Kali Maya Helmet - Review

Jan 22, 2015 at 1:17
by Richard Cunningham  

Kali Maya Half Shell helmet 2015

Kali Protectives is as well known for pushing the boundaries of helmet technology as it is for pasting its lids with wild graphics. Anyone who has worn a Kali helmet will attest to its light weight, excellent ventilation, comfortable fit, and certified protective qualities - but if we all took lie detector tests and were asked if we loved Kali's graphics the results would be, um, not as complimentary as the Central California company would like them to be.

Founder Brad Waldron got the memo and vowed to set Kali back on course, beginning with a new design philosophy that included minimal graphic treatments and modern, less-complicated venting strategies and shell profiles. The first helmet to emerge from Kali's new design studio is the Maya, a sharp-looking extended coverage half shell that was first seen in prototype form in spring of 2014. Pinkbike received one of the first production Mayas this past December for a full review and we soon discovered that there was much more to the Maya than fresh looks. The short version is that the Maya helmet is an "enduro style" half shell, featuring Kali's in-molded Composite Fusion Plus dual-density EPS liner; screened, antimicrobial padding; and a 12-vent strategy that emphasizes evacuating hot air from the rear of the helmet. Maya helmets pass CPSC certification and weigh a reported 350 grams. Its impact-resistant visor has an integrated light and POV camera mount and it is also angle-adjustable. Colors are matte black, matte blue, and white with a black stripe. The MSRP is an affordable, $99 USD.

Maya Helmet Details:

• Purpose: AM/trail riding
• Construction: maximum coverage half-shell design. In-molded "Composite Fusion Plus" liner incorporates cone shaped multi-density EPS foam.
• Break resistant FlexyBill™ visor
• Integrated camera/light Mount.
• Antimicrobial liner with integrated bug netting
• Seven rear-facing vents to evacuate heat, Five forward facing.
• Dual Closure Fit System with auto-height adjust.
• Sizes: Small/medium, medium/large
• Colors: Matte black, EnduroBro blue, and Duo white/black
• Claimed weight: 350 grams
• MSRP: $99 USD
• Contact: Kali Protectives

Kali Maya integrated camera mount 2015


Kali uses an in-molded shell, which means that there are no gaps between the Maya's shell and its dual-density EPS liner. The primary advantage of in-molded construction is that the helmet starts absorbing impact forces at the moment of touchdown. Kali calls its latest dual-density liner Composite Fusion Plus, which refers to a layer of cone-shaped spikes that are molded into a second, softer-density EPS foam. The spikes, according to Kali, tend to spread impact forces laterally through the shell, directing the impact away from the skull. Together, in-molding and Composite Fusion Plus allow Kali to shrink the overall size of the helmet without compromising impact survivability. The Maya is surprisingly slim when compared to the most popular extended coverage lids sold in the US and Europe.

Kali Maya Half Shell helmet 2015
Looking at the front of the Maya, its clean lines are broken only by its five air intake ports and the exposed POV camera mount on the visor
Kali Maya Half Shell helmet 2015
The exhaust vents are much more substantial. Kali retains its twin head-band adjustment, although its mechanism has been updated.

Additional protection is afforded by the use of the lightest density EPS liner that Kali has featured in a helmet. According to Kali, most helmets use EPS liners with densities in the neighborhood of 100 to 120 grams per cubic liter. The Maya's liner is only 70 grams per cubic liter. Softer, lighter-density liners, says Kali, offer more protection and can suck up larger hits. Soft liners, however, normally need to be thicker which adds volume to the helmet. Once again, Composite Fusion Plus is the key design element that keeps the Maya slim and trim.

Rather than place a camera/light mount on the helmet shell, where it has the potential to aggravate rotational impact forces, Kali molds a quick release mount to the Maya's adjustable visor. Presently, the bayonet device adapts to GoPro and Contour POV cameras, and Light and Motion lighting systems. The "FlexyBill" visor is molded from a tough, flexible material to ensure that it can survive a few crashes.

Notable details include a dual-retention system that is designed to self-adjust for height; large plastic tension dials for the visor that can be turned with gloved hands; and a removable, screened padding system that is antimicrobial (I think that is Latin for "stink resistant") and machine washable. Flip-up locks at both cheek pieces and also at the buckle make for easy and secure chin-strap adjustments.

