Filippo Ganna and the INEOS Grenadiers give us a sneak peek at the next generation reshaping of the Kask Utopia aero road helmet. Its secret to more speed appears to be more coverage. Less extra coverage for extra coverage for improved safety. But instead, a cowl that smooths airflow over the rider’s ears, plus reshaped intake & exhaust vents….
Sneak Peek: New Kask Utopia aero road helmet, coming soon
Kask has not yet given us any new information about a design reboot to their top-tier Utopia aero road helmet. In fact, they just updated the classic Utopia Y last spring, after half a decade of pro racing.
But the INEOS Grenadiers team has been prominently showing off an all-new iteration of the aerodynamic lid across social media since they unveiled their new colors on January 1st. And the differences are quite extreme.
Most notably, ear cowls.
What’s new? And is it really a new Utopia?
Officially we don’t know for sure that the new aero road helmet will retain the Kask Utopia name, quite possibly not. But the overall profile – both from directly in front or the side – is similar enough, that I could go out on a limb and predict it will be still be a Utopia, maybe with a different letter tacked on the end.
Think Utopia X, maybe?
Minor update: The Bike Rumor now suggests that it won’t officially be a Utopia Y evolution, so your guess is as good as mine.
What Kask changed are: upgraded aerodynamics and smaller external vents. The new standout feature is a small fairing that drops down a bit at the sides to cover the top of the rider’s ears. Presumably, the goal like on their Bambino Pro TT helmet is to smooth airflow off the cyclist’s face or sunglasses, as it passes your bumpy ears. Interestingly, SunGod eyewear sponsor INEOS, not Kask’s own KOO. So perhaps KOO will also debut special sunglasses designed for even smoother aerodynamics.
Looking at the various positioning on a few of the team riders’ heads, those with a closer fit of the helmet appear to have this cowl pressing their ears a bit back against their heads. While riders that might have sized up on their helmet seem to have more room for their ears.
We’ll certainly be curious to see how comfortable this is. And how big the aero gains are, once the helmet officially launches.
What else do we know?
The ear covers are the most striking change. But Kask really completely changed the vent layout, as well.
The 3 lower front-facing vents are mostly unchanged. But Kask shifted the top vent further forward. And they completely removed the 2 upper side vents. This completely shales up Kask’s ‘Hyvent’ concept. But presumably means much smoother aerodynamics, especially as the rider changes head position.
At the back, there is still a sharp pointed tail. But now unsurprisingly, the 3 rear exhaust vents have been pinched down to a much smaller height, matching the reduced intake vent area on the front. Kask currently rates the Utopia Y as 4/5 for ventilation. We’d guess this new one is more like a 3/5.
The INEOS team are also seen in the fully-vented all-rounder Elemento which debuted last summer promising maximum aero benefits and 5/5 ventilation. We also just so happened to publish a full review of that lid today, as well.
From a final details and safety point of view, this new version of the Utopia still uses a similar 2-piece in-mold construction like the current helmet. And it looks like the same adjustable Octofit+ dial retention. And there’s a round red WG11 sticker on the back. So it meets Kask’s own rotational impact protection standard, too.
How soon is coming soon for a new Kask Utopia?
As for when it will be available, how light it will be, or how much it will cost? We don’t have any concrete data.
We’ve reached out to Kask for comment, and will update here once we hear back in more detail.
Update: “The helmet certain INEOS Grenadiers riders have been wearing since the start of the year is one which KASK is developing in partnership with the team. We will have more news to share about this helmet in due course.”
And word on the street is that it will actually get an all-new name, too.