Kask introduced its Utopia aerodynamic road helmet as its “fastest road helmet to date” in 2018. Since then, the helmet has risen to the top of Grand Tour and monument winners alike and, like many helmets Kask has proven to be popular with cyclists all over the planet. However, each helmet has its day, and it seems that Utopia’s may be numbered.
Geraint Thomas set off for his time trial reconnaissance ride ahead of the first stage of the 2022 Tour de France wearing what appears to be a new aerodynamic road racing helmet from Kask, quite possibly a replacement for the popular Utopia.
The new helmet features a large central vent combined with three more front vents and two side vents on each side. The helmet features two smaller vents at the bottom of the crown at the front and a total of six vents at the rear. It was not possible to see if there are any vents on the top rear, but in total there are at least 11 vents.
In contrast to ventilation, the new helmet features many smooth surfaces and channels, all designed to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the new cap.
The straps on the new helmet appear to be unchanged from what we’ve traditionally seen from Kask. Apparently, the new helmet also retains Kask’s Octo Fit adjustable retention system.
While it’s too far gone to say for sure, the new helmet appears to feature a red WG11 logo on the rear. WG11 is short for Working Group 11. WG11 is working to bring rotation-based testing into helmet safety standards, and the goal is to help reduce the number of brain injuries sustained in bicycle crashes. But as we heard on a recent episode of Nerd Alert when Dave Rome spoke with Peter Haldin, the chief science officer and co-founder of MIPS, it’s possible that Kask was quick to include this logo on his helmet.
Geraint may have forgotten to remove his vest before embarking on his stage time trial, but at least he didn’t forget to trade in the new road helmet for a dedicated time trial helmet. However, that also had some interesting new updates.
Thomas and his Ineos Grendaiers 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 wingtips on the outer sides, presumably designed to guide or displace airflow around the helmet. Reminiscent of the barge boards previously seen on Formula 1 cars, the new visor tips appear to be an aerodynamic aid meant to trigger airflow and help it re-attach to the helmet for improved aerodynamics.
However, the spikes are significantly larger than any ride we’ve seen in cycling before, and could in fact be designed to redirect airflow around the rider’s shoulders. That also seems like a tricky aero gymnastics trick to pull off in cycling, where speeds are much lower. These airflow deflecting tricks are common in motorsports where airspeeds are much higher but difficult at lower speeds.
It also appears that all of the riders increased in size considerably. The bobblehead look is weird, but it serves a purpose: the wider helmet will also help smooth airflow over your shoulders.
Dan Bigham, the Ineos team performance engineer, did not reveal anything about the new visor, simply confirming that it is “a new visor”. Bigham was seen paying close 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 more information on both new products during the next stages.
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