Ride Report

The Maya fits slightly oval shaped heads very well and its chin-strap system required less fussing than most lids I have worn recently. The feel is feather light and its ventilation, while it feels like it runs cooler than all of the half-shell enduro style helmets I have used over the past two seasons, it is still slightly warmer than a top XC lid like Kali's Maraka XC helmet, which has been my favorite for long XC trail days during the summer months. I had chances to ride the Maya in both chilly and warm weather, and its temperature range was comfortable from around five to thirty degrees (40 to 89 F). The visor sits high enough to provide a good line of sight around corners and still low enough to ward off the sun's rays when riding west in the late afternoon.

For those inclined, the Maya works well with normal sized goggles, although the rear of the helmet lacks a well-defined to track to run the strap around. That is not a big issue, but if you are in a hurry to get rolling, you may have to feel around a bit to get the strap in place.

Kali's head band system is a good match for the shape of the helmet. It required minimal tension to keep it from wiggling around in the rough stuff and I did not notice any pressure points. I did not perceive any special self-adjusting height action, but I didn't have any need to adjust it for height either. Normally, I have to raise the bands in the rear of extended coverage style helmets to prevent them from riding too low on my forehead.

The padded liner is a step up for Kali's half-shell range, with a nice sweat band integrated into the forehead area. The rear is almost devoid of any padding, presumably, to clear the ventilation channels that direct heated air to the rear vents, but there is no sense that anything is missing back there while the helmet is being worn.

My only complaints about the newest helmet from Kali are minor cosmetic ones. I didn't get a chance to throw a light or a camera on the Maya, so the mounting base was a minor eyesore. I would prefer that the helmet came with a small Kali logo badge that snapped into place to cover the mount when not in use. The visor mount is the only feature that breaks the Maya's pleasing shape. I also think that aluminum tension screws on the visor would give it a more finished look.

Kali Maya Composite Fusion Plus liner 2015
Composite Fusion Plus is a dual-density EPS foam liner that combines a low-density inner layer, molded into Kali's triangular-spiked outer layer

Kali Maya Half Shell helmet 2015
The EPS liner is molded inside of its wrap-around shell, giving the helmet a well-finished look. The mesh padding keeps six-legged friends outside while air is flowing into the deeply grooved shell.

Kali Maya Half Shell helmet 2015
The Maya has two more exhaust ports in the back than it has intake vents up front. The logic is that if cooling air has no place to escape, the helmet will be hot regardless of how many holes are in the front.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesKali's Maya has a lot going for it: contemporary lines, best-in-class comfort, it is very lightweight, and it is packed with all of the safety features that Kali is famous for. When one considers its 100-dollar sticker price, the Maya is also represents a good value in one of the pricier segments of the mountain bike helmet market. The Maya's matte finish and subdued graphics alone will win customers for Kali and we hope to see more of the same at their next rollout. As it stands, the Maya offers the extra protection that all-mountain riders want, with the ventilation and feel that is akin to a well fitting XC helmet. The fact that it looks pretty damn good is icing on the cake. - RC

Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review.

Author Info:
RichardCunningham avatar

Member since Mar 23, 2011
974 articles

  • 88 16
 Even after all these years I still think GoPro's look stupid on top of helmets.
  • 55 135
flag epsteinisalive (Jan 22, 2015 at 21:06) (Below Threshold)
 That's funny because your mom liked my helmet mount last night
  • 36 5
 My point is that the other POV's on the market (sony, relay, contour, etc) actually look like they belong on a helmet. The GoPro looks like someone took a cheap point-shoot and put it in a case.

