In terms of bicycle helmet supremacy, Kask has made it. It has shot to fame on the head of 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and is the culmination of years of development and innovation. But bike helmets haven’t always shared the podium at the TDF, in fact they have only been mandatory at La Grande Boucle since 2003.
When I was kid we never wore helmets while riding our bikes. Sometimes we fell off, sometimes we even hit our heads but it never occurred to us (or our parents) to wear a helmet. Since the helmet law was introduced in Australia in the early 1990s it has become second nature to wear a helmet. Have you ever ridden out of your driveway to the local bunch ride and realised you forgot your helmet? You immediately feel very vulnerable.
So, while we have come a long way with respect to wearing helmets, so too have the helmets themselves. In Australia all helmets sold must be certified to the Australian Standard AS/NZS2063. Once the helmet manufacturers have achieved this safety standard they look to other aspects of the helmet to be the differentiator from their competitors. The most common aspects targeted are comfort, reduced weight, increased ventilation and increased aerodynamics. The Kask helmets of today have progressed so far in each of these areas that now they are appealing to cyclists’ sense of style and fashion by introducing new lines such as the Limited Edition Vertigo helmets. In this range there is a helmet that corresponds to the three main classifications in the Tour de France, the GC leader in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.
Underneath these stylish shells, the Vertigo comes with some great features that have made it a popular choice for Team Sky and weekend warriors alike. Apart from looking compact the main thing I noticed when I put on the helmet was how well it fit. Certainly the “up-n-down” hinged adjustment at the back of the helmet made it easy to get the helmet fitting snug. The combination of the compact shape and great fit meant it didn’t wobble around. The other aspect I noticed was that it felt very light, Kask state the helmet weighs 270g. These were the standout features me but Kask boasts still more such as:
- In-moulding innovative construction with reinforced frame for additional safety
- Ventilation achieved by of 24 large air vents, arranged to optimize aerodynamics
- Ventilated, non-stick pads at nape of neck for additional security
- Easy-clean leatherette chin strap
- Nylon thermo fixed straps, which have soft lateral spacers where straps contact the skin, to give excellent ventilation and comfort
- Chin pad is made from non-allergic imitation leather which improves wearing comfort and eliminates skin irritation
- 3D internal padding optimises the wicking away and evaporation of sweat, and are removable and washable
- High-visibility reflector stickers on the back of the helmet and on every strap for maximum safety
In terms of the technology used you can check out the Kask website for more information.
Finally, whereas many frames, accessories and helmets are manufactured in low-overhead east Asia, the Kask helmets are surprisingly still made in Italy, again this is a key differentiator with competitors. Aussie’s buy European, Europeans buy European and the manufacturers have realised this!
– Lachlan Mackay
This article was originally published on TBSM