Kali Avita Carbon Review

Helmets Pro Reviews

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The Kali Avita Carbon helmet is a stunning looking helmet, that was comfortable, durable, and full of innovative safety designs and materials. Kali and POC are some of the protection companies that are at the forefront of a new wave of helmet safety performance, and the aptly named Avita, which in Sanskrit means “protected” certainly defines their focus.

The major components of a helmet, are the outer shell, the foam liner, the retention system and the padding. The hard shell helps spread the impact over a larger surface (specifically to the liner), accentuates sliding and prevents object penetration. The EPS foam helps prevent or reduce brain injury by managing the energy of an impact through its own compression or destruction. Its main duty is to slow the stopping process so that the head slows down during its inertial of the impact (deceleration), by cushioning and redirection.

Features
The Kali Avita is their crown jewel of their XC helmets, and comes in two versions, the Carbon, which I tested, and the less expensive Texalium model. The Carbon is composed of two entities, the shell, which is made with carbon fiber, Texalium aluminized fiberglass and polycarbonate, while the core is made with their Contego EPS foam. Texalium was developed by Hexcel, the large advanced composite’s corporation, whom I remember mostly from their cool honeycomb ski’s of the 70-80′s. Contego is a special formula of Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS), that provides an excellent combination of densities for shock absorption. The helmet uses their Composite Fusion technology to incorporate the EPS foam as an integral part of the shell, much like the industry standard in-mould microshell. This process entails steaming small Polystyrene beads directly into the shell (in-mould), which then expand as a foam, and fuse to the exterior, giving better impact energy transfer and greater material connection strength.

The helmet includes many safety features, such as the extended rear coverage, the breakaway visor, the extra strong shell (carbon, fiberglass and polycarbonate), and the Composite Fusion technology. There is also a portion of the shell on the bottom outer edge of the helmet for additional strength and reinforcement. The helmet is well padded, and uses a rear mounted ratcheted floating retention system for fitting adjustments, has 22 vents, and a buckled chin strap with adjusters below the ear. The helmet comes in two sizes, small/medium and medium/large, and five color schemes, Pattern White or Black, Stars White, Black or Anthracite.

Measured Spec:

  • Weight (medium/large) – 392.6 grams

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Dan says:

    392 grams for an XC helmet is heavy.

  • Dan says:

    And $189 is expensive.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I would tend to call it more of an All Mountain and Trail helmet than a XC one, though it can be used for any of them. I actually never noticed the weight myself? And yes, it is expensive, but the materials used for the Carbon model bumped it up into that realm of roadie helmet’s, and I was glad for the extra strength (though untested).

  • MCStumpy says:

    I have owned this helmet for a season now. Best helmet I have owned. Fits my head great and vents very well. It is super adjustable and holds its adjustment well. Set it and forget it along with a light solid feel! Also, its good looking and nobody else I know has one…

  • Wonko says:

    There are quite a few AM helmets that do not weigh 392g and protect you head. Besides, if they printed some funny animals on the helmet it would look pretty much exactly like the helmet my three year old wears. But that’s just a question personal taste. The price is ridiculous.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Like any product, the weight can vary, and I seemed to have gotten a heavy one. I cross checked with others, and they all came in with it at 345 grams, which is close to the Giro Xar. As I noted in my review it is expensive, and the addition of carbon for added strength pushes up the cost, as does the manufacturing of their Composite Fusion technology, and it is difficult to put a price on protection for the noggin? Try checking the costs of some good roadie helmets for sticker shock! Kali and POC are both pushing the envelope of research and design in helmet safety, something that is currently a very inexact and primitive science. The testing standards have stagnated, and might not be factual in regards to how a human skull reacts, and much criticism has been raised into how effective the current designs are in real accident cases?

    The problem is that our heads are soft and malleable, and the brain itself moves around inside a gelatinous ooze (cerebrospinal fluid), so the testing with a hard headform may not be very appropriate for the human skull? One of the major things a helmet cannot prevent is the occurrence of coup-contrecoup (brain rebound) injuries, which can cause concussions, contusions, DIA’s (diffuse axonal injury) and even epidural hematoma.

  • GoGo says:

    Too expensive for XC lid.
    but would look kool with some lions or tigers stickers on it. ;}

  • Andywalker722 says:

    Bell Sequence best helm on the market, best looking IMO, 325 grams, $90 bones. this one is plain “underachieved overkill”… huh, good name for a band :) Of course as my wafe says, my opinion isnt worth squat.

  • Cleo says:

    I can appreciate the folks comments around price, as this is up there, but I don’t quite understand the push-back based on price alone. If I could afford it, I would love an XTR equipped Turner Sultan tricked out to the T’s, but that would cost me many (many) thousands of dollars (other items on the wish list are in keeping with the helmet theme: a POC Trebec Race, bike theme: a Super Record Bianchi Infinito, home theme: granite counter tops, etc.). For some the cost wouldn’t make sense, and would think that a Huffy fit the bill perfectly. I figure that as long as someone is using and loving their gear and ride, then what they want to spend, well, go for it.

  • Warren says:

    I have the non-carbon Amara model and absolutely love it. By far the best fitting helmet I have owned over my previous Specialized and Giro models. If you can’t afford the carbon bling, certainly consider the Amara.

  • IJBCape says:

    Hi,

    Is this better suited for pointy narrow heads or big round heads?

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