Kali Interceptor helmet review
What is it
Kali Protectives prides itself on safety. Founded by a former aerospace engineer who specialized in carbon components for military planes, the brand has grown around the development of innovative technology.
The Interceptor is their newest enduro helmet. With a retail price of $180, it’s not cheap. But for the money, you receive an assortment of exotic sounding technologies including Nano Fusion, Super Vents, and Low Density Layer.
Other more standard features include a removable accessory mounting system, adjustable visor, anti-microbial pads, and a BOA closure system. The helmet weighs a claimed 390g and is available in S/M (55-61 cm) and L/XL (60-64 cm) sizes.
- Next generation safety
- Lifetime warranty
- Easy to use BOA retention dial
- Removable accessory mounting system
- Flimsy visor
- Poor sweat management
- Strap color
With a price tag just shy of $200, the Interceptor is on the pricier end of the trail helmet spectrum. Its competitors include the likes of the POC Tectal, TLD A2, and Specialized Ambush. Around the $150 mark, there’s also the Bell Super 3 (sans chinbar), Giro Montaro, and Leatt DBX 3.0. That’s some fierce competition.
What separates the Interceptor from its rivals is technology. While there are several brands who use dual density foams, Kali uses a multi-density EPS with acrylic self-healing foam and carbon nanotubes. They call this blend Nano Fusion, but it’s also available under the brand name Casidion.
The material is worth noting because it’s lighter and thinner than traditional helmet foam. There’s also evidence that it can withstand multiple impacts (although Kali does not claim that for this particular helmet). But most importantly, it dissipates energy better. If you’re curious to learn more about this material, watch the short video above.
The other unique technology employed is LDL (Low Density Layer). This is a viscoelastic padding that is strategically layered throughout the interior. It offers MIPS and D30 style protection, all rolled into one.
In a linear impact, Kali claims this material can reduce low-G impacts by up to 30% and rotational impacts by up to 25%. Leatt uses a similar material in their helmets, albeit with a different shape and color. We can’t speak to the effectiveness of these materials in a crash, but it makes us feel better knowing they’re there just in case.
In addition to class leading safety features, Kali has packed the Interceptor with all the amenities you’d expect in a premium priced helmet. There’s a removable accessory mount for running a light or GoPro, that’s also designed to break away in a crash. And it actually works. The only bummer is the “light mount” is a universal mount that mimics a handlebar, so it is not a perfect match for every trail illuminator.
The ratchet system made by BOA works easily with one hand. The low profile ensures it doesn’t snag on backpacks or jackets, and it applies even pressure to your head. The helmet sits low and offers deep coverage. The overall shape is round and runs true to size. Unlike previous Kali models, the S/M is actually small enough to accommodate riders with smaller heads. We didn’t test the L/XL, so we can’t speak to that fit.
The three-position visor is marketed as being goggle friendly. In the lowest position, it had a tendency to obscure our vision. The next ratchet up offered better line of sight, but looked goofy. In the top position, the visor will clear a mid-sized goggle but is not quite high enough for larger goggles such as the Oakley Airbrake MX. That’s all fine, except the visor feels flimsy. In just normal operation, it has a tendency to sit crooked and ours eventually snapped off. We’d heard reports of other visors snapping, so we reached out to Kali for comment:
“We are aware that some consumers have experienced damaged visors on the Interceptors during normal use. This is an issue unique to the first run of Interceptors. We have already made a running change to the Interceptor visor mold to strengthen the indexing pin and eliminate this issue from occurring. All future production runs of the Interceptor will feature this updated visor. If a consumer has an issue with their Interceptor, they can contact us at 1-888-PRO-KALI or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Considering this is a premium product at a premium price, the flimsy visor is a letdown. But it’s the only real flaw in an otherwise well thought out piece of safety equipment. And Kali backs all of their helmets with a lifetime crash replacement. What that means is if you crash your helmet, they will replace it. You’re only responsible for shipping fees.
The final point worth touching upon is ventilation. If you’ve worn the Kali Maya, the Interceptor breathes noticeably better. It’s not quite on par with the Specialized Ambush, but it’s not bad. However, the helmet has a minimalist brow pad. Heavy sweaters may encounter issues with dripping.
When it comes to buying a new helmet, it’s ultimately up to you to decide what your head is worth. Most helmets meet the same certification and there is no standard that proves these additional safety features work. If you prefer to err on the side of caution, the Kali Interceptor delivers some of the most advanced safety technology on the market. It’s also backed by a crash replacement policy. As long as you can live with the flimsy visor and the poor sweat management, we think it’s well worth the money.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
More info: bike.kaliprotectives.com