KAV Portola: KAZE 3D-Printed Bike Helmet Gets Stronger & Lighter Thanks to Proprietary PolyCarbon Filament

If you haven’t been paying attention, 3D printing is popping up everywhere in the world of cycling. From saddles, to dropouts, to yes, even helmets. Among the companies creating helmets out of thin air, KAV has been leading the way with recent honors for their Portola helmet like a Red Dot award, a Design & Innovation Award, and one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2022.

And now, KAV is unveiling the next generation of their 3D-printed bike helmet, the Portola: KAZE.

KAV Portola KAZE 3d printed helmet xray

All images c. KAV

When it comes to 3D printing, there are a number of things to consider, but one of the most important is the material itself. It has to lend itself to not only the printing process where products are built layer by layer but in this case, it also needs to perform well as an actual helmet.

KAV Portola KAZE 3d printed helmet in Cosmos Black

According to KAV, the new Portola KAZE name is derived from the Japanese word for wind – a partial nod to the increased ventilation thanks to larger vents. But the big story here seems to be the material used to print the helmet itself, with KAV working with “the leading domestic provider of filament to compound and test over 20 proprietary co-polymers.” That search led to the sourcing of a new polymer from Japan which has been mixed with a proprietary blend of additives to create what they are calling KAV PolyCarbon.

KAV Portola KAZE 3d printed helmet in white

This new filament material supposedly absorbs 35% more energy than typical EPS foam, and also unlocks a new color option – Polar White. You’ll still be able to get the Portola KAZE in Cosmos Black as well.

KAV claims the KAZE performs 25% better than the CPSC impact requirements, though we’d still like to see how it compares in third-party testing like that from Virginia Tech.

KAV Portola KAZE 3d printed helmet new padding

Thanks to revisions to the straps, padding, and tweaks to the inner honeycomb structure, the KAZE is now 10% lighter. Based on our testing of a Portola, that would make it around 343g (though the custom-fit nature means a wide range of actual weights). But a helmet that is lighter with better ventilation and padding is definitely welcomed, and the new patent-pending sweat management system sounds like it could be an interesting addition. KAV also claims that a “new fusion construction bonds moisture-wicking fabrics directly to the helmet, eliminating adhesives and weight.”

KAV Portola KAZE 3d printed helmet aero vents

While the KAZE is still a premium helmet with a premium price tag, KAV has taken a big chunk out of the cost of the helmet moving from $390 for the Portola, to $320 for the Portola KAZE. Made in Redwood City, CA using renewable energy, KAV helmets include a 30-day risk-free trial, 5-year warranty, and a 100% crash replacement policy.


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Will Ferrule
Will Ferrule
11 days ago

I’m glad Zach mentioned the Japanese origin of the word “Kaze” because otherwise, folks would be pronouncing it like “kaaz” instead of like “kaw-zay.”

11 days ago

Does this have a hard shell, or is the base material resistant to scuffs etc? They should work on a Mips version next.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict
10 days ago
Reply to  mud

I can’t believe someone would introduce a new helmet that doesn’t have Mips. That doesn’t make sense.

Whitman w/ KAV
9 days ago
Reply to  mud

The base material is not only resistant to scuffs but doesn’t get damaged/dented if you drop your helmet off your handlebars or off the back of your trunk. It’s how we can provide a 5 year warranty. MIPS is an attempt at addressing the design and material limitations of EPS foam which does not shear. The hexes in the Portola helmets are designed to shear (a hex structure inherently requires less force to deform at an angle than head on) for oblique impacts so MIPS becomes redundant and adds additional weight. We need to work on explaining this better and more data to come but always happy to discuss (contact info at KAVsports.com, DM on IG, etc).