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review

Kask Elemento helmet

7
£335.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Great helmet, but the price tag is a serious hurdle
Comfort
Ventilation
Looks
Wildly expensive
Fastening clip puts low weight over function
Weight: 
270g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Kask Elemento claims to feature a revolutionary design that enables a low weight and more airflow without hindering aerodynamics. Much of the helmet is familiar from the legendary Kask Protone, and it is indeed more airy and lighter, but even so it's still a hard sell at this incredibly high price.

The Protone has been a staple in the pro peloton since its release in 2018; that's a long time for any pro-level kit to stay at the very top. The Protone was, and still is, one of my favourite cycle helmets, and five years on it still features in our best aero helmets buyer's guide. The Elemento, then, has some big shoes to fill.

Despite being brand new, the Elemento already looks familiar, and to me gives off serious Protone-at-the-back, Valegro-at-the-front (Kask's most ventilated lid) vibes.

2023 Kask Elemento helmet - front.jpg

That isn't, however, where it sits in the range; rather, it fits between the Protone Icon and the aero Utopia Y, claiming to reach "new standards in terms of aerodynamics, ventilation, and performance'.

Unboxing

Out the box and I have to say it's a smart-looking helmet. The upper rear portion is naked carbon, which Kask claims isn't just for aesthetics (more on that in a minute). Inside, the pads are no longer all foam that's susceptible to absorbing sweat and then smelling, but rather some are a 3D printed polymer akin to that which you'd find on the latest saddles.

2023 Kask Elemento helmet - padding.jpg

It's light, too: 270g on the road.cc scales, in fact. That's certainly competitive but not the lightest of the light. The Protone Icon that we reviewed last year, for example, weighs 50g less at 220g, and the Trek Velocis Mips Road Bike Helmet is 235g. 

2023 Kask Elemento helmet - side 2.jpg

One of the main motivations for Kask to go to all this time and effort of creating the 'Fluid Carbon 12 composite technopolymer' – the exposed carbon mentioned above – is ventilation. Kask says this technology not only allows the helmet to absorb more energy from an impact than traditional materials but has also enabled an increase in the size of the internal channels, which improves ventilation, while simultaneously reducing the size of the ventilation holes for improved aerodynamics.

2023 Kask Elemento helmet - back detail.jpg

The helmet does indeed have impressive cooling abilities, slotting in between what you'd typically expect from an aero helmet and a "climbing" helmet. I've been using the lid throughout the UK summer and also for slower (but equally intense) mountain bike rides and have welcomed the additional airflow over my head compared with my Specialized S-Works Evade 3 helmet.

Putting it on

The fit of the Elemento is very reminiscent of other Kask models, including the Protone. It's wider than the Evade in a similar size, which should mean that it fits more heads. It's available in three sizes: S (50-56cm), M (52-58cm), and L (59-62cm).

2023 Kask Elemento helmet - inside.jpg

At the rear is the Octofit+ dial. It's designed to achieve a precise fit and works just as it should, providing adequate adjustment singlehandedly. The helmet also features vertical adjustment of this dial, so it can sit comfortably with ponytails and longer hair, and the cradle also features an ergonomic neck support to fit securely against the nape.

2023 Kask Elemento helmet - tension system.jpg

Gone is the leather strap of the Protone (it did always give the worst helmet strap tan lines!) and in its place is a much lighter, minimalistic affair. The clip has also been on a diet and this did take a few goes to get used to as it doesn't always want to pull together straight. This is far from a problem when putting on the helmet with two hands, but out on a ride while trying to remove a wasp it did prove tricky with just the one hand in a panic. A minor niggle, but then should you put up with minor niggles when a helmet costs this much?

2023 Kask Elemento helmet - clip.jpg

The price

And that brings us on to that small matter… At £335 the Elemento is the most expensive helmet I've ever tested, and comes very close to topping the entire road.cc list. That title belongs to the Hexr, by the way...

Notable competitors such as the S-Works Evade 3 (£275), brand new Abus Gamechanger 2.0 (£239.99, review coming soon) and the Trek Velocis Mips (£229.99) mentioned earlier are hardly cheap, and yet they seriously undercut Kask's latest lid.

Should you buy it?

I'd get laughed out of the cycling media if I recommended that everyone needed to shell out this much on a helmet, but it is very good and, albeit marginally, better than the famous Protone, which is no mean feat. As good and comfortable as the Kask is, though, the sensible money is on the cheaper alternatives; as far as I can tell it offers no meaningful performance benefit over much cheaper Mips-equipped helmets, which makes the price rather hard to stomach.

