We admit that we give an automatic benefit of the doubt to any products that Team Sky rides with. And really, why wouldn’t we? Considering the scientific approach Sky uses to continually be one of, if not the, team in professional cycling, it is a fair and valid assumption that if Team Sky is willing to race with it, it must be good. In fact, when we heard Stages was working with Team Sky, our impression of Stages went up a notch or two. And it’s for this same reason that we were so excited to get a Kask Infinity in house for review.
The Kask Infinity
The Infinity is Kask’s top-of-the-line aero road lid. While Kask has introduced the Protone as a more balanced option, the Infinity is intended for those looking for just that little bit of extra speed—while paying for it with some heat retention. (Think Giro Synthe versus Air Attack.) The Infinity is designed to be simply the fastest road helmet that Kask could make.
To achieve that goal, Kask chose an active aero design for the Infinity. This allows the Infinity to be as aero as possible when you need it to, but ventilated when you don’t. At the front of the helmet you’ll find a large vent that can be easily opened or closed via a sliding panel. When the vent is closed the Infinity is at its most aerodynamic state. Open the vent and you will quickly notice how much air starts moving across the top of your head.
To keep the Infinity securely strapped to your noggin, Kask started with a rubberized Micro Dial adjuster that provides improved finger grip compared to their previous options. Floating cradle contact points combine internal gel pads for optimum comfort. These supports are designed to oscillate freely through 180°, allowing for a perfect fit on any head shape.
The Skeletal Brackets of the cradle have been designed and refined to provide the best fit and support while remaining as light as possible. Under your chin is an eco-leather chinstrap. The hypoallergenic, washable chinstrap is extremely comfortable and helps to avoid skin irritation.
When it comes to aero road helmets, our two main concerns are comfort and aero. It’s easy to forget when shopping around, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how aero a helmet is if you can’t stand riding with it for hours on end. Wee were quickly sold on just how comfortable the Infinity was after just one ride, and our opinions never changed even after a few more months of long rides.
The helmet “floats” just off your head thanks to the internal cradle, which holds it securely without putting the squeeze on your head. Rotary dials have become commonplace on helmets, but the Infinity’s stands out. It’s large enough to be easily adjusted with gloved fingers, yet also allows for minute adjustments for that perfect fit.
The chinstrap sits comfortably and securely under your chin. The leather material is a much more pleasant experience versus many of the other nylon options out there.
When the vents were open, we found the Kask to be just as comfortable as any helmet on the market. Air easily flows over you head to keep you cool. Close the vents and you immediately notice the lack of airflow. Although keep in mind that the lack of air is still not nearly as noticeable as you’ll experience with a true dedicated TT helmet. This is thanks to the two small vents that sit just above your face, which still provide a fair amount of ventilation.
The one thing we did notice, however, was that the Infinity felt a touch bulky and heavy. Our size large Infinity weighed in at 396g, which is quite a bit heavier than the size medium Air Attack (yes, we know its not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison) that weighed in at 352g. It was also a bit heavier than the size medium Ballista we just reviewed, which weighed 272g. But even more so than the weight, the Infinity just felt bulky.
The question of aerodynamics is a little trickier for the Infinity. Unfortunately Kask did not have any data that they could share with us, so initially we were left to depend on our own conclusions. Fortunately for us, this month VeloNews put the Infinity in the A2 tunnel with the Specialized Evade and Giro Air Attack. The results surprised us – not because the Infinity (with the vent closed) won, but by how much. VeloNews reported that when compared to a Giro Aeon, the Infinity (vent closed) would save 48g of drag, the Evade 29g and the Air Attack 19g. (If you opened the vent on the Infinity the savings drops to just 10g).
One word of caution is that unfortunately we do not know the full VeloNews testing criteria – specifically the wind speed and head angles tested. Also VeloNews says that each helmet was tested “on an actual human. Testing with a person is difficult, as small changes in body position can have a dramatic impact on the results. The solution is to conduct multiple test runs, removing outliers. The engineers at A2 are confident that the data presented here is an accurate representation of the aerodynamic efficiency of each helmet.” You can read the full details at http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/10/bikes-and-tech/head-first-do-aero-helmets-make-a-difference_388335.
At $369 the Infinity is certainly not a cheap proposition. But for that price you are getting a helmet that, with the vents closed, may be one of the fastest options on the market. And of course with the vents open, it’s still a comfortable, every day riding companion. In fact, most of our rides were completed with the vents open, but any time we had to pull or sprint, we shut the vents for that extra edge. So for those rides where you need the best of both worlds—the fastest helmet you can get and something to keep you comfortable sitting in the peloton—the Infinity could be just what you’re looking for. That’s really the beauty of the Infinity and its active aerodynamics – speed when you need it, and extra cooling when you don’t.