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review

Kask Wasabi helmet

8
£269.00

VERDICT:

8
10
High-performance lid – with a price tag to match
Comfortable
Light
Tuneable climate control
Expensive
Styling won't appeal to all
Weight: 
264g

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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The Kask Wasabi is a quirky model reckoned to be the helmet for all seasons and to some extent all riders – road and gravel being two key audiences. For the most part it succeeds and performs to an extremely high standard. However, there are some minor niggles, and even taking the old 'got a ten-pound head, get a ten-pound helmet' adage, £270 is a lot of money.

Unlike a traditional helmet, the Wasabi employs panels that can be opened or closed depending on how much airflow you want. This is controlled by a gentle touch of the front panel.

Standard of finish is excellent, and the specification is reassuringly high. The outer polycarbonate shell is comprehensive and encompasses the rim, which is good news for a model aimed at road and gravel.

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While I'd hope never to test a helmet's true protective qualities (though it did take a direct hit from a stone while I was exploring an unmade back road), it's interesting to note that Kask is not a proponent of MIPS or similar 'roll cage' type technology. Compliance with the highest standards – CE EN 1078, CPSC1203 and AS/NZS2063 – should satisfy most, mind.

Open and shut case

While the lid looks a little 'Tron-like', it's configured for optimal aerodynamic efficiency. According to Kask, wind tunnel testing confirmed that 'less than one watt was lost between an open and closed vent when riding at a speed of 50 km/h'.

Ventilation works to the usual inlet and exhaust principle common to helmets in the last decade or so: cooling air comes through the front, unwanted heat is expelled at the rear.

2021 Kask Wasabi helmet - back.jpg

The lack of exposed ventilation precludes attaching accessories such as lights or action cameras, though a lack of sunglasses parking port may be a bigger deal-breaker for some.

The helmet also contains a merino inner panel, designed for comfort and odour regulation, which is a nice touch, as is the faux leather chin strap.

2021 Kask Wasabi helmet - inside 2.jpg

And if matt black isn't your thing, there are several other colours to choose from: white, grey, burgundy, jade and navy blue.

Sizing/fit

The helmet employs an internal 'floating cradle' system called 'Octo Fit', designed to assume the wearer's head shape, with fit fine-tuned via the familiar thumbwheel dial. Gel pads provide optimal support and are reckoned to be adjustable to any head shape.

2021 Kask Wasabi helmet - inside 1.jpg

Size-wise, the medium felt custom-made for me, with room for a winter cap or thin-pile thermal skull cap.

In use

Despite its quirky profile, I quickly warmed to the Wasabi. The vented panel is incredibly intuitive to use – even at speed. Long descent, icy wind... just reach up and slide it forward. Getting too toasty in the strong winter sun? Tap and slide back for instant cooling relief.

2021 Kask Wasabi helmet - front vent closed.jpg

The exhaust vents seem to do their thing very effectively, too. Even with a cap on and several hours spent at 85rpm on a fixed, or when temperatures wandered into the low teens for a brief period, I've only noticed the helmet's most positive qualities. I could feel some moist air for a few seconds but was conscious of its steady expulsion.

2021 Kask Wasabi helmet - back detail 1.jpg

Comparing it with my defaults, an Abus Aventor and my long-serving do-all Bell Sweep, there's not much separating them, weight-wise, and all three largely go unnoticed, but the ability to simply dial down the ventilation at a finger swipe gives the Kask a definite, tangible edge.

Being able to close the vents is also a boon should the heavens unexpectedly open. During more intense showers, some water will steadily creep inside, but at a much slower rate than a traditionally ventilated design. My Lusso Pain Cave cap was only slightly moist after two hours in persistent, showery rain.

As it's designed for cyclo-cross and gravel as well as road riding, the Kask has accompanied me on a fair few miles of green lanes and unmade roads. For the most part, and aside from the fact that I can't mount a helmet light, it's been very practical, with the rounded styling working perfectly well with more trail-inspired machines and clothing.

2021 Kask Wasabi helmet - side.jpg

The smooth, leatherette chin strap and merino liners are also definite improvements on the more basic webbed and synthetic pads in terms of comfort.

2021 Kask Wasabi helmet - strap.jpg

Care/durability

Thus far, it's relatively straightforward to live with. Matt finishes tend to show the dirt and require specialist matt 'polishes' to keep their looks. This one's no exception but again, it's a quick and painless process.

I was surprised to discover a dent in the front after it had taken a hit from a stone, but I wasn't overly worried at the time, and it doesn't seem structural. Otherwise, no obvious weak spots.

