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review

Kask Protone Icon helmet

9
£245.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Superb road helmet – light, airy and comfortable
Light
Superb ventilation
Extremely comfortable
Impressive build quality
Price
Octofit+ adjuster feels less robust than some
Weight: 
223g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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An evolution of the Protone helmet, the Kask Protone Icon is reckoned to have improved on its predecessor 'in every way possible'. Having not tested a Protone it's difficult for me to comment on this statement, but what I can say is that the Icon is the airiest and most comfortable helmet I've ever used, in 35 years of cycling. At 223g it's also possibly the lightest – I barely noticed it.

In common with its Protone predecessor, the shell uses seamless technology to join the upper and lower parts for a sleek aesthetic. The shell also extends around the base, protecting the EPS liner from accidental damage, and it comes in a choice of no fewer than 10 colours, including matt and gloss effects.

Structurally, the Protone Icon employs what Kask calls an 'innovative inner strengthening frame', which theoretically affords greater mechanical strength. In a crash, says Kask, the helmet shouldn't break into pieces.

Kask has used its own in-house Kask WG11 test, 'an objective, scientific approach to measuring the helmet's performance against rotational impacts'. You can read more about it following the link in the test report, below. Like Mips, the helmet is designed to slow down movement caused by rotational forces involved in many crashes.

In use

The excellent comfort afforded here is partly down to the amount of cooling airflow that gets sucked through the vents. There are 21 in total – less of a selling point than it once was, but crucially these are incredibly efficient, regardless of effort or ride duration. When temperatures have crept into the low to mid-20s, I've remained perfectly comfortable.

2022 Kask Protone Icon helmet - front detail.jpg

The Coolmax pads have done their thing, too, guzzling rider-generated dampness (or rain) with ruthless efficiency, and also keeping nasty niffs firmly at bay.

2022 Kask Protone Icon helmet - inside.jpg

It's actually been unseasonably chill on many early morning rides during the testing period – as low as 3°C in some instances – and I've needed to wear a cap underneath. Even then, at 25mph I was coming close to feeling too airy – bordering on 'ice cream' headache territory.

2022 Kask Protone Icon helmet - rear.jpg

The helmet's relatively slender profile hasn't presented any compatibility hassles when worn with a cap – my default is Lusso's Pain Cave, substituting it for models with a durable water repellent coating on damp or rainy outings.

I've had no issues with glasses misting, either, and there's parking space for them too.

Wind noise is negligible, on those occasions when I wanted to engage in conversation, and I was perfectly attuned to approaching vehicles and, indeed, rogue creatures of field and forest too.

One thing I have had an issue with is the rear Octofit+ dial. It's designed to achieve a precise fit and is intuitive to use and easy to tweak singlehandedly on the fly, but on the first model we had in for testing it actually broke. The replacement has been fine and hasn't failed, but for me it feels less rugged than some and detracts slightly from the overall experience, despite Kask saying it's larger than the previous design, and coated in special rubber to increase finger grip.

2022 Kask Protone Icon helmet - tension system 2.jpg

It's engineered with vertical adjustment so the helmet can sit comfortably with ponytails and longer hair, and the cradle also features an ergonomic neck support to fit securely against the nape.

The Protone Icon is available in three sizes: S (50-56cm), M (52-58cm), and L (59-62cm). Medium was perfect for me, and the faux leather chin strap is incredibly comfortable, too.

2022 Kask Protone Icon helmet - strap.jpg

The Coolmax pads are washable and have emerged from the machine smelling fresh and without shrinkage. I've given the shell a quick furniture polish buffing now and then, too.

2022 Kask Protone Icon helmet - padding.jpg

Value

While £245 is a serious investment, there are a few others rivalling and indeed exceeding this. Mavic's Comete Ultimate MIPS is also £245, and is made using EPS-4D technology that's said to be more effective at absorbing impacts than a standard EPS construction.

Specialized's S-Works Evade with Angi technology (which will engage with your smartphone and make an emergency call if it senses a crash) retails at £250 and is reckoned to have excellent ventilation and aerodynamic properties, too.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best lightweight high-performance helmets

In his review last month, George thought the Lazer Vento KinetiCore was very good, but it's £259.99, and at 290g also a bit heavier.

Met's Manta MIPS is cheaper than the Kask at £220 and it impressed Leon when he tested it last year, though it's not quite as light, at 248g on our scales.

Conclusion

Ultimately, I've been very impressed by the Kask Protone Icon; it's easily the most comfortable helmet I've ever used. It's not cheap by any stretch, but it is extremely good.

Verdict

Superb road helmet – light, airy and comfortable

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Kask Protone Icon helmet

Size tested: 52-58cm

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 new synonym for victory, the Protone Icon helmet features the latest technological advances in safety, ventilation, and aerodynamics to make it an icon of road cycling. The Protone Icon takes its design from KASK's winning Protone helmet and has improved upon it in every way possible.

"Like all KASK helmets, the Protone Icon has been developed in accordance with the KASK WG11 protocol, an objective, scientific approach to measuring the helmet's performance against rotational impacts."

My feelings " As impressive in the real world, as it is on paper-but at a price"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

More from Kask:

Kask WG11 test is an internal protocol adopted by Kask to identify an objective method, based on scientific sources, for measuring the performance of its helmets against rotational impacts. Read more about that here. https://www.kask.com/en/safety.htm

Redesigned Aesthetics

Protone Icon updates its aesthetic for a modern look, the new model maintains the core features that have made it a true icon of the road.

Seamless Technology

The Protone Icon utilizes seamless technology, joining the lower and upper parts of the shell to create a refined and super-elegant look.

OCTOFIT+

The new over-injected rubber dial provides improved finger grip. The vertical stabilizer has been redesigned for greater stability providing a customized fit for riders with long hair. The ergonomic neck support ensures a fast and secure fit against the back of the head.

Stronger Internal Frame

The innovative inner strengthening frame offers greater mechanical strength and better compactness. In case of shock, it prevents the helmet from breaking into many pieces, allowing greater safety for every rider.

Coolmax® Fiber

Removable and washable inner padding in Coolmax® material.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Excellent, as I'd expect for the price, though the Octofit+ adjuster wheel feels less robust than some.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

By far the most comfortable and unobtrusive helmet I've used in 35 years of lid wearing.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The only question mark I have is regarding the durability of the Octofit+ adjuster wheel, which feels less sturdy than some.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
10/10

Easily the most comfortable helmet I've ever used.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the Kask Protone Icon has performed phenomenally well – it's light, unobtrusive and airy. The vents pump plenty of cooling air in, expelling rider-generated heat with similar efficiency. And even at pace there are no issues with wind noise or similar impairment to awareness or conversation.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Pretty much everything.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's a lot of money, and I have reservations regarding the durability of the Octofit+ thumbwheel.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Mavic's Comete Ultimate MIPS is also £245, and is made using EPS-4D technology that's said to be more effective at absorbing impacts than a standard EPS construction.

Specialized's S-Works Evade with Angi technology (which will engage with your smartphone and make an emergency call if it senses a crash) retails at £250 and is reckoned to have excellent ventilation and aerodynamic properties, too.

In his review last month, George thought the Lazer Vento KinetiCore was very good, but it's £259.99, and at 290g also a bit heavier.

Met's Manta MIPS is cheaper than the Kask at £220 and it impressed Leon when he tested it last year, though it's not quite as light, at 248g on our scales.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Fabulous road helmet – light, airy and comfortable. The only question mark I have is regarding the durability of the Octofit+ dial.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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