performance hill. The fit flexibility, airflow, near-standard road helmet shape, apparent aero performance, and whoosh sensation I get with it on make it the one I want to wear.
At a market price of USD$200, £160, €180 it’s priced similarly to other aero road helmets. If you think it’s worth it as I do, you can click on these links to view and order the Kask Utopia at one of my recommended stores, Competitive Cyclist and Merlin or at other stores I recommend through Know’s Shop.
You can read more about how the Kask Utopia compares to the others I’ve tested in my review The Best Aero Helmets for Road Cyclists.
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