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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
|Kali'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|
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