Kask Utopia helmet review
The Utopia sports an excellent fit and refined aerodynamics, but for the price, we would expect MIPS or another rotational force dissipation system.
Internal vent channels for cooling; aerodynamically shaped to save watts; leather chin strap; ideal for road racing and triathlon
Harness is comfortable and secure; it’s well ventilated for an aero helmet; size M fits a broader range of heads than other size M helmets
Leather chin straps seems incongruous with the rest of the helmet’s design; no MIPS or other system to address rotational forces in a crash
The Utopia gets a lot right — aerodynamics, a great fit, and decent cooling thanks to internal channeling — though for the price, it seems strange that there’s no MIPS or another system to address rotational forces. While we wouldn’t recommend it for the hottest days on the bike, the Utopia is a good choice for triathletes or road racers looking to save some watts on the racecourse.
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Aerodynamics was the first consideration when Kask designed the Utopia helmet. But good ventilation wasn’t far behind. Made for road racing and triathlon, the Utopia has a more traditional aero helmet shape, but the airflow is good enough we wore it for training too, especially when intervals and sprints dominate the day. Kask says the Utopia can be used year-round in all climates, and that it will save a rider 6 watts at 50kph.
If you’re a racer and you want a helmet that will help you save energy and go faster, it makes sense to buy an aero-style design, which the Utopia unabashedly is. You won’t see a mountain biker crushing single track, or a commuter cranking to work in this helmet. It’s built for speed, and despite few exterior ventilation ports compared to other helmets, it’s cool.
A peek inside the Utopia gives a hint as to how Kask achieves airflow. Deep channels are molded into the EPS foam to direct air around the rider’s head. Even the 5mm-thick, carbon yarn Resitex pads have air channels molded into them. The Utopia’s quick-dry pads wick moisture from the rider’s head, further helping with heat regulation and odor control. Of note: when Kask crafted the air channeling, they kept those channels away from the rider’s ears to keep the ride quiet.
Kask’s Octo Fit harness gave a confidence-inspiring fit. It’s similar to systems in other helmets, with an additional plastic loop at the center back of the head, and lobes on either side of the lowest part of the harness for more contact points and a more secure-feeling fit when I tightened it. The rear of the harness slides to adjust—there’s no clipping and unclipping to move it—which was super user-friendly.
I found the Utopia’s leather chin strap an odd design element. Kask doesn’t say why they add this. After a few minutes on the bike I forgot about it, but I wonder if it won’t get salty and crusty with more days in this helmet in hot and humid conditions.
Multiple riders who tested this helmet commented on the great fit. I really liked that I could adjust the internal harness when the helmet was on my head instead of taking it off to unclip and re-clip the harness. On the fly adjustment let me get it dialed perfectly in seconds, before I hit the road. And no, it wasn’t annoying to micro-adjust most times before I started my ride.
I was impressed with the helmet’s ability to direct air over and around my head to keep me cool, and while I didn’t wear this helmet for a time trial, it felt fast and looked fast without having an obnoxiously exaggerated shape. That said, it’s not a helmet you’d likely wear for everyday riding and training — it’s a specialized piece of gear to save you seconds in a race. The more I wore it, the more the foamy side pads packed out. And, in the end, that the helmet that doesn’t have MIPS or some other system to absorb rotational crashes is a demerit. There have been too many studies showing how critical rotational force management is in a crash. For the price, this is a feature I’d expect to see in this helmet.