Kask Wasabi ding.JPG

Several weeks and 600 miles down the line, I've only needed to strip the merino liner to assess its response to being washed. It's come up well in 30-degree machine washes, though I've found it easiest to refit when slightly damp.

Value

It's not quite the most expensive helmet we've tested on road.cc – that award goes to the Hexr, which was £349 in 2019, though it's been reduced to 'just' £299, though you do get a custom printed lid for that – but at £269 it's in second place. Yes, it's very good quality, and the ability to open and close the vents is very useful – almost like having two helmets in one – but still...

For £10 less you can get the Sweet Protection Falconer II Aero MIPS Helmet – though it's a bit heavier too. It has magnetic 'aero covers' to reduce wind resistance, and digitally optimised ventilation for improved airflow. (Steve tested an earlier version in 2019 and was impressed.)

> Buyer’s Guide: 19 of the best lightweight high-performance cycling helmets

If your riding has more of a road bias, the Lazer Bullet 2.0 has interchangeable panels you can adjust for airflow and is £219.99, or Limar's Airspeed Road Helmet is even less at £179.99, if the fit and protection levels suit.

Summary

Overall, I've been impressed with the Kask Wasabi's blend of comfort and performance, and its easy-to-operate venting panels are really useful. It could even be argued you are getting two helmets in one – which might help justify the price.

Verdict

High-performance lid – with a price tag to match

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Kask Wasabi helmet

Size tested: 52-58 cm

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 Wasabi ensures temperature regulation like no other helmet thanks to its adjustable airflow system. With the push of a finger, a centralized vent can be opened when conditions heat up or closed when they cool down for a 1.5°C internal temperature increase when riding at the same speed. Wind tunnel testing confirmed that less than one watt was lost between an open and closed vent when riding at a speed of 50 km/h. Impressive aerodynamic and ventilating features together with a premium Merino wool lining by REDA for protection against temperature fluctuations put the Wasabi in a class all its own."

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

Kask lists:

CE EN 1078

CPSC 1203

AS/NZS 2063

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.

ACTIVE VENTILATION SYSTEM

The active ventilation system integrated in the helmet allows for improved cooling. Using the lever on the rear, the amount of airflow can be adjusted to suit the rider's needs. This new ventilation system, combined with breathable inner fabrics, improves the rider's physiological comfort.

00% MERINO WOOL LINER BY REDA

Thanks to the properties of Merino wool and the exclusive KASK REDA technology, the internal padding provides unmatched comfort. When in contact with the skin, Merino wool helps stabilize body temperature, ensures high breathability, and dries quickly.

ECO-LEATHER CHINSTRAP

Chin pad with synthetic leather chinstrap. The hypoallergenic and washable chinstrap is extremely comfortable and helps to avoid skin irritation.

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.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Generally excellent throughout, as I'd expect for £269.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Exceptional climate control, no wind noise. Without access to wind tunnel testing equipment, it's impossible to assess its aero credentials.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Very solidly made in the main, but I was surprised by the "ding" caused by a stone.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
10/10

A snug fit, and though it's difficult to comment on its performance in high temperatures, with vents open, ample airflow rushes inside, while at the other extreme, closing the vents blocked bitter blasts, without recourse to winter-weight caps.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Specification and overall performance are high, but with a price tag to match.

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

Taking the cool test period into account, overall comfort has been superb. Open, the inlet/exhaust ventilation is excellent, allowing a seamless, consistent flow of cooling air through. The ability to close these means you can snatch back some warmth with the deft flick of a finger – really useful if the temperature dips and you've forgotten a cap. Even with the vents fully open and letting rip on long, sweeping descents, wind noise is minimal, so hasn't impaired communication and general conversation. I've also used it off-road with no obvious issues, although I was surprised by the impact delivered by a stray stone.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Airy, comfortable, and tuneable. Its quirky looks grew on me and I was also able to sneak a light around the back for some additional presence/safety.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

There's no getting away from the fact that £269 is a lot of money for a helmet.

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

Apart from the custom-made Hexr, all the helmets we've tested on road.cc have been cheaper. Even the expensive Sweet Protection Falconer II Aero MIPS helmet with digitally optimised ventilation for improved airflow and magnetic 'aero covers' is £10 less, though it's a bit heavier too. The Lazer Bullet 2.0, with interchangeable panels that you can adjust for airflow, is £219.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Not at full rrp.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Generally yes, but there are cheaper, credible alternatives.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a very competent helmet, but the price is hard to ignore.

Overall rating: 8/10

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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