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When I first tried on the KASK K.50 MTB helmet, I couldn’t help but think it was like a glove for my head. By that, I mean it only took a quick adjustment to get a really good fit, which doesn’t always happen with cycling helmets. And considering how many lids I’ve owned in 30+ years of cycling, as well as all the ones I’ve tried at Interbike, the bike shop I worked at, and all the shops I’ve visited over the years, I’m comfortable stating that I’ve experienced a few more than the average cyclist.
Of course, not everyone has the same size and shape noggin as I do, so your results may vary. But the KASK K.50 MTB helmet certainly has a lot going for it. First and foremost is the Up ‘N Down system for sizing adjustment. This is comprised of two components. The most obvious is the wheel for tightening or loosening the fit. Less obvious, but equally important for comfort and safety, are the hinges on either side that allow for a very natural up and down adjustment. Together, they allow the helmet to fit snugly and evenly across the back of your skull. Even pressure means no hot spots, and no slippage. KASK didn’t stop there though. All the pads are constructed from two layers of washable and antimicrobial CoolMax, used for its excellent wicking properties. That’s appreciated during the hot and sweaty summer.
The rest of the helmet is pretty standard, with 24 vents and a polycarbonate outer shell molded to an inner polystyrene structure. Being designed and manufactured entirely in Italy, the lines seem a little sharper, and the styling a bit more crisp. And you can get the KASK K.50 in any color you want, as long as it’s matte black. Many riders seem split on that one – white may be cooler (temperature-wise), but matte black cycling gear is edgier, and has been popular enough that I wouldn’t consider it merely a trend. None of that matters as much as comfort though, as the real test is how it feels after a few hours on your head. So I took it for a couple of test rides.
All those vents really make a difference in the heat. They KASK K.50 is not only cooler than my current helmet, but about 30 grams lighter. I’m too big to count grams on my bike, but on my head, that’s noticeable. Despite the usual moody Utah weather, which went from sunny to snowing in the same day, I found that the winter cap KASK included wasn’t needed just yet. So I left it out, and will do a follow-up once it gets colder. If there’s one thing I’m undecided about, it’s the visor. It has two plastic screws per side, for a bit of adjustability. I actually prefer a cheaper velcro mount, which comes off easily upon rough contact with low branches. I’d hate to see the helmet get damaged in that situation. (KASK does offer replacement visors though) I also mounted a small light on the helmet, using a velcro strap, and it held in place nicely. With all those vents, I was initially hesitant about snugging it down too much, but that turned out to not be an issue.
There’s no question that better venting and lighter weight cost more money, and the MSRP of $149.95 is not for everyone. Whether or not that’s in your budget is a decision only you can make. But if you’re not happy with the fit of your current helmet, or happen to be shopping for a new one, the KASK K.50 is certainly worth a look. Trying one out at a local shop won’t cost you anything, and you can see for yourself how easy it is to adjust for that perfect fit. Use their handy dealer locator, which can be found at kaskhelmets.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the KASK K.50 helmet for free from KASK, in consideration for review publication