Supremely comfortable lid using Kali’s own safety tech, its just a little warm and has a tricky to use winch system at the rear
Apr 20 2018
Compact with large coverage
Staps are long and need revision
Retention system is fiddly to use
you want a cheaper, lightweight MTB lid with good coverage
The unisex Kali Protectives Maya helmet is a trail and enduro lid that reigns supreme in the comfort stakes. Safety levels are also kept high using Kali’s own Composite Fusion technology but the lid is a little hot and the retention system needs some work to make it perfect.
The Maya is part of Kali’s enduro range of helmets sitting alongside the pricier Interceptor. It is designed to be lightweight and compact but still to offer deep coverage. The lid weighs 322g (size XS/S) and sits low on the back of the head so it seems it’s got both of those features down. Is there a good reason for needing a compact lid? Kali says that smaller helmets have less leverage, therefore, transferring fewer forces created in a crash to the head and neck.
There is no MIPS liner, but in its place Kali uses its own ‘Composite Fusion Plus’ technology. Essentially this involves the use of two different types of foam, a mix of a firmer and a softer density foam which is co-moulded with the outer. This enables the company to use a 25% thinner shell, keeping the size of the helmet small. They say the co-moulding works to dissipate energy more efficiently and use the softer foam nearer the head to cushion the head. Normal helmets have a shell and foam that are moulded separately and then glued together, Kali says this creates an ‘imperfect’shape which leaves an air gap which in turn can cause spikes in g-forces rather than a smooth impact curve which they create with Composite Fusion.
As I have said, putting the Maya on is a pleasurable experience, it’s like a cuddle for your skull! The helmet pads are nice and soft without being bulky and the lid sits level with good spacing over the ears and large coverage at the rear. It appears that last year the Maya was only available in two sizes, this year a smaller size has been added creating a better range of sizes. I’ve got a 53cm circumference head and the XS/S fitted perfectly.
Fitting the straps on the Maya is a bit of a fiddle, I found the chin straps of this XS/S lid to be far too long. Winching in the adjustable side (right-hand side) of the strap shortened it enough but this left the buckle in an uncomfortable position over to the right. To combat this I folded up the left-hand side of the strap and secured in place with zip ties, the then adjusted the right side and cut off the excess strap, leaving the buckle in the middle under my chin. I have discussed the strap issues with Kali, they said that the straps are size specific and will look into the problem further. I anticipate riders with larger heads/faces than mine won’t experience such a problem.
Tightening the retention system is a two-handed job and more difficult to use and keep balanced than a system operated by a dial, it does, however, have a large range of movement and small increments of fit which adds to the comfort factor. The cradle can’t be adjusted up or down but I didn’t find that I needed to move it at all. When putting the lid on you also need to take care that the straps extending from the rear are lying flat and not caught in the retention system, I found they got caught more often than not.
The Maya is a little warm to ride in, there are 12 vents but only two near the forehead and three over the top of the head which restricts airflow somewhat. Both sides, above the ears are fully filled in so there won’t be any breeze caught from side on either. The anti-microbial padding does a good job of dealing with the sweat and I like the fact there is mesh covering the vents on the front ensuring insects will struggle to get in! The peak of the Maya is pretty big and adjustable with big easy to use dials on the side of the lid, there’s plenty of room to store goggles up under it.
At £79.95 the Maya isn’t a bad price if you place your trust in Kali’s technology, but there are other options out there from Giro and Bell without MIPS and with a similar ventilation structure for less money. Of, course you can also pay more and still not get MIPS, the Endura MT500 at £140 is a good example of this. I liked the Kali, it's genuinely one of the most comfortable lids I’ve worn but the strap issues and lack of ventilation let it down.
Yes, if the straps fit well and you don't get too hot when riding
Deputy Editor here ar off-road.cc, Rachael is happiest on two wheels. She's been riding bikes for a good few years now after horses got too expensive! Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. She's been writing for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding and is equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories, she also coaches mountain biking and when she's not busy with all the above she's serving coffee from a horse trailer!