@MCMbiker I love a random "mom" joke but I didn't really follow that one. Can you try again?
  • 18 3
 That's what your mum said! :-P
  • 62 3
 mcmbiker show us the footage!
  • 8 1
 It does look funky on a helmet but Sony and Contour don't mount to your chest as well. I prefer that feel and look. I have gotten mine to give me decent picture when doing that.
  • 11 2
  • 9 13
flag EnduroManiac (Jan 23, 2015 at 1:52) (Below Threshold)
 Chest mount POV are not really convincing: you mostly see the handlebar and top tube. Plus if you crash on a flat surface the GoPro will nicely emulate a stone and ruin your ribs.
  • 20 0
 i never cared for how slow a helmet cam makes riders appear to be going. chest mount better shows how fast u are going because of having the cockpit in view for point of reference.
  • 4 3
 That's a good point.
  • 23 0
 It doesn't matter how skilled You are, You will always look like a clueless tourist...
  • 16 2
 One thing is to have a gopro on your helmet - another to be proud of it. I think this is what it comes down to. At the same time... Fk you Big Grin prectice wheelies on my way to/from work, right in the middle of the city. Then I put my daughter on the swing or into the sandbox while I ride around the playground, jump, hop in place on her balance bike. I don't give a F so much and care only about doing my thing, that don't really know how people look at me, if someone smiles or laughs at me, shakes his head or gets a grimace on his face. Fk you, I am really having fun Big Grin
  • 5 4
 His "your mom"joke made perfect sense to me
  • 2 2
 I think camera mounts on helmets are stupid. Any time you watch on-board footage it's WAAAAAAAYYYY less dramatic than it is in real life and usually pretty annoying to watch as the footage jostles around and is not steady. There's footy of TONS of pro's riding around with the helmet cams on and it gives absolutely no justice to what line /trail they did as you can't really scale it to anything. I mean even the canyon gap/backflip looks pretty unimpressive.....and that's about as extreme of footy as you can get.
  • 3 2
 I don't think you can give justice to a trail, it's like trying to share exactly what you experienced. This is the hoax of insta, blogging - If you experienced something awesome that left you terrified or stunned, you can't really express it because it is chemistry between you and circumstances, that will be different in every other arrangement. Share whatever you have and let people interpret it as they wish. Trying to show: oh look how gnarly it was - I made it, is ok for your close ones, but convincing whole world to the magnitude of your achievement is douchey. If you really do something remarkable, people will notice it with not much "proper" video job. Look at Remy Metaillier edit from Whistler.
  • 1 0
 I think the reason POV make people look like they are going slow is because they are going slow! I think the major draw back is your loss of perspective with regards to the trails features: steepness etc. This trail has an average gradient of 25%, but looks flat: www.pinkbike.com/video/394248
  • 1 0
 ^ That's what I was talking about. Video does that because you lose perspective that you get when actually being there. Ever have a friend take a video of you going down a trail or skiing/snowboarding? In person it feels like you're going damn near straight down, but on video it LOOKS flat. I've gone down some of the gnarlier stuff at Snowshoe and on video it was deeply depressing at how unimpressive it looked when I watched it. It didn't look fast or steep, despite my Garmin telling me I reached near 45 mph.
  • 3 1
 What I mean is that you should not give a sht if it looks gnarly or not. It should bring you memories, enjoy it. Look, I have that pic of me and my wife by a mountain lake from 15 years ago. I had an analog Russian camera with 50mm fixed lenses. Because of such a narrow FOV, you can't see much of the surroundings, and trust me that lake is freaking incredible. A woman who we asked to take the picture asked for one in return, she had a crappy small idiot-camera... With 28mm-70mm lenses. Tou could capture whole spectacular surrounding with it. I was like: oooooooh if I only had such FOV, our picture would be perfect! Well those were analog times, she couldn't shoot us with her cam post on insta, and tag us... But today when I look at the pic I don't care that it is so narrowed that ir could have been taken in the middle of the city, not high up in the mountains. I care for what it means to me, my clisest ones, not to my social media friends. In that way it really does not matter if it looks gnarly or not. Life is not a f*cking GoPro contest, there's way more to it than winning some dumb contest or getting ohs, ahs and wows
  • 29 4
 What is their logo? Mime, ninja, clown, the hamburglar? Some one please educate me.
  • 6 0
 Masquerade mask?
  • 18 1
 You are so brave to ask.
  • 4 0
 I think its a Japanese theatrical mask, or at least the top half of it.
  • 6 20
flag jedrzeja (Jan 22, 2015 at 22:25) (Below Threshold)
 Japanese? Why not Portugese, or Roman? I think it's like the psychological test of telling the doctor what can you see in the symetrical stains. It usually resembles nothing, indicates nothing and proves nothing.
  • 5 0
 Kabuki mask
  • 20 1
 The hash slinging slasher
  • 19 2
 Sounds like jedrzeja failed the doctor's tests....
  • 6 0