> Best cycling helmets – plus how to choose the right helmet for you

Before you completely right it off as a waste of money, though, you might want to consider my pounds per mile metric. Let me explain... Before making a large purchase I like to ask myself how often I would ride in/with whatever component or item of clothing I'm hankering over, and for most of us helmets will rack up some serious mileage. If, then, you asked me whether to spend my hard earned cash on a new oversized pulley wheel system for my TT bike (~£600) or some super fancy rain jacket (~£400), then a £335 helmet suddenly becomes a no-brainer. (And should protect said brain for future equally important decisions.)

Verdict

Great helmet, but the price tag is a serious hurdle

In the original version of this review the Elemento's weight was mistakenly listed as 170g when it should have been 270g, the review was edited on 26/08/23 to correct this error.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Kask Elemento helmet

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Kask says that this is a multi-disciplinary "pure performance helmet that leaves no room for compromise, offering cyclists the absolute best in terms of aerodynamics, ventilation, and safety". I agree that the ventilation is excellent, it's impressively light and it is indeed good for mountain bike, gravel and road riding. However, you need some seriously deep pockets.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Kask:

In-Moulding Technology

Multipod

Fluid Carbon 12

OCTOFIT+ Retention System

Aero Control

Hyvent

High Visibility Stickers

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
10/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

I respect the technology and research that has gone into the helmet, but the Elemento's main competitors (flagship helmets) are around two-thirds of the price.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well: it's light, quiet, well ventilated and comfortable, everything a good quality helmet should be.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's comfortable to wear, the relatively low weight helps with that.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I think that the price represents a very real and very sad likelihood that helmet prices are about to sky rocket.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Not well! As mentioned in the review, most of the Elemento's main competitors (flagship helmets) cost around £100 or ~30% less. Although very good, the Elemento has failed to convince me that it's worth the extra money.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? If I won the lottery.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's an excellent helmet; the Protone was always going to take some beating and this just about does it. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced the minor improvements justify the £90 price hike.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

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23 comments

Avatar
Royal_1664 | 11 months ago
0 likes

I'm contemplating whether to invest in the Kask Elemento helmet as a replacement for my reliable Protone. My search across the web for reviews, however, has left me somewhat uncertain about Kask's resolution of the OCTOFIT+ Retention System issue, which was initially introduced with the Protone Icon model.

The concern stems from numerous instances where individuals had to return their helmets due to the retention system malfunctioning. Even a riding companion of mine encountered the same problem, prompting them to return the product. This makes me a bit wary, and I find it intriguing that the recent Road.cc review doesn't touch on this issue at all – possibly indicating that the problem has been addressed. Similarly, I've observed a conspicuous absence of reviews on leading UK online retail sites. For instance, despite being on the market for months, Sigma Sports has only one positive review, and I've noticed a similar trend on Wiggle, Chain Reaction, and surprisingly, no reviews at all on Evans Cycles.

Considering this is Kask's flagship road helmet, this scarcity of feedback seems quite perplexing. I can't help but wonder whether my concerns are merely unfounded apprehensions or if there's a possibility that online reviews might be selectively curated to omit any mention of the acknowledged OCTOFIT+ Retention System issue.
 

Regardless of these uncertainties, I'm genuinely interested in giving it a try and making the purchase. However, I'm also eager to ascertain if other potential buyers have observed this same information gap concerning this undoubtedly impressive yet rather pricey helmet?

Avatar
chrisainsworth1967 | 11 months ago
1 like

I own several Kask helmets and recently bought the Elemento. 2 weeks later I had a serious crash which according to the consultant the Elemento saved me from a fractured skull. One of my other Kask helmets could have done the same job but I'll never know. I took advantage of the Kask crash replacement scheme which got me a new helmet for 50% off retail. I think with what we spend on the rest of our bike kit you can't put a price on your health so I for one will continue to buy the best helmet available regardless of price.

Avatar
quiff replied to chrisainsworth1967 | 11 months ago
7 likes

Run away!

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to chrisainsworth1967 | 11 months ago
2 likes

Glad to hear you're OK - Mrs H had a minor tumble last month and though, fortunately, she only tapped her head on a kerb I'm certain (I was right behind) it would have meant stitches minimum without the lid.  However, isn't the point of the safety standards that all helmets are pretty much of a muchness when it comes to protection level? I've always assumed that the extra cash on a £200 helmet as compared to a £20 one (disclosure, I have the former, so I'm not against splashing out per se) bought more style, better aerodynamics, superior ventilation, comfort and fit and a cool badge; is there really any evidence that more expensive ones provide better protection?

