Some cycling gear is more subject to personal preference than others, like saddles and shoes. You can add helmets to the list.
A good-fitting helmet is a no-brainer, no pun intended. Wearing the perfect one is like walking around in your best Savile Row suit. It fits like a glove, looks good and turns heads. If a saddle is ugly but comfortable, you can easily conceal it when you’re on the bike. There’s no hiding hideous headwear, unless you’re racing the mud-splattered 2021 Paris-Roubaix.
I’ve resisted the temptation to wear a comfy lid that makes me look like the Mega Mushroom from Super Mario (there’s many of those out there). Luckily, Kask has made the search for the perfect helmet easier. I’ve always loved their clean and classy design: in the last ten years, I have bought and used a Bambino Pro (for time-trialling and triathlons), a Protone (which I mostly use in the summer), a Utopia (my winter go-to), and a Mistral – just to be a bit flashy.
When I read about the new Kask Wasabi, a helmet the company describes as perfect “for every ride, no matter the conditions”, I thought this could be the Holy Grail: a Kask helmet to rule them all.
How did they crack the code? For a helmet to be perfect for every ride and condition, it needs to be warm, light, breathable, aero but with good ventilation, comfortable, good-looking and protective. No big ask, then.
Let’s run through the checklist. The new Wasabi is even more aesthetically-pleasing than previous Kask models, while keeping the smart looks you’d expect from an Italian brand. Rather than usurping the Utopia, its high-performance offering, the Wasabi, is their all-road, all-weather flagship. It’s no coincidence that Kask’s cover model is all-terrain prodigy, Tom Pidcock.
The fit is provided seamlessly by the rear dial adjuster, the internal gel pads and the synthetic leather chinstrap. And it feathers the scales at 290 grams for a medium (276 on my kitchen set, actually).
Let’s move to warmth. The helmet is aero, mostly closed hermetically on the top – a feature that already guarantees heat retention. But an intelligent addition is the breathable Merino wool cap that goes with the lid for the colder months.
Then there’s ventilation and breathability. Typically, this is where aero helmets fall a little short. But with the Wasabi, Kask has gone the extra mile. They have included a top vent that controls the amount of airflow channelled through the helmet: fully closed for maximum aerodynamic gains, fully open for superior breathability, and a medium level for in-between days. The closed vent means minimal airflow when you’re riding in the cold or want to stay aero. Wind tunnel tests have confirmed that only one watt is lost when shut or opened (if you’re riding at the speeds of Tom Pidcock, at least).
Last, but not certainly not least, safety. The Wasabi has gone through — and passed — Kask’s WG11 protocol, which measures the performances against rotational forces. Furthermore, its high-vis stickers provide extra visibility.
I had no doubt Kask were on to something with the Wasabi when I set eyes upon it. But once I rode with it, I realised they’d nailed it once again. Hot like wasabi, cool like sushi.