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Kask unveiled its Utopia aero road helmet as its “fastest ever road helmet” way back in 2018. Since then, the helmet has sat atop Grand Tour and monument winners alike and, like many Kask helmets, has proved popular with riders around the planet. Every helmet has its day, though, and it seems the Utopia’s may be numbered.
Geraint Thomas set off for his time trial recon ride ahead of stage one of the 2022 Tour de France with what appears to be a new aero road racing helmet from Kask, very possibly a replacement for the popular Utopia.
The new helmet features a large central vent paired with three more front-facing vents and two side vents on each side. The helmet features two smaller vents on the lower crown at the front and a total of six vents across the rear. It wasn’t possible to see if there are any vents on top at the rear, but in total there are at least 11 vents.
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Contrasting the venting the new helmet features plenty of smooth surfaces and channels all designed to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the new lid.
The straps on the new helmet seem unchanged from what we have traditionally seen from Kask. The new helmet seemingly also retains Kask’s Octo Fit adjustable retention system.
While too far away to tell for certain, the new helmet seems to feature a WG11 red logo on the rear. Kask uses this logo in reference to its own rotational-based safety test protocol. Confusingly, Kask suggests it’s not related to the CEN-based Working Group 11 (WG11) which is working to bring rotational-based testing to helmet safety standards – a topic we recently heard on Nerd Alert when Dave Rome spoke with Peter Haldin, the Chief Science Officer and a Co-Founder of MIPS.
Geraint may have forgotten to remove his gilet before setting off for his stage one time trial, but at least he didn’t forget to switch out the new road helmet for a dedicated TT helmet. That too, though, had some interesting new updates.
Thomas and his Ineos Grenadiers teammates opted for a mix of Kask Bambino Pro Evo and Mistral LW time trial helmets for the opening stage with what appears to be a new visor. The new visor features wing tips on the outer sides, presumably designed to guide or trip the airflow around the helmet. Reminiscent of the barge boards previously seen on Formula 1 cars, the new visor tips seem to be an aerodynamic aid intended to either trip the airflow helping it reattach to the helmet for improved aerodynamics.
However, the tips are significantly larger than any trips we have previously seen in cycling and could in fact be designed to redirect the airflow around the rider’s shoulders. That too seems like a difficult aero-gymnastic trick to pull off in cycling where the speeds are much lower. Such airflow diverting tricks are commonplace in motorsports where the air speeds are much higher but are difficult at lower speeds.
It also appears every rider sized up considerably. The bobblehead look is an odd one, but there’s a purpose: the wider helmet will also help smooth airflow over the shoulders.
Dan Bigham, the performance engineer at Team Ineos, was giving nothing away about the new visor, merely confirming it is “a new visor”. Bigham was spotted paying particular attention to how the helmet sat on each rider’s head, taking the time to adjust the fit and angle for each rider.
Hopefully, Kask will release further information on both new products during the upcoming stages.