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Kask eyes MTB market, develops helmet for Asian head sizes

Published March 19, 2015
Kask general manager Diego Zambon and sales manager Ylenia Battistello

TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Kask, the Italian helmet company, will soon boost its presence in the mountain bike market, showing off samples of a new helmet at Sea Otter. 

This will be the company’s first appearance as an exhibitor at the April 16-19 event at Laguna Seca Raceway. Diego Zambon, the company’s general manager, said the off-road market is a new category for the company founded in 2004.

Currently, Highway Two, with sales and service in Aliso Viejo, Calif., distributes Kask as well as brands like Continental, Crankbrothers and others. Currently, about 600 dealers in the U.S. sell Kask, a relatively new brand that got wide publicity through its affiliation with Team Sky and Chris Froome, who wore a Kask as he won the 2013 Tour de France. It’s important for consumers to see the company’s helmets as it grows its presence in the U.S. market, and Sea Otter is the biggest consumer event on the U.S. cycling calendar, Zambon said.

While consumers will have a chance to demo Kask’s road helmets, the new mountain bike helmets won’t be available until later in the season.

Besides its move into the mountain bike category, Kask’s Ylenia Battistello, the company’s sales manager, said the company also developed a new helmet for the Asian market to better meet consumer demand.

Kask technicians developed the helmet after a 12-month study of statistics on head sizes and shapes in Asia. Kask, now in its second year as an exhibitor at Taipei Cycle, found that many potential Asian customers were difficult to fit with traditional Kask helmets. 

“We worked with our R&D department to take measurements all over Asia, focusing on Japan, China, Korea and Thailand to better understand the normal distribution and the populations’ standard deviation for head size and shape,” said Battistello.  

What they found was that Asians, in general, have larger and more rounded heads, while Europeans have head shapes that tend to be longer and narrow, she said.

“We then created a range of designs and worked with our local distribution partners to test these over many months, constantly refining them to make them as comfortable and well-fitting as possible,” she said.

The helmet, a variant of its popular Mojito vented helmet, can accommodate head sizes up to 64 centimeters in diameter. While the decision to make the new Mojito was driven by research in Asia, the new helmet will be available worldwide. 

“If you looked at a group ride in the U.S. or Europe a few years ago, you would have seen very little diversity among riders,” she said. That is changing as a greater diversity of people start riding bikes.

 

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