 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 11 months ago
1 like
Rendel Harris wrote:

Glad to hear you're OK - Mrs H had a minor tumble last month and though, fortunately, she only tapped her head on a kerb I'm certain (I was right behind) it would have meant stitches minimum without the lid.  However, isn't the point of the safety standards that all helmets are pretty much of a muchness when it comes to protection level? I've always assumed that the extra cash on a £200 helmet as compared to a £20 one (disclosure, I have the former, so I'm not against splashing out per se) bought more style, better aerodynamics, superior ventilation, comfort and fit and a cool badge; is there really any evidence that more expensive ones provide better protection?

I reckon the cheaper helmets are safer due to risk compensation. When I wear a £10 Aldi helmet or some chinese rip-off of a major brand, I have reduced expectations that the helmet will actually work and so maybe I cycle a bit more cautiously?

(Glad Mrs H. didn't get too hurt)

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to Rendel Harris | 11 months ago
1 like
Rendel Harris wrote:

is there really any evidence that more expensive ones provide better protection?

I'd be interested to see it but I'm not sure there is (at least not rigorous, independent evidence).

Avatar
philhubbard replied to Dnnnnnn | 11 months ago
1 like
Dnnnnnn wrote:
Rendel Harris wrote:

is there really any evidence that more expensive ones provide better protection?

I'd be interested to see it but I'm not sure there is (at least not rigorous, independent evidence).

Here you go: https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html there are some cheaper options in here but it has been highlighted in quite a few tests that MIPS or similar do help in concussion reduction if not just actual "impact" damage

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to philhubbard | 11 months ago
1 like

Thanks! Will have a better look later but it does seem to suggest some correlation between price (or perhaps the features that more often come with dearer models) and safety - though there are outliers, e.g. a $65 Giro in the top 10 and the $400 Elemento only at 66th.

Avatar
mark1a replied to Dnnnnnn | 11 months ago
3 likes

I expect somebody will come along at some point soon and accuse the results of being rigged by the industry aka "Big Helmet"

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Secret_squirrel replied to mark1a | 11 months ago
0 likes
mark1a wrote:

 "Big Helmet"

Obligatory Bow Chakka Wow Wow.

Avatar
ktache replied to Dnnnnnn | 11 months ago
0 likes

I like my pricey bike helmets. Better ventelation gets it for me, but then you of course need better under helmet scullcaps when the cold comes.

I think you might get better straps, and definitely retention systems.

The fancier electronic gubbins that come with my recentlyish POC Kortal race MIPS are largely irrelevant, though I am considering getting a smartphone so may program the personal info at some point. What it does give, apart from the incredible ventilation, is more coverage than any MTB helmet I had worn up to that point. First helmet that I feel inside rather than perched on top of my head. It's also rated for Dutch NTA 8776, ebike rating, slightly higher speed test than the 12mph drop test. I did get it in the sale mind, and my mother kindly contributed to the cost, unasked. But then I did spend £90 on 3 extra set of pads, they tend to suffer, hanwash only for these squidgy ones.

Avatar
quiff replied to Dnnnnnn | 11 months ago
1 like

Pleasantly surprised to see the (totally unsexy, but only ~£38) Specialized Align II ranked 14th. I have been using an Align I for the commute for 12+ years, and although it hasn't been crashed or abused, I have thought I perhaps ought to replace it...   

Avatar
Cugel replied to philhubbard | 11 months ago
1 like
philhubbard wrote:
Dnnnnnn wrote:
Rendel Harris wrote:

is there really any evidence that more expensive ones provide better protection?

I'd be interested to see it but I'm not sure there is (at least not rigorous, independent evidence).

Here you go: https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html there are some cheaper options in here but it has been highlighted in quite a few tests that MIPS or similar do help in concussion reduction if not just actual "impact" damage

That's a very interesting website and does seem to be making a genuine attempt to discover data about helmet protection that's much more objective than the usual claims, from both manufacturers and "It saved my life"-ers.

As the website is keen to explain, what they're measuring for is reduction in head accelerations of the kind that cause concussion. There's no claims that have anything to do with "saved my life" as no cycling helmet is designed to do this or is claimed to be able do so by manufactuers.

Personally I don't wear a helmet for road cycling as I regard the risk (to me) as very small indeed. (Sixty years and loadsa miles cycling and not one head-bang of any kind). But I know others who are habitual fallers who sometimes also bang their heads (although bonce-bang is quite rare as shoulder, elbow, hip and ankle tend to absorb the fall-forces, with the noggin not reaching the ground or wall).

