Both road and mountain bike helmets have seen a bit of a renaissance over the past few years as safety has markedly improved. Dual-density foams and in-molded designs were just the start, but the latest tech is also focusing on rotational impacts and not just keeping you alive, but keeping you alive with minimal impact on the brain. The crew at Kali Protectives have spent many years perfecting their craft and have, what they believe, is the best technology available to reduce brain injuries and keep us enjoying the sport we love throughout our lives.
Kali Interceptor Helmet Features:
- Nano Fusion construction with multi-density EPS and self-healing foam
- LDL (Low Density Layer) inserts to dissipate directional impacts
- Anti-microbial pads
- BOA closure system
- 24 vents
- Adjustable visor
- Accessory mounting system (lights or cameras)
- Flexible straps with locking sliders
- Weight: 390 grams (S/M actual)
- MSRP: $180
About Kali and their technology
This summer, I had a sit-down with Brad Waldron (CEO and founder of Kali Protectives) to discuss his background, his passions and the technology behind his helmets. As an aerospace engineer, he got a deep understanding of composites, prototype testing and cutting-edge technology. After a successful career at Lockheed-Martin, circumstances forced a move to the Morgan Hill, CA area and Brad took his engineering talents to Specialized where he started designing helmets.
That engineering and materials experience paved the way for what is now a growing, safety-first company that’s getting numerous accolades and saving both extreme athletes and everyday Joe’s from debilitating injury. I’m told that Kali is currently sitting at around 100,000 helmets per year and growing. They also feature a lifetime crash replacement and, as mentioned, they utilize the most advanced materials designs available to reduce brain trauma in an accident.
You can learn more about the guts of the Interceptor in the following video.
I’m a huge fan of MIPS, Koroyd and other safety tech that today’s best helmets are using. I have first-hand experience feeling MIPS work and I’m a huge proponent of the technology. Kali doesn’t use MIPS, so I was initially skeptical until I saw the data.
Instead of MIPS, Kali uses strategically-placed LDL viscoelastic inserts that act to reduce both rotational and vertical impacts by 25-30%. They have done their own comparisons between MIPS and LDL and found LDL to be superior. The guts of LDL was originally developed to protect soldiers from roadside explosions — it dissipates explosive impacts and now dissipates energy when you crash on your bike.
Interceptor steals the show
The Interceptor offers great coverage and good looks to boot. Most striking are the large vents, which do an awesome job of keeping things cool. I immediately noticed the adjustable visor that pivots upward to stay out of the way — even far enough for enduro riders to place their goggles upfront when not in use. That’s not been my case, but with some visors getting in the way, the Interceptor’s visor thankfully stays out of my field of vision.
With soft, flexible straps, the Interceptor feels comfortable next-to-skin (literally since I shave my noggin). The straps are only part of the comfort as there’s ample padding throughout. As mentioned above, the padding is set on top of the green LDL inserts. That combination delivers a high level-of-protection and feels solid.
Nearly every helmet features a dial-in fit system. The Interceptor is no different, but the dial we’re talking about here is from BOA — the market-leader in dial-in fit technology. As, expected the fit was easy-to-adjust and helped the helmet stay put under all conditions.
Coverage is important with any helmet and I’m an advocate of full-coverage helmets. The weight penalty is minimal while the Interceptor’s protection is beyond question. All that added stuff in the back can sometimes get in the way of sunglasses, but I didn’t have any issues with any of the glasses I wore. I will say that the straps attach in the middle of the helmet body, thus making it impossible to wear your glasses on top of the straps, unless you have a pair of Rudy Project Fotonyk’s.
While I don’t always have a chance to fully-test my helmets, crashes do happen. With this one, I slid out on a berm and went head-first into the dirt. While I did get a bloody lip in the process, the helmet took it in stride with the visor bouncing right back. Had I inflicted serious damage on the helmet, the self-healing foam would have filled the gap. This crash wasn’t anything serious, but it was nice to know that this helmet has all the safety features you could ask for.
Breathability has been good overall and the Interceptor goes unnoticed when riding. It simply does its job without a fuss.
- Kali’s passion for protection shows here
- LDL inserts provide added brain protection
- Excellent comfort
- Added coverage is great
- BOA dial is a good choice
- Thin bands on the retention system stay out of the way of sunglasses
- Strap attachment placement requires you wear your sunglasses under the straps
The Bottom Line: Kali Protectives Interceptor
I’m always a fan of full-coverage helmets and the Interceptor is a great choice for those looking for added protection with all the safety features you could want. While It lacks MIPS, I’ve been assured that their LDL system performs just as well, if not better.
Buy Now: Available at JensonUSA