 Kali is a hindu goddess. I think its related with hindu symbolism or even the face of the goddess herself. my 2 cents
  • 14 1
 Its the Kali logo
  • 12 0
 Kali - indian goddess of death and destruction Wink
  • 3 46
flag jedrzeja (Jan 23, 2015 at 1:38) (Below Threshold)
 @EnduroManiac I've just visited your prophile. You're on Pinkibke since 2010 and you have posted nothing, but words of comments. No prohile photo, nor any photo, nor any video. Nothing. All of your comments were written in 2015. So I am quite sure you are either ashamed of who you are, or hiding something. It's almost sure you don't even have a bike and you're just trolling using multiple Pinkbike prophiles and all empty or fake. You think that you can hide behind your screen and insult others. Come here and speak it directly to my face. Otherwise I don't respect you at all. Riders meet here because of their passion and interest in the great topic. We try to keep the place respectfull. We don't want trolls who do nothing with their prophiles, say nothing about bikes and insult others. Please have some reflection and go away.
  • 29 3
 It was just a joke. Don't be that serious! You're a little creepy with your investigations. Plus the results are wrong: I've been posting for a while, not just this year. You just made yourself ridiculous really.
I have no bike? SC Nomad C of 2013 and a Commençal Supreme of 2011. Now that I have bikes do you feel better? Damn now I really believe you failed at these stupid tests for getting so aggressive about it. Have a nice day man.
  • 3 32
flag jedrzeja (Jan 23, 2015 at 2:29) (Below Threshold)
 OK You're so cool man. You're just more enduro specific.
  • 12 2
 Oh great! And Enduro specific joke! That was a long time... So what about the Supreme DH v3? Still enduro?
  • 27 2
 jedrzeja = "no fun since 1984"
  • 2 32
flag jedrzeja (Jan 23, 2015 at 2:37) (Below Threshold)
 It was a joke. Do be that serious! You've just made yourself really ridiculous. Have a nice day man.
  • 1 30
flag jedrzeja (Jan 23, 2015 at 2:41) (Below Threshold)
 @zede So you remember all of my life and behaviour, ever since 8 years before your date of birth?
  • 28 3
 And people say there's not enough girls in mountain biking. Quit bitchin
  • 11 3
 @jedrzeja It's you that's in the wrong here, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we're all on here because we love bikes. Just because not everyone posts pictures of themselves riding or their bikes, doesn't mean they don't 'deserve' to talk to you.
No need to make yourself look like an idiot by kicking up a fuss about some guy having a joke is there...
  • 7 2
 @jedrzeja @wreaman plus I found enduromaniac joke about you failing the "rorschach test" funny
(plus the irony, considering he has maniac in his username haha)
  • 5 2
  • 6 0
 Chill out man its friday after all tomorrow is the shred day Smile
  • 1 23
flag jedrzeja (Jan 23, 2015 at 6:13) (Below Threshold)
 Dear @EnduroManiac,
Dear @zede,
Dear @wreaman,
Dear @teamcliff,
Dear Friends! Thank you all for everything. Please tell me more how would you like me to behave?
I would seriously like to know what would you all expect me to do? There is no sarcasm in this, just tell me please.
I apologize @teamcliff in advance for all of spelling mistakes. Can you please help me with some more advice?
  • 7 0
At this point, I don't think they expect anything from you. Cheers! Wink
  • 13 5
 Last time I did Rorschach test I saw only tattoos that I'd like to see on naked chest of attractive psychologist who was analyzing me - I tried to be honest how I feel about her, what I'd like to do with her and she was just writing those things down and asking me for more descriptions. It was an incredible experience, tell a beatiful woman all my fantasies about her and she was asking me for more. But after half of an hour it got really weird, I wanted to see her raped by a pack of chimps led by an orangutang. Then she said it gets too personal and she does not want to cross professional borders. Then I got totaly hot and I told her I wanted to see her eating scrotum of Charlton Heston in Ben Hur, blood on her teeth. So she told me that she has never seen a patient who went so deep into his psyche and told me to watch it, because now that I know the deepest corners of the deepest chambers of my psyche and I must keep them at bay. She also told me that i was probably molested in a circus by a clown, the scene of charriots in Ben Hur must be connected with that. So I remembered everything, a clown raped me in a behind the stage where he had chimps in cages - so Jedrzeja don't fkng tell me that Rorschach test doesn't do anything!
  • 1 12
flag jedrzeja (Jan 23, 2015 at 11:01) (Below Threshold)
 I did a test here and now I know why many of my friends don't use Pinkbike anymore.
  • 7 1
  • 3 1
 @jedrzeja You are a tool. Keep peeping at profiles and f*ck off.
  • 2 0
 Waki im laughing so hard i have tears in my eyes! Thank you!
  • 2 1
 Sshredder - I'm glad to hear that. I am losing edge with commenting... I just comment on people commenting, freaking #rehash. I have to go back to the roots and start writing really weird sht like I did in high school. I need to unleash my deepest self on people.
  • 20 0
 How can you do a helmet review and not show a picture with it on someones head!
  • 20 4
 It wasn't that hard.
Check out the kali Video edit: www.pinkbike.com/news/video-kali-maya-2015.html
  • 2 0
 off subject slightly and I am sorry