So, if you assess that a helmet might stop or reduce a concussion when you next fall of in a week or so, it would be very, very useful to know which helmets are better at handling concusive forces, especially given their price for not very much.

It begs the question, though: why are the legal standards not increased to allow only 5-star helmets to be sold?

************

Personally, it dismays me that various dafties go about doing the " .... saved my life" thing. And it's even worse when NHS consultants, nurses and the like do the " .... without your helmet you'd be dead" thing. How would they know, since none have ever tested a cycling helmet or know the first thing about their construction, not to mention manufacturer statements about the limits of their safty function?

Do the consultants go on about blokes falling off ladders not having a helmet?  It's far more likely that you'll fall off a ladder and seriously bang your head than it is that you'll do so when cycling.

But I yam teetering on the edge of the helmet debate black 'ole now.  1

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Cugel | 11 months ago
1 like
Cugel wrote:

But I yam teetering on the edge of the helmet debate black 'ole now.  1

Now you've done it.  There's no avoiding it.

Avatar
GMBasix | 11 months ago
0 likes

Can I mount a gopro on it?

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Hirsute replied to GMBasix | 11 months ago
1 like

Not in Australia!

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to Hirsute | 11 months ago
3 likes

Of course you can.  Just need to mount upside down.

Avatar
Cugel | 11 months ago
3 likes

Unless you test (or commission a test from some independent agency that can perform it) considering the primary (in fact the only) reason for buying a helmet (protection from injury) all the other stuff about weight, aero-ness, ventilation and how pretty it is .... well, that's all irrelevant. Does it work as a helmet (rather than as a fashion item).

Your first problem - finding some tests that have any meaningful measurements and results!  The tests by the manufacturers certainly don't seem to mean much.

On the other hand, many do regard such things as an essential part of the uniform declaring that they're a racing cyclist like them in that Tour" (even if they aren't). A super expensive item "worn by real Tour racers" will attract a lot of cache amongst those promenading upon their bicycles avec the latest thing.  1

Apologies for the sarcasm - I know you do your best to say something meaningful in such reviews.

 

 

Avatar
Off the back replied to Cugel | 11 months ago
2 likes

I think reviewers take it as read that if its carrying the CE label (or kite mark for British Standards) And if it didn't it wouldn't be allowed on sale in the UKthrough recognised vendors. So, if it conforms to all safety legislation with regards to head protection so there is very little point talking about it. 

Avatar
Cugel replied to Off the back | 11 months ago
2 likes
Off the back wrote:

I think reviewers take it as read that if its carrying the CE label (or kite mark for British Standards) And if it didn't it wouldn't be allowed on sale in the UKthrough recognised vendors. So, if it conforms to all safety legislation with regards to head protection so there is very little point talking about it. 

Well, probably. The subject's been done to deeth for years and years.

Still, it would be useful to have a test of the protection offered (if any) conducted by someone other than a manufacturer, with their own "passed" stickers and a handy official test protocol that appears to be meaningless.

There's obsessives doing it for chain lubes, tyres and frame BB housings.  Why not for the polystyrene hats?

Avatar
quiff replied to Cugel | 11 months ago
1 like

An almost entirely theoretical quibble - yes, ventilation and weight are only relevant once you have taken a decision to wear a helmet at all. But could not aero-ness theoretically stand alongside protection as a standalone reason for buying one (though admittedly probably not the one reviewed)? I.e. I'm buying a helmet not because it's going to protect me, but because it's more aero than my head / hair.       

Avatar
Jack Sexty replied to Cugel | 11 months ago
9 likes

https://road.cc/category/review-section/accessories/helmets

We consider cycling helmets as accessories and don't ask reviewers to assess the safety claims. We've visited testing facilities for features in the past and regularly reference Virginia Tech helmet ratings, but don't have the resources to conduct the tests ourselves. We'd like to think rating the comfort, value, ventilation etc is useful info and things most people consider when buying a cycling helmet. 

Avatar
Steve K replied to Jack Sexty | 11 months ago
3 likes
Jack Sexty wrote:

https://road.cc/category/review-section/accessories/helmets

We consider cycling helmets as accessories and don't ask reviewers to assess the safety claims. We've visited testing facilities for features in the past and regularly reference Virginia Tech helmet ratings, but don't have the resources to conduct the tests ourselves. We'd like to think rating the comfort, value, ventilation etc is useful info and things most people consider when buying a cycling helmet. 

It is, thanks.

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