We’ve tried them all so here’s what you should buy
Words: James Raison
Are you flummoxed, bamboozled, muddled, or otherwise bewildered by which Kask helmet you should buy? Good news for you then because we’ve tried them all! So we thought it was time to compare them to help you choose which Italian lid is best for your noodle. It’s simple concept; we choose the most important elements of a helmet; weight, comfort, ventilation/cooling, aesthetics, relative value, and bonus points/penalties, and rank all of the helmets from worst to best. Top performer gets a 4, lowest performer gets a 1. Highest score overall wins. Got it? Let’s do it!
Protone - 300g
Utopia - 260g
Mojito X - 238g
Valegro - 215g
Nice, easy, and measurable category to start with. These are Australian standard helmets - usually heavier than the rest of the world because of our unique laws - weighed on my kitchen scales. All of them are slightly above manufacturer claims. Maybe it’s all my salt in the straps? Anyhoo, Valegro wins, Mojito X bags a respectable second, Utopia is a surprisingly light for an aero third, and portly Protone comes last.
After careful deliberation it has to be the Mojito X. The strap retention system is soft for the back of your melon, and the thin but plentiful padding through the shell is lovely. The Valegro, Protone, and Utopia have ostensibly the same retention system so it’s all about contact with your head. Second then is the Protone with quite good padding coverage and thickness. Next is the Valegro that relies on thin padding strips running front-to-back. It’s not much padding overall but the contact patch with your head is divided across it well enough. Last is the Utopia that’s got the least padding I’ve seen in any road helmet. Two thick padding strips run front-to-back and there’s two padding spots at the temple. That’s it. Utopia is all about aero and airflow.
Looks matter, especially at the higher pricepoints where buyers want a some style in their fundamentally lame foam bicycle hat.
The Protone is the best looking helmet of the last five years and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees. It’s superbly balanced, has a low profile on your head, and isn’t destroyed by decals or design flourishes. It looked great when it came out and it still looks great in 2019. The Valegro scores well for its minimalism and smoothness. I consider the Utopia one of the best looking aero helmets on the market, but aero lids generally aren’t good looking.
The final spot is taken by the Mojito X. It feels a little dated in 2019 because it looks so much like the original Mojito from 2012.
VENTILATION AND COOLING
The Velagro kills the competition with the most, and the largest vents. Its minimal padding enhances to the cooling but reduces the comfort a little. Mojito X takes second place but only just edging out the Utopia. It’s quite amazing how much air moves through the Utopia given how few vents there are, when you’re moving at a decent speed. The Mojito X is better at dissipating heat upwards, hence it’s better on hot days and at lower speeds. The Protone is adequate for most of the year but doesn’t cut it for Adelaide Summer where the Valegro and Mojito X spend more time on my head. The generous Protone padding restricts movement through the shell, the small vents limit air coming in, and the end result is a toasty head.
I’ve chosen “relative value” as a way to encompass price/performance ratio and the current market rates to buy them. Effectively it’s a way to balance out how good the helmet is compared to how much you pay for it right now. This isn’t exact science but I’ll try my best to explain it! Don’t forget, higher is better.
Mojito X: It’s at the expensive end of the mid-tier market segment and that makes it mediocre dollar-for-dollar.
Utopia: It’s a damn good race helmet that’s new to the market. It’s the priciest on this list but wind tunnels and CFD isn’t cheap so that’s to be expected. Still, you need a good need for speed when dropping this much coin.
Valegro: It’s been available for around 18 months and prices are still high.
Protone: Sheer time on the market has brought prices down on the Protone and there’s some great deals going around. It’s a good helmet and a home run purchase if you grab it for around $200 which you see occasionally.
I’m going to allocate some bonus and penalty points because certain virtues and drawbacks don’t fit cleanly into the categories above. So, here we go:
Valegro 2 points for having the best sunglasses storage I’ve found in a helmet.
Mojito X: 1 point for reflective dots on the back. I like safety flourishes.
Utopia: -1 point for forehead dents.
Protone: -1 point for disappearing retention cradle pads. Protone owners will know what I mean.
Mojito X: 13
There you have it folks; the Valegro wins with a drubbing of the competition. The Mojito X was a surprisingly solid second, overcoming its relatively poor value and indifferent aesthetics. Definitely the “best team player” on the list. The Protone is pretty enough to put up with its faults. Then there’s the Utopia; a darn good helmet but really best left for race day.
Well there you have the rational breakdown of the helmets. That’s it, right? Nope…
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FEEL-PINIONS?
Screw rationality, here’s my emotional ranking of the helmets from most to least favourite:
Valegro: My favourite everyday helmet. It’s not perfect but I love it.
Protone: Sure, it’s heavy and has poor breathability but sometimes you have to suffer for fashion.
Utopia: It makes me feel faster so I forgive its reduced comfort.
Mojito X: A genuinely good helmet that looks dated in 2019.
Which one is your favourite? Drop a comment below!
Disclosure statement: The Mojito X, Valegro, and Utopia were sent for review. This isn’t a paid piece and we don’t get proceeds from the sale of Kask product.