Kav introduces a color exploration program, and I get sized for a custom 3D printed helmet – Sea Otter Classic 2023

Kav introduces a color exploration program, and I get sized for a custom 3D printed helmet – Sea Otter Classic 2023

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3D printing has shown up more and more in the cycling world. Kav Sports has led the charge on 3D printed bike helmets, using a nylon-based and carbon-reinforced thermoplastic leading to custom-fit helmets. I got a chance to go through their fitting process at their booth at the 2023 Sea Otter Classic.

Kav invited me to check out their updated helmet called the Kav Portola: Kaze as well as their new range of 3D-printed color options. I also went through the sizing process where they took a range of measurements for what will ultimately become a custom-made helmet for my head.

Their Color Exploration Program is expected to launch later this year. Stay tuned for a full review of the Portola: Kaze helmet, which the brand says offers better ventilation, adjustable straps, and a new sweat management system James Huang recommended in our review of the Kav Portola helmet.

Walk to Kav’s booth at the Sea Otter Classic and you’re greeted by the company’s new color customization program. (Photo: Alvin Holbrook/CyclingTips)
Kav Portola Kaze helmet in green sage
I’m a sucker for sage green, what can I say? (Photo: Alvin Holbrook/CyclingTips)

Kav claims better ventilation thanks to front vents that are 17 percent larger than the standard Portola helmet. I’ll be able to put that to the test in the hot and humid central Texas summer once I get one in. (Photo: Alvin Holbrook/CyclingTips)

Kav Portola Kaze helmet interior updated ventilation
The Kav Portola Kaze helmet receives what looks almost like a sweat gutter that the brand says is partially responsible for the Portola Kaze’s improved ventilation. And while it doesn’t look as inviting as a set of pads in a standard helmet, the Portola Kaze felt very comfortable, even if the one I tried wasn’t custom-designed for my head. (Photo: Alvin Holbrook/CyclingTips)

Kav Portola Kaze helmet detail.
Kav’s helmets use a honeycomb-like structure that the brand says absorbs energy in an impact. The concept isn’t dissimilar to Smith’s Koroyd usage or Lazer’s Kineticore designs that eschew an independent slip plane like MIPS for sheer material deformation. (Photo: Alvin Holbrook/CyclingTips)

Layer lines that are more or less an inevitable part of the printing process because of the sheer number of layers necessary to build a vast majority of 3D-printed products. Kav’s helmets, or at least the ones on display, were well finished with overall tight panel gaps and smooth finishes. (Photo: Alvin Holbrook/CyclingTips)

Kav Portola Kaze helmet sizing information
The sizing process was quick and painless, despite the somewhat intimidating-looking calipers. Measurements taken included head circumference, length, width, brow width, and a few others. Kav also offers a free custom fit kit they can send to your home. (Photo: Alvin Holbrook/CyclingTips)

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