During a buffet lunch at the 2013 edition of Lifeboat Event’s Presscamp media event, we met a lovely chap by the name of Brad Waldron who was one of the most genuinely easy going ‘industry folk’ that we met all week. Aside from being quite the dude, it turned out that Brad was also the founder of Kali Protectives, and when we strolled into a meeting with the Kali crew on the final day of the media-only event, this humble guy had some very cool new gear to show us. No hard sell, no powerpoint presentations, just a genuinely passionate guy who’s on a mission to make a better and safer helmet. Simple.

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While relatively new to Australia, Kali Protectives has been around for 5 years now, and has a unique story to tell. Their product range extends to helmets for snow sports, moto and mountain biking, and you’ll likely be seeing a lot more of their lids through Aussie importer; Red Hot Agencies, who are progressively teaming up with more dealers around the country. As a bit of a backstory, Kali Helmets have been designed in conjunction with Australian professor Don Morgan, with the goal of using lower density foam for a helmets EPS construction in order to reduce weight and therefore the acceleration of your head during a crash. It’s pretty simple right; picture your head being wrapped with a cheap foam camping mat and copping a hit to the head. Then picture the same impact with a lovely soft pillow wrapped around your head. The softer density structure more readily absorbs the impact force over a greater surface area to increase force dispersion. A softer EPS construction also allows for a more effective crumple zone, but the challenge is in making that softer foam into a supportive structure. The result was the use of ‘Conehead Technology’ that sees stacks of thimble-sized cones moulded into the foam layers of the helmet, which better disperse the force from impacts across a broader surface area.

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This is what ‘Conehead’ technology looks like out of the press. Lots of thimble-sized mini pyramids, with the pointy ends facing outwards from the helmet.

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Composite Fusion Plus Technology
The introduction of COMPOSITE FUSION™ Plus is the next progression of this revolutionary construction. COMPOSITE FUSION™ Plus technology incorporates unique pyramids of different foam densities within the EPS/Shell connection. During impact, as energy is transferred from shell to foam, the unique pyramid shapes collapse first, thereby directing the energy sideways within the foam, instead of linearly down to your head. This spreads the impact load over a greater area, allowing us to use softer density foam next to your head, right where you want it.

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COMPOSITE FUSION™ PLUS Compared to a COMPOSITE FUSION helmet, a COMPOSITE FUSIONPlus helmet is even more efficient at absorbing impact energy, thanks to it additionally channeling impact energy laterally through its geometric shapes of dual-density foams. This promotes constant energy dissipation until the impact is relieved.

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Having developed the use of multi-density foam and pioneering the Conehead technology, Kali Protectives has gradually increased its cycling range from full-face downhill helmets and skate lids, to lightweight and ventilated XC & Trail helmets. The newest of the bunch is the brand spanking Maraka helmet, which comes in both an XC version with a visor, and a road version without. The Maraka makes use of the Composite Fusion Plus technology, plus sees a few other nifty features that make it a stand out in its class. See those big blue vent intakes in the above photo? They’re designed as a structural component of the helmet that allows Kali to get away with such large vent openings on the front of the helmet. These one-piece scoops act in a similar way to the internal Conehead EPS, by spreading the load of impact over a broad surface area. Plus, they look mad.

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“The MARAKA™ Helmet introduces patented COMPOSITE FUSION™ PLUS technology into the high speed Cross Country racing category. In addition to these geometric shapes of softer foam next to the rider’s head, the MARAKA™ also introduces SUPERVENT™ technology, providing a critical reinforcement to each helmet’s venting structure in case of helmet impact. Lastly, the introduction of the BUMPER FIT™ SYSTEM assures a precise fit with special pads designed out of an absorbent cross-linked polymer material to both hold your head in place as well as absorb shock on impacts. Weighing in at just 300 grams, the MARAKA™ helmet provides the new reference in full-featured, lightweight cross-country cycling helmets designed specifically for the type of impacts cyclists encounter with higher speeds. Yes, we were thinking of 29’er racing!” – Kali Protectives

