Kali Debuts New Road Helmets, DOT-approved Carbon Full Face & More!

2014 Kali Protectives road and mountain bike helmets

Left to right: Viva, Loka, Phenom and Shiva.

Kali Protectives introduced four new helmets at PressCamp, two for road, one for dirt jump and general urban/park screwing around, plus an amazingly light carbon fiber full face helmet that’s DOT certified. As usual, the brand’s putting out top shelf tech and features at impressive prices…and they look good to boot.

Following the Maraka Road, which remains their top of the line model with a retail of $189, the new Phenom has a more pure road bike look and comes in at $149. It maintain the BumperFit memory foam on the interior, followed by the dual density, cone-shaped EPS layers that helps disperse impact forces. The cost savings comes from changes to the construction, namely the lack of carbon SuperVents and fewer SuperVents overall, and a simpler strap placement at the front. The Phenom’s front straps are mounted higher up inside the frame rather than at the bottom edge. In other words, it’s a very high end helmet with impressive safety features for a very reasonable price.

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Despite the lower price point, there are still touches of carbon fiber reinforcement on the front and top, between vents. Rear coverage drops pretty low.

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SuperVents are the reinforcement rings around the larger vents. These provide the structure necessary to allow narrower foam sections by spreading impact forces across a larger patch. The Phenom has five SuperVents: two on either side, one in front and two on the back.

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BumperFit is their softest foam, which will rebound (unlike EPS), and it’s placed across the brow and at all contact points on the top of your head. In the Maraka it’s yellow, here it’s a dark gray. For detail shots of the cone-shaped foam and that tech, check this post. You may notice that the Phenom was also pictured there…and in other spots on our site over the past year. Well, it’s finally in production.

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This one’s aM/L. Target weight for the S/M is about 260g.

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Not sold at $149? How ’bout the Loka at $99. It also gets the softer Bumper Fit foam and cone shaped layers, but it loses the SuperVent reinforcements. The latter means the vents are a bit smaller and the overall profile is a bit thicker and taller.

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One of the other reasons the other helmets cost more to make is the build process. They’re like puzzle pieces, with each segment of coned EPS being placed in separately, followed by the standard EPS, then the Bumper Fit foam. The polycarbonate shell and SuperVent pieces are the base inside the mold and everything else is placed and expanded/molded into it to create a solid, in-molded structure. While internal webbing reinforcements are touted as premium features on other brands, the Maraka and Phenom intentionally avoid them because, in their opinion, it replaces foam that would otherwise be providing impact absorption.

But, with the Maraka taking 45 minutes to make two helmets and about 20 minutes for two Phenoms, that’s still fairly slow from a production standpoint. The Loka’s down to about 10 minutes per pair, and that’s because they did use a web.

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The outer cone shaped section is molded directly onto a web, making it a single piece that’s dropped into the mold rather than having to place individual sections into the shell. This saves time, which saves money.

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The result is a helmet that also comes in at about 260g for the S/M size, looks great and is easy on the pocketbook. Production versions will have an additional polycarbonate shell piece in-molded around the bottom section, so you won’t see very much foam from the side profile.

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On the flip side is the new Shiva. We showed you a sneak peek at Sea Otter, but now it’s about ready for production. This particular one is an 887g, DOT-approved test sample. Founder Brad Waldron says he’s going to stiffen up the sidewalls a bit, and the padding will change a bit from this one, all of which will push weight up to about 1,000g. But that’s still insanely light for a full face helmet, let alone a DOT-approved one (and CPSC) that could be used for motorcycling but with the low-volume shell of a mountain bike helmet. Retail is $449 and it’ll come with two sets of cheek pads and a replacement visor.

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It also gets Composite Fusion Three, which is a trigon-shaped (three-sided pyramid) “cone” pattern rather than the round cones in the others. Their tests show that it dissipates energy better, particularly important for the potentially higher impact of DH and freeride activities typical of those wearing full face helmets. Full face helmets have to pass a very different sort of intrusion test, which is why you don’t see massive vents on them, but this one adds as many as they can throughout the front and rear.

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Three shell sizes, each with two different thickness padsets, will be offered.

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For park, dirt jump and urban/freestyle riders, the new Viva provides deep protection with a super thin profile. It’s a fully in-molded, ABS-shelled helmet with their triple density foams. What this means in real world terms is that kids that bang their helmets around and dent the shells on the polycarbonate shelled models (which they also offer) won’t be able to dent this one. It’s a harder, more durable shell, which they can get away with because the more advanced, multi-layered EPS construction on the inside absorbs and spreads impact better.

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It maintains a lower profile by using a large patch of BumperFit at the crown, eliminating the need for internal padding. It looks good and fits really well, both of which means groms will be more likely to wear it than just hang it from their bars until they get outta sight of their parents.

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We also spotted this guy hiding behind a chair:

Kali Protectives prototype urban commuter helmet with retractable visor

It’s a prototype urban commuter helmet with retractable visor, primarily aimed at the European market where there are more e-bike riders. A clear visor retracts from behind the facade, and the whole thing maintains a slim profile. It’s still in design development -this one’s a clay model- but they’re hoping to have something real to show by end of year.

Comments

Honeybear - 06/18/13 - 10:17am

Kali as a company is such a breath of fresh air in an industry that seems driven by extremely expensive gear, nice to know they could charge a ‘premium’ price but choose not to. Chapeau, Kali Protectives!

ant1 - 06/18/13 - 11:39am

the kali maraka should have just been called the kali ma.

Robo - 06/18/13 - 2:16pm

Spoke with their rep a lot last week. I really like that their goals aren’t centered around weight or aerodynamics, but safety. They’re actually trying to make a safer hemlet. Good on ‘em! I jsut may switch when my current helmet comes due for replacement at the end of next season….

Ventruck - 06/18/13 - 10:02pm

Been waiting for the Phenom forever. iirc it was speculated to be ~$200 earlier. Great news. Heavy-ish but the emphasis on safety, and the fact that it looks good wins me over.

bosbik - 01/02/14 - 11:47pm

any idea if the kali loka is already out in the market?

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