Italian company Kask's Infinity aero helmet offers easy ventilation adjustment, making it ideal for winter cycling and cyclo-cross racing.
Aerodynamics has informed most aspects of bicycle design, but nowhere is it more noticeable than cycling helmets. It's clear that the simplest step towards a more slippery helmet is to smooth over the ventilation ports. But that runs the risk of an overheating head. The Infinity helmet solves this issue with a central sliding panel, not dissimilar to Bell's Star Pro helmet. Kask calls it the Aerator vent cover.
Closed, there are minimal vents to produce drag – just two slender ports on the rim and a couple of exhaust ports around the back and top. Slide the middle section back, though, and three huge gaping vents are exposed, allowing loads of cooling air to circulate around inside.
The idea is that you get the benefits of an aero helmet most of the time, but when you're climbing, say, you can open the vents to increase the cooling effect. It's easy to slide the cover back and forth with one hand on the move, though there is no small lever as there is on the Bell helmet.
Kask sent me this helmet to use for cyclo-cross riding and racing, and I've been doing quite a bit of it this winter. The lower speeds involved in cyclo-cross negate most of the benefits of any aerodynamic products, but the adjustable ventilation has been a boon.
On wet and windy days, of which there have been a few this winter, the closed design of the helmet provides good shelter compared with a regular helmet. It saves having to reach for a cycling cap or hat on colder rides and races, and so it's more comfortable.
The amount of ventilation needed, depending on the weather conditions, temperature and period of the race, can easily be adjusted to suit. Open it just a centimetre to let a little cooling air in towards the end of the race, or open it right up if you need the full cooling effect. There is a noticeable difference even if opening the sliding cover just a crack.
Even with the cover closed, I never experienced any excessive heat build-up – and the same can't be said about the Bell Star Pro in similar conditions.
Aside from its party trick, the helmet is well made and very comfortable. The retention system comprises a (now common) turn-dial with easy on-the-fly adjustment and good precision.
I found the medium size (my usual) provided a really good fit with no pressure points anywhere around the head, with generous antimicrobial Coolmax foam padding providing good comfort. The straps are easily adjustable with an Eco-Leather chin strap sitting comfortable against the skin.
The helmet is constructed with a polycarbonate outer layer bonded directly to the polystyrene core, with 'Frame' technology, an internal Kevlar web lattice, providing structural integrity. It passes all the usual safety standards, though I can't help wondering how the sliding vent mechanism fares in an impact.
I have no idea how aerodynamic the helmet is; without doing a comparative test of all current helmets in a wind tunnel (anyone want to pay for some wind tunnel time?), it's impossible to get any meaningful data. I can weigh the helmet, though, and on the road.cc scales it comes in at 265g, which is reasonable – that's lighter than the Bell Star Pro.
I won't pretend that wearing the Kask Infinity helmet has helped me to go any faster in my cyclo-cross races – lack of talent is the main issue holding me back. But the protection from inclement weather and cold air has been a benefit compared with other well-ventilated helmets I normally ride, without having to resort to some other sort of headwear. The easy adjustment of the sliding vent might seem a gimmick, but it does work and I found myself using it a lot.
Aero helmet with adjustable ventilation ideal for cyclo-cross racing and winter training
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kask Infinity
Size tested: Medium, black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Kask says: "The KASK Infinity is the most aerodynamically efficient helmet in the KASK range. Developed in collaboration with Team Sky and offering unparalleled comfort and fit combined with KASK's signature Italian styling and renowned manufacturing process. The Infinity harbours the performance benefits of an aero helmet whilst maintaining functionality for regular use on the road.
"One of the key features of the Infinity helmet is the 'Aerator' vent cover, which when closed directs air over the top of the helmet to improve aerodynamic efficiency. However, when the vent is opened the helmet easily becomes a more traditional cycling helmet with ample ventilation for the head. The KASK Infinity provides the best of both aero performance and road functionality."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
3D dry- Tridimensional 3D DRY padding which utilizes a multi-layer open cell construction process: high technology for the best comfort and performance.
Aero Control - Incredibly aerodynamic and top performing shell, tested in the wind-tunnel and able to provide a really impressive CX rate. Any position the head will assume the outflow of the air will be perfectly in line with the helmet.
Coolmax - Removable and washable inner padding in Coolmax® material
ECO Chinstrap - Chin pad with eco-leather chinstrap. The anallergic and washable chinstrap is extremely comfortable and helps to avoid irritation of the skin.
Inner Frame - Avoids the break of the helmet into pieces in case of shock.
M in moulding - Innovative 'in moulding' technology, joining the inner polystyrene cap to the outer polycarbonate one, ensures a better shock absorption.
MIT - The MIT Technology, applied to all KASK cycling helmets, guarantees a higher safety and a complete protection thanks to the polycarbonate layer that covers the shell on the top, on the base ring and on the back.
Octo Fit - Rubberised Micro Dial adjuster provides improved finger grip. Floating cradle contact points combine internal gel pads for optimum comfort. These supports are designed to oscillate freely through 180° allowing a perfect fit on any shaped head . The Skeletal Brackets of the cradle have been designed and refined to provide the best fit and support whilst being as light as possible.
Sanitized - Inner padding fabric treated with antibacterial and antimicrobial Sanitized® process.
High-visibility reflector stickers on the back of the helmet and on every strap for maximum safety.
Hard to verify aero performance, but ticks all other boxes, and is ideally suited to winter riding or generally just bad conditions.
A decent weight for an aero helmet, and lighter than the similar Bell Star Pro.
It's a really comfortable helmet, and easy to get a good fit with no excessive movement.
It's not cheap.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For racing cyclo-cross and winter road training, it's well suited. Keeps the wind and rain out, and the vent can be adjusted when you need some cooling air, such as towards the end of a 'cross race.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable and good fit, and easy to operate the sliding vent on the move.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
Potential aero gains with the benefit of added ventilation only when you need it, ideal for cyclo-cross racing and winter road training.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.