Kask's new Valegro promises a lotta vents for a very low weight. We've given it the Australian Summer test. How does it perform?
Words - James Raison
Adelaide in January 2018 has been one of the best places on Earth to test Kask’s new and most ventilated helmet ever. Beelzebub himself would describe our recent weather as “a bit toasty for my liking.” So it was with great excitement that I left Kask Australia’s Valegro/Utopia launch event with a flippin Valegro!
I’ve been wearing KASK’s aero Protone for a bit over a year now. I love it. I walked into a shop, dropped it on my melon, and bought it on the spot. My first concern with helmets is fit, and the Protone fits me exceptionally well. The excellent styling and aero speed gains were added bonuses.
So I got very excited after donning the Valegro on and it felt even better than the Protone. It still has the Eco Leather chin strap which feels very nice on the skin, although it can be fiddly to adjust. The Octo Fit is the same too with its micro-dial on the rear allowing you to easily wind the cradle in and out. The cradle slides up and down with the same low-friction strip as on the Protone as well. It’s an easily adjustable helmet.
The difference with the Protone, and most other road helmets, is how thin and narrow the internal padding is on the Valegro. My concerns that less padding would reduce comfort proved unfounded for one simple reason: weight. This is a seriously light helmet. My Medium tipped the scales at just 220g which is very light for an Australian standard helmet. Our unique helmet requirements tend to force manufacturers to use higher density materials. 220g is very light here. So minimalist padding is not a problem when your helmet is so wispy.
Finally, I do want to applaud the design. Kask tend to make the lowest profile helmets on the market. They hug your head close, without any pointiness that you see from many other makers. I like that because I’m skinny and I look like a lollipop in some modern helmets.
The Kask Valegro feels like you aren't wearing a helmet. It’s easily the lightest helmet I’ve ridden in and one of the most comfortable. It was quite a strange experience, and one I'm still getting used to. Most helmets make their presence known through weight, pressure on your head, or by dragging through the air. The Valegro hits the trinity of light, comfortable and aero.
Now, Kask doesn’t trumpet the aerodynamics of the helmet, only scoring 3/5 according to whatever aero measures they use. But they do say it’s spent some undisclosed amount of time in the wind tunnel. You can tell.
I prefer to think about aero helmets as optimised for air movement. I can’t measure aero, but I can talk about how it feels when air moves through it and over it on the bike. As above, air moves through it very well. Air moves over it outstandingly well compared to other highly ventilated lids.
The Valegro doesn’t buffet or allow wind to grab onto it in strong wind. It feels neutral. Other well-ventilated helmets I’ve owned do not fare so well. My POC Octal and Specialized Prevail, for example, both get pulled around in the wind. The Valegro is also quieter too. There's less wind noise coming from the helmet, and no flapping or vibration from the straps. Kask’s hard work has paid off, and it makes the Valegro a pleasure to ride in.
Its 37 vents do a great job of clearing heat straight off your head. We've had multiple days over 40 Celsius here, so I took multiple opportunities to take the Valegro out into the scorching sun. Immediately I noted less sweat running down my face than with other helmets. I suspect this is both the excellent ventilation, and more importantly, the absence of horizontal forehead padding at the front of the helmet. As a bonus, my sunglasses are now much cleaner when I ride because of the reduced sweating.
There’s only two problems with this helmet. First, I run the rear cradle quite low and it sits very close to my ears, always in the way of my sunglasses. It can mean some fiddling to make sure the arms of your sunglasses are in place properly, I found slotting them underneath the cradle kept them in place. Second, this thing will be very cold in winter. The excellent ventilation will let the cold air in, and heat off your head straight out. The Valegro will hibernate for the winter and the Protone will have to do the heavy lifting.
The Kask Valegro is a tremendously good helmet. Comfortable, light, aero, and good-looking. Australian retail price is $300, which isn't cheap but is standard for pro-spec helmets. I tested it in horrific heat and loved it. The head cradle still interferes with all of my sunglasses, and it might cause brain freezes in Winter but those are minor gripes for a helmet this good.
I’m a pseudo weight weenie who climbs hills in a hot climate. The Kask Valegro has become my favourite helmet.
Disclosure statement: the Kask Valegro was supplied by Kask Australia for review.