above it is mentioned about lids riding too low on the forehead, I recently acquired the A1 TLD, is it just me that thinks its annoyingly low on the forehead and really frustrating?
is there an easy way to bring the front up a little?
  • 2 0
 More padding on the top front of the lid dude
  • 2 1
 And/or with light/camera mounted, as this has unique position!? Epic testing fail.
  • 5 1
 jmbrit^^^ Run the adjustable head band on the A-1 as high as it will go (there are, I think, five positions inside the shell) and the helmet should stay up on your forehead.
  • 7 0
 Batman's trail helmet of choice....to the EnduroBat....
  • 8 2
 Reminds me of Howard the Duck.
  • 4 1
  • 2 1
 thanks I learnt a word today Smile
  • 1 2
 Haha more like daffy duck to me
  • 6 1
 looks like my old giro semi
  • 1 0
 Ha, I was just about to say that. I love how all these companies make it seem as though this is a totally new helmet design and bill it as the all new "Enduro" helmet. I'm still rocking my Giro Semi from 2005 I believe. Back then it was a "Freeriders" half shell, the lighter cooler alternative to wearing your full face..

  • 2 0
 yup. l still use mine for riding in the winter and for night riding, just leave my light mount on it full time. too hot for summer use. good helmet though. still in great shape.
  • 2 0
 PS. after looking at your link, thank goodness l went with the matte black. haha
  • 1 0
 Ha, yah, same here!
  • 6 2
 But damn it was 99... Dollars But really, nice work Kali, a win in my books.
  • 5 0
 My sister is called Kali May. I shit you not.
  • 2 0
 So 100 dollars?
  • 5 0
 Better than Kali Mah. Might get her heart ripped out.
  • 2 1
 There is no mention of how this helmet fairs with glasses. In particular, holding one's glasses when they are not on your face. The Bell Super is benchmark for this having a perfect perch for them beneath the lid which easily articulates up to make room and securely hold them. I don't ride with goggles yet as for now I find glasses to be more convenient. I stopped using my POC because they did not hold glasses. Maybe this is a hold over from roadies, but it does help.
  • 6 2
 gopro/light mount is a really good idea as long as the mount is stable
  • 2 0
 Good idea, but It looks like it's a few inches off balance.
  • 5 1
 Wtf camera mounts on adjustable "flexy bill" so you can film your handle bars all day
  • 5 4
 The camera mount sits quite high on the visor where it does not affect the balance much, nor will it be bothered by the visor flexing.
  • 12 1
 How do you know without testing it?
  • 4 2
 @russthedog....nailed it.
  • 6 3
 I asked someone who did try it with a camera.
  • 1 1
 It would be cool if the helmet came with two visors...one without the mount...so if you never plan to use it that way, it would look aesthetically cleaner. But aside from that, this helmet looks really awesome. I'll pick one of these up to replace my usual go-to fox flux and see how it feels. And, kudos to Kali for listening and producing lower-key graphics compared to what they used to do.
  • 4 2
 I still think I'm right. It's McDonald's hamburglar. Grimace made a shitty logo.
  • 2 0
 One thing no one is talking about is the camera/light mount will break a way in a crash.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I was wondering about that. Bontrager has a similar setup on their new Lithos helmet, but the light/camera mounts on the main body of the helmet instead of the visor.
  • 2 2
 i don't think it has good vent as described in the review. Check MET, Giro or BELL this is superb ventilation and much better looking helmets for the same or lower price.
  • 2 2
 Good review but how is the helmet with a go-pro? Does it feel awkward? Does the video turn out well on a flexible visor?

  • 1 0
 reminds me of a flux except with a huge visor. wonder how POV would handle all that vibration
  • 3 1
 Kali is a Hindu goddess
  • 1 4
 it's good to have review of bikes, parts, protections, apparels and things.
but, nothing can excite me than news about Hill, Hart, RatBoy, DHI WC preparation, transfers and so. .. wait! where's WC rumors?

Thank you PB for your hard work and keeping us up to date.
  • 2 0
 Me likey.
  • 1 1
 How come they don't have an online option to buy it ? I´d love to order it!
  • 8 1
 Please order through your local bike shop.
  • 1 1
 @six66 You just gave me a google search link...
@seraph thanks!
  • 1 0
 anyone know where you can order one of these online?
  • 1 2
 Hmmm need new graphics- I know let's paint it black
  • 5 0
 Sounds like a safe bet.
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