Kask Mojito3 helmet review: A modern redo of a long-standing fan favorite

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The midrange Mojito isn’t the flashiest model in the Kask helmet range, but it’s arguably the company’s most important with nearly a million samples sold since its original debut and a fervently loyal following. Kask obviously has a lot riding on the new Mojito3 model that replaces the modestly updated Mojito X, but fans shouldn’t worry too much. The Mojito3 still has room for improvement; however, it’s nonetheless a very good helmet that should weather the next decade pretty well.


Messing with success

Kask says the Mojito3 preserves much of the design philosophy of its predecessor, but any resemblance is likely to only be readily recognized if you spent a few years in art school. The old Mojito very much adhered to the aesthetic of the time, with lots of busy shaping seemingly inspired by Japanese anime hairstyles, and an upturned tail that undoubtedly was meant to conjure images of fast Italian sports cars.

There’s still a bit of vestigial tail on the Mojito3, and the overall profile bears some resemblance as well, especially at the very forward lower edge. However, the rest of the surfacing is far cleaner and sleeker, with tidier and straighter lines more in keeping with modern aesthetics. Combined with the rather compact profile, few will argue it’s not a good-looking lid.

The subtle tail and characteristic shaping of the forward edge of the helmet are definitely carryover Mojito features.

Kask has dramatically altered the inside of the helmet, too, with deeper and more comprehensive channeling, as well as straighter paths for air to flow through from front to rear. Kask claims a cooling improvement of 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) when a rider is moving at 18 km/h (11 mph), and 1 °C (1.8 °F) at 36 km/h (22 mph), as well as more uniform cooling across the top of the rider’s head relative to the Mojito3’s predecessor.

The other major update comes in the form of additional protection. According to Kask, the Mojito3 offers a “32% improvement over Mojito X for rear impact, up to 25% better in frontal impact, and 12% improvement for top impact.”

Other updates include Kask’s latest Octo Fit adjustable retention system and one-piece Blue Tech padding. There’s also a winter padding kit available with built-in ear flaps, too.

The Octo Fit retention system is very comfortable and easy to adjust. It also holds reassuringly firm, especially when lowered further down on your head.

Kask offers the Mojito3 in five glossy colors and one matte one, each in three sizes, all with a retail price of US$199 / AU$249 / £130 / €134 (plus a small upcharge for the matte model).

Actual weight for my medium-sized, CPSC-approved sample is 278 grams.

The start of another decade-long run?

I should preface my review of the Mojito3 by admitting that I never actually tried the previous version, and so I’m evaluating this new model purely on its own merits, not relative to any improvements, downgrades, or general changes from its predecessor.

With that said, one of the positive things owners of earlier Mojito models often cite is that helmet’s overall comfort, and this Mojito3 sure seems to continue carrying that torch. The padding is notably soft with generous coverage and there’s lots of adjustability available in the retention system — including the ability to independently move the two occipital pads left and right for a better grip on your skull. Kask’s long-standing tradition of using a section of faux leather under the chin is here as well, and while it’s not universally loved, I found the texture to be so agreeable that I found myself wishing more companies followed suit.

The faux leather chin strap was very comfortable against my skin, although it’s worth noting that not everyone seems to feel the same way about this feature.

As for the overall shape, it’s a bit more on the ovoid end of the round-versus-oval spectrum, although not as extreme as Specialized, so it should be more accommodating of a greater percentage of users.

Ventilation performance is very good in general, with the new model’s deeper internal channeling and straighter flow paths providing ample air movement throughout the interior of the helmet most of the time, including along the sides of the helmet, which is where many helmets fall short.

“We can see [from in-house testing] that even if Mojito X is more open in the front area, the air does not get out,” said Kask sales and marketing director Alberto Fonte. “The internal flow on Mojito3 is more uniform and helps to dissipate more heat.”

Sweat is managed surprisingly well, too.

One of my all-time favorite helmets in this regard is the Bell Zephyr/Z20, which features a small tab in the browpad that wraps around the lower edge of the helmet. Perspiration collects at this lowest point of the browpad, where it eventually drips down harmlessly in front of your face instead of down into your sunglass lenses.