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The Maraka XC is the first real premium lightweight XC helmet from Kali. Delving deeper into the ‘Composite Fusion Plus Technology’, this method places softer density foam closer to your skull, and a firmer density at the exterior. Of the 25 total vents, the 5 largest front vents utilise those reinforced scoops to allow for a larger opening without compromising structural strength. There’s a dual closure harness, but the best feature of the Maraka XC is the use of ‘memory foam’ inside the helmet lining that provides additional cushioning for both comfort and protection. Expect the Maraka XC to come in around $200 when it arrives later this year.

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Kali Maraka Helmet features:

  • COMPOSITE FUSION™ PLUS technology featuring geometric shapes of softer EPS foam next to your head, right where you want them.
  • Revolutionary mix of CARBON and polycarbonate materials
  • Introduction of SUPERVENT™ technology providing reinforced super-structure to critical airflow vents
  • BUMPER FIT™ SYSTEM assures a secure fit with special pads designed of an absorbent cross-linked polymer material
  • DUAL CLOSURE SYSTEM allows a simple and efficient dual-sided closure adjustment at the rear of the helmet.
  • Twenty-five vents designed with integrated air flow system
  • Breakaway visor
  • Sizes: Extra Small/Small (50-54cm), Small/Medium (54-58cm), Medium/Large (58-64cm)
  • Colours: Yellow, White, Blue, Black
  • Claimed weight: 260 grams
  • Expected RRP: $200 AUD

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The Maraka comes in 3 different shell sizes, which does add to the pricetag but means you can get a much better fit than you might with a cheaper helmet only made in 1 or 2 sizes.

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Whilst not necessarily a deliberate comfort feature, those yellow inserts you see on the underside of the helmet are made from a soft ‘memory foam’ that cushions your noggin around the main pressure points of the helmet.

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The yellow memory foam is directly bonded to the EPS core, which helps with force dispersion.

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Their purpose is to provide further buffering between force coming into the helmet, and your skull, but the resulting fit is like nothing we’ve tried before – it is ridiculously comfortable!

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As nice as the new Maraka helmets are, not all of us quite have a $200 budget when looking for a new lid. For that reason, Kali trickle down their high tech construction into cheaper pricepoints, and the Amara is an example of one such option, coming in at a reasonable $125. Despite it’s lower pricepoint, the Amara still gets the Composite Fusion Technology, but it also adds in a party trick for integration with sports action cameras and night lights too. Included in the box are no less than 4 separate brackets, one being a direct GoPro mount, one designed to suit O-Ring mounted LED lights and another being a perfect fit for an Exposure Diablo helmet light.

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“Borrowing from its Sanskrit name meaning Immortal, the AMARA™ Helmet is one great all-mountain helmet. Featuring an ultra lightweight polycarbonate shell and an EPS liner bonded together with patented COMPOSITE FUSION™ technology, the AMARA™ Helmet is sure to fill your all-mountain needs. The CAM version includes all the advantages of the AMARA™ helmet along with a revolutionary integrated camera (or light) mount for a perfect filming position.” – Kali Protectives

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Kali Amara Helmet Features:

  • Ultra lightweight Polycarbonate Shell
  • Low density EPS foam for impact absorption
  • Integrated Airflow System with 17 Vents
  • Expanded rear coverage design
  • Breakaway visor
  • Integrated Camera Mount for perfect filming (Cam version)
  • Sizes: Extra Small/Small (50-54cm), Small/Medium (54-58cm), Medium/Large (58-64cm)
  • Colours: Black, White
  • RRP: $125

While only the Chakra and Amara helmets are currently available Down Under, more of the Kali range are on their way and we’re expecting to get our sample Maraka later this year. You can check out the full Kali range on their website, or get in touch with the local distributor to find your nearest stockist on the details below.

Red Hot Agencies
Website: www.velogear.com.au
Email: sales@velogear.com.au.