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Kask Protone helmet review

Five years riding at the sport's highest level speaks volumes of Kask’s Protone semi-aero helmet. We put it to the test to see whether it's still a worthy option

Kask Protone helmet review
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

Our Verdict

With a dialled fit and good ventilation, it's not a surprise that the Protone is still at the top of the pile

For

  • Well ventilated
  • Secure fit
  • Snug-fitting chin strap with no flap

Against

  • Low head retention can interfere with casquettes and headbands
  • No sunglasses storage
  • High price considering the age of design

The Kask Protone has been around for five years now. It was originally developed with Team Sky and, in that time, has donned the heads of some of the best WorldTour riders. With the constant rate of technological developments, nothing stands still for very long in the bike industry yet the Protone has stood the test of time and is still the race lid of choice for Team Ineos.

Design and aesthetics 

Kask produces all its helmets in Italy including design and performance testing. The Protone is a semi-aero helmet featuring large forward-facing vents with a smooth top to reduce turbulence. Kask tested the Protone in the wind tunnel and claims an impressive coefficiency rate regardless of its position on the head. 

The elephant in the room is the Protone’s omission of any rotational protection, however, this should be put in perspective. When the helmet was designed, MIPS was still new with most brands yet to adopt the technology. Even in 2020 with the Swedish brain protection system having infiltrated almost all manufacturers, Kask is still to drink the MIPS kool-aid.

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Kask Protone helmet review

The Protone cuts a sleek silhouette (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Kask Protone helmet review

Truncated rear houses large exhaust vents (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance and fit 

An inner frame is what Kask claims helps produce such a slimline helmet without sacrificing safety. The strengthening frame has been added to increase structural integrity and hold the helmet together in the event of a crash. 

In-moulding neatly protects polystyrene across the top and around the base of the helmet with polycarbonate - if I’m being picky it would be nice to see a little more coverage around the rear but so far the helmet is yet to show any marks. The inside contact points are lined with a multilayer padding made from Coolmax material and treated with an antibacterial and antimicrobial sanitized process to keep the helmet fresh.

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Kask Protone helmet review

Inner frame supports the helmet structure and is visible around the front vents (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Kask Protone helmet review

Multilayer padding inside the helmet reduces heat build up at contact points (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Kask Protone helmet review

Synthetic leather strap is heavier than standard webbing but is comfortable (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Instead of using a standard webbing chin strap, Kask has chosen to make it from a synthetic eco-leather. Soft to the touch, it’s a stiffer material that holds adjustment and keeps flapping to an absolute minimum. The straps around the ears aren’t adjustable but sit flush against the side of the head. 

Kask’s Octo Fit head retention system is both vertically and horizontally adjustable for providing more control of the helmet's contact points. The retention system also has enough space to accommodate those with ponytails. During testing, the helmet didn’t obstruct any of the sunglasses that I wore, although spectacles can interfere somewhat, and helmet storage is a bit of an issue. In fact, it only plays nicely with sunglasses that have thinner arm stems.

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Kask Protone helmet review

The Octo Fit retention system can extend far down the back of the head (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Kask Protone helmet review

The occipital pads have horizontal adjustment (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Kask Protone helmet review

Generous vertical adjust should give a locked in fit to a range of head shapes (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Riding experience

The Protone has a snug encapsulating fit across the entire head giving the feeling of being locked in the helmet rather than simply wearing it. The retention amplifies this by scooping low around the back of the head. I never felt the need to specifically tinker with the adjustable system - instead, it was merely a case of clicking down and winding to the preferred tightness. As the Octo Fit system sits rather low I found that the helmet didn’t play well with over-ear headwear as the retention system couldn’t rest snuggly behind the ear.

I found ventilation to be excellent as well.  The central vents feed to channels across the top of the head to effectively channel cooling fresh air. I found this airflow to be noticeable even at slower speeds, quickly exhausting any heat build-up away after heat-generating slow efforts. Hotter climates may reveal certain ventilation weaknesses but Kask has the Valegro for those who like to work up a sweat on hot climbs. 

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Kask Protone helmet review

The front of the helmet is dominated by large intake vents (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Kask Protone helmet review

The two central vents create a noticable passage for cooling air (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict 

Despite its age, the Kask Protone is still a top-flight helmet for those looking to strike a balance between aerodynamic performance and decent ventilation. It may be heavier than some of the competition but the superbly secure and comfortably conforming fit mitigates that. In fact, the Protone only shows its age with its lack of MIPS, the value of which is left to the buyer but for a helmet that fits so securely, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. 

Test conditions

  • Temperature range: Spring, 2-15 degrees 
  • Test duration: Two months
  • Terrain: Road

Specifications: Kask Protone

  • RRP: Starting at US$299.99 / £199 / €235
  • Weight: 260g (claimed), 282g (actual, large)   
  • Rotational safety: No
  • Retention: Kask Octo Fit
  • Aero: Yes
  • Sizes: S, M, L 
  • Colours: 20