The Kask Mojito3’s browpad also has a tabbed extension, but it doesn’t wrap around the lower edge of the helmet like on the Bell. Instead, I found that sweat moves from there to the helmet’s beak-like forward edge and then drips down from there. There are also tabs on the outer edges as well.

Surprisingly, the shaping of the lower forward edge of the Mojito3 also helps with sweat management. Instead of flowing down into your sunglasses, excess perspiration tends to travel further forward to the “beak” of the lower helmet shell, where it can then drip harmlessly out in front of your face.

There are limits to how well this works, of course. While the Mojito3 seems to move perspiration in a similar fashion to the Bell, it doesn’t do so as efficiently, and heavy sweaters are still likely to overwhelm the mechanism on particularly hot days. And although the ventilation performance of the Mojito3 is very good when moving at reasonable speeds, there isn’t as much open area on top of the helmets as I’d like on slower climbs so you’re likely sweating a little more than you would in an airier helmet to begin with. Without air being forcibly pushed into the forward vents, hot air underneath the helmet doesn’t have as much freedom to exit.

In those situations, riders are likely to want to ditch their sunglasses entirely, and Kask has thankfully positioned the forward vents of the Mojito3 so you can more easily stuff your eyewear in there (a common complaint of the previous version). It would have been nice to see some gripper material on the edges of the vents, though, as those stashed sunglasses also have an annoying tendency to slide out if you dip your head.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to have sunglasses on your face when wearing the Mojito3, either. The ear stems of every set of eyewear I tried — the Roka Matador being one notable exception — overlapped with the lower edge of the Octo Fit retention system, forcing me to tuck the arms underneath to keep the glasses from persistently slipping. Raising the retention system to its highest position helped, but it didn’t eliminate the issue completely, and also compromised my ideal helmet fit to boot.

The Octo Fit retention system unfortunately tends to interfere with sunglass arms, too. In this day and age, this simply shouldn’t still be an issue.

Adding insult to injury, the rudimentary indexing mechanism that Kask uses to adjust the height of the Octo Fit retention system is so stubbornly opposed to holding its position that I needed to readjust it each and every time I put the Mojito3 on. That oversight isn’t quite a deal breaker, but it certainly was annoying.

One hurdle that some potential buyers might not be able to get past is the absence of a MIPS-equipped version of the Mojito3. In fact, Kask still doesn’t seem to believe in the benefit of MIPS (or similar low-friction technologies) in general, as it actually isn’t available in any of its bicycle helmet models.

“To date, Kask does not believe in MIPS technology,” Fonte explained. “In short, the different test methods used today to show the performances of rotational impact technologies all use headforms (the Hybrid III) whose coefficient of friction is much higher than a real human head. In fact, for this reason, no regulatory body has created standards including this type of test. CEN TC158/ WG11 is re-writing a norm on headforms and test methods, and within this group, there is a hot debate on the coefficient of friction.”

Flow-through ventilation is very good on the Mojito3, thanks to deeper internal channeling and straighter paths for the incoming air to then exit out the back.

In fairness to Kask, the company is correct that there isn’t universal acceptance of the benefits of a rotational device with respect to traumatic brain injuries. However, there also don’t seem to exist any studies that show such devices to be harmful, but plenty that suggest they improve safety, at least to some extent. Notably, Virginia Tech’s latest bicycle helmet test results include just one Kask model – the flagship Valegro – which earned a middling three-star (out of a possible five) rating.

Perhaps most importantly, the perception among much of the buying public is that MIPS and similar devices are considered a must-have, so Kask’s persistent resistance to adopting it comes across as more than a little curious.

A changing market

Overall, Kask has done a pretty admirable job with the new Mojito3: it looks good, it’s comfortable, it’s decently light, it’s generally well ventilated, and it’s supposedly provides more protection than its predecessor, all at a competitive price point.

But is that enough these days? I’m honestly not sure.

While the traditional performance metrics for helmets are still important, safety continues to move progressively higher on people’s lists of requirements. Kask has a point when it comes to some continuing uncertainty with regards to MIPS and similar devices. However, even if interested parties are able to look past the Mojito3’s shortcomings, not offering the helmet with MIPS will be a dealbreaker for more than a few buyers.

No doubt, the Mojito3 is a pretty good helmet overall; whether that’s still good enough is a question the public will ultimately answer.

www.kask.com

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