Sports Helmet Holy Grail?

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

The certified multisport helmet has long been a Holy Grail in the outdoors world. KONG, an Italian company, comes close to making the perfect multi-use hard hat with its Scarab Helmet, a lid certified by various agencies as safe for mountaineering, cycling, water sports and equestrian activities.

The helmet is lightweight and durable. It weighs less than a pound and most resembles the helmet type a rock climber might wear. By working on a bike, in a kayak, or while rappelling a cliff, the Scarab can save a multi-sport athlete money by allowing for the purchase of just a single product where three or four items regularly are required.

KONG SCARAB HELMET.jpg

KONG Scarab Helmet

It costs about $150. In the Unites States, the Scarab is distributed by Liberty Mountain of Salt Lake City.

Overall, it is a fair deal if you consider one good helmet for cycling or climbing can cost $100 or more. But the trade off is in the Scarab’s functionality across the disciplines. For example, though it’s safe and certified to protect your head in a bike crash, the helmet will not fit or vent like a svelte Lazer or Giro, which are brands made only with bikers in mind.

In my tests, the Scarab was a good overall performer. It fits and feels most like a climbing helmet. But on a bike or in a boat, it’s easy to forget what helmet is on your head. Over two days, I rode more than 150 miles on a mountain bike in spring-like weather wearing this helmet. At no point did it feel compromising or too hot.

Road bikers and anyone riding in warmer climates might want more vents. The Scarab is not super aerodynamic. Riders looking to milk every advantage will want to go with the tool made just for the job.

But as a one-stop shop, the Scarab is commendable. It rides the line on performance, fit, safety, and functionality with aplomb — from the side of a mountain to the back of a horse.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

Posted by Mark Lattanzi - 04/23/2010 11:02 AM

I’ve owned one for years and love it. But unless things have changed, It is NOT certified as a biking helmet in the USA (but it is overseas). So, for racing (mtn bike, adventure racing), it typically will not meet the US safety certification requirements.

Posted by Brian Mullin - 04/23/2010 11:13 AM

Interesting. I like the idea. Looks like uvex might make their helmet for them? The end tab for the strap looks familiar?

Posted by Thomas Buell Jr. - 04/24/2010 06:42 AM

Kong says it’s certified for climbing, biking, paddling and horseback riding.

Posted by Kurt Huber - 05/06/2010 06:23 AM

Stephen, you should know better. Both Lazer and Giro makes helmets for sports other than bicycling. Maybe it would be better to say that Lazer’s and Giro’s bicycling helmets are much better at what they were designed for than KONG’s Scarab helmet is for bicycling.

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