Kali Protectives Maya Mountain Bike Helmet Review

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Every now and then when I’m reviewing a product, it instantaneously feels so natural and simply works so well that I immediately incorporate it as a permanent fixture in my gear use patterns. From the moment the Kali Protectives Maya helmet showed up on my doorstep, it immediately became my go-to mountain bike helmet for almost any kind of ride.

Specs

The Kali is an enduro-style helmet that features plenty of back and side protection, but unlike other popular enduro helmets on the market, it’s not nearly as bulky or large. Instead, the helmet hugs close to the head and features a very low volume, without sacrificing protection.

This low volume, and consequently light weight (measured at 390g, including crusty salt deposits and flecks of mud; claimed weight is 350g) is a result of Kali’s proprietary Composite Fusion technology. I’ll let Kali explain the tech to you, in their own words:

Our patented COMPOSITE FUSION™ technology incorporates the EPS foam as an integral part of the shell. Instead of creating two separate pieces we directly fuse the EPS foam to the exterior shell (no spot glue or tape is needed!). Through this process we have found that not only is the force to your head reduced upon impact, but it also creates a significantly lighter product.
The introduction of COMPOSITE FUSION™ Plus, expanded this revolutionary construction through the incorporation of pyramid shapes and different foam densities. With this construction, energy is directed laterally as the pyramids collapse rather than linearly downwards. This spreads the impact over an even greater area and allows us to use lower density (softer) foam closest to your head; right where you want it.
Building on the success of Plus, COMPOSITE FUSION™ Three further utilizes a layer of small profile triangular structures inside the EPS foams to mitigate impact energy in a prescribed direction. The goal of this redirection of energy is to reduce the impact force to the head, and to send these energies in a direction where more available EPS foam is present. We look forward to the opportunity to prove that Kali Protectives strives to be the leader in body protection. Testing and retesting is a vital part of our development cycle and we use the data from our test labs not simply to “pass safety checks”, but to develop and refine our products. We also rely on a dedicated team of riders who put our gear through the harshest real world conditions. Our company is built of riders; this is a never-ending process that we are all passionate about.

All I know is that this makes for a safe, low-profile, lightweight helmet that’s consequently insanely comfortable to wear.

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In addition to the construction, other key features include 12 vents, an adjustable visor, antimicrobial liner with mesh bug shield, dual adjustable closure system in the rear, and an integrated camera/light mount on the visor.

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I’ve been in search of an integrated mount for years, and it’s great to finally see companies starting to deliver! In theory, an integrated mount makes so much sense… keep reading to see how it performed.

Out on the Trail

As I mentioned above, the fit of the Maya instantly felt super comfortable. The lightweight, low profile, and adjustable closure made the helmet easy to adjust and simple to achieve a quality fit. The straps are easy to use and tighten, and the strap contact points on the helmet keep the webbing off of your face, reducing sweatiness and making for simple integration with all kinds of glasses.

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I’ve been using the Maya since spring of 2015, and over the course of my test durability has been top-notch. While I thankfully haven’t had to test this helmet in a major crash, minor bumps on trees and branches, and general wear-and-tear have left little to no effect on the lid.

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Kali Protectives Maya Helmet
$80.00    Aventuron   AD 

I’ve found the ventilation to be more than adequate in hot, deserty conditions, and even during lengthy climbs. I’ve found other enduro lids to be hot enough that I want to swap to a lighter XC helmet for toasty rides, but I haven’t felt that compulsion with the Maya. As a result, I can rest secure in the knowledge that I have excellent protection at all times, without sacrificing coverage with an XC or road lid.

Now about that integrated mount. While I love the idea of an integrated mount, I don’t think placing the mount on the visor is a good idea, for two reasons:

  1. It’s not as stable as having a mount on the main helmet.
  2. The weight is too far forward on the head.

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Mounting a camera on a helmet already tends to yield pretty shaky footage, and moving the camera to the visor won’t help things at all. I did wonder if the visor mount would make a light unusable, but I found the little bit of extra shakiness to not affect my night time visibility.

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However, the downside that was most apparent during night riding was having all of that weight on my forehead. Having the weight of the light that much further forward made it feel heavier and more burdensome than mounting the light closer to center, directly over the head.

While I give Kali kudos for their forward thinking, ultimately for ideal use we need to see an integrated mount directly on the body of the helmet.

Bottom Line

The Kali Maya is a smart-looking lid with excellent construction, top-of-the-line features, amazing comfort, and innovative mount options, that have made it my go-to helmet. With a surprisingly affordable MSRP of $99, there’s no reason not to make this your next helmet.

Thanks to Kali for providing the Maya for review.

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