i cannot tell a fib; i was under the impression that kali was the hindu goddess of death, and that seemed somewhat of an odd name to append to a company making helmets. in terms of branding, surely the precise opposite of the message that those in the business of offering protective headgear would like to send to its prospective customers. thus the phrase kali protectives appeared to be something of an oxymoron. but closer investigation proves me to be if not completely wide of the mark, certainly a smidgeon off to one side. for it transpires that the hindus place an altogether different interpretation. recent movements within the religion apparently now consider kali to be a benevolent mother goddess. that gives me a tad more confidence in this particular branding exercise.
for i rather like my head. aside from providing me with my rugged handsomeness, it also provides me with a pair of ears on which to place my rudy projects. in the midst of the current, yet uncharacteristic sunny spell we're having this far out in the atlantic, a pair of tinted shades are as much of a necessity as is a cycle helmet. and that brings us very neatly round to the phenom from california based kali about whom we have just held a brief philosophical discussion.
kali protectives is the brainchild (if you'll pardon the pun) of brad waldron, a man who started his career in aerospace research and development before re-setting his sights and values on translating his skills and learning towards the consumer. in other words; us. not that one ought to be taking anyone to task over their use of the english language, especially when instigated from across the pond, but on the kali protectives website, the hapless mr waldron is entitled as a literal rocket scientist when i think they might more correctly have labeled him as literally a rocket scientist. there is a pedantic yet symantic difference.
however, kali have the susbtantial saving grace of having a rather fabulous logo, one that features strategically on this, their latest road style helmet. i'm generally in favour of helmets that look as if they're travelling fast even when sitting in the box, for though looks offer no indication as to effectiveness, it strikes me as a good start. on looks alone, the admirably named phenom offers at least an extra 5kph. what it also unexpectedly offers is a removeable, clear aeroshell should you have little desire to shell (sorry) out for a separate time-trial helmet.
despite the phenom aggrandising my potential velocity, i'm not sure i have sufficient nous to know when to keep the aeroshell on, and when to remove it. however, the fact that the helmet arrived mere moments before i was about to head off into the wide blue yonder meant that my cack-handed attempts to remove the clear, shiny bit had it remain in place for the duration. i'd be fibbing if i were to say it got me to debbie's any quicker, but it did seem to reduce the wind noise and heat up my head just a tad. i subsequently discovered that removing the shell is more easily achieved from the rear of the helmet rather than the front.
that didn't work at all.
as far as the current crop of road cycling helmets go, the kali phenom is not the lightest in class. however, that rather fills me with more confidence than you might think. for despite their web-based protestations that mass x acceleration increases force, a more substantial and well-constructed mass (within reason) atop my cranium, i consider to be a very a good thing. ironically, the very thing for which the phenom was designed is the one thing that most reviewers (self included) hope never to find out first hand; the safety certification sticker on the inside will suffice for me.
the construction technology is referred to by kali as composite fusion plus, combining two different polystyrene foam densities eliminating any gaps and providing an internal structure that offers greater protection in the event of a crash. however, there's little point in offering the ultimate in head protection if your head overheats while conducting normal day to day velocipedinal activity. to prevent this being the case and still offering a high degree of rigidity, the phenom is well specified in the number and size of air-vents, even offering commendable venting when the aeroshell is in place.
fitting of the contemporary cycle helmet is no longer a case of mixing and matching different thicknesses of internal pads. sizing is now achieved by means of an adjustable cage, altered by means of a wheel at rear dead-centre, turning clockwise to pull the internal band around one's temple. it's very effective in practice, though the wheel's tactility is a bit uncomfortable on the fingers. however, in its favour, it can be adjusted on the fly while riding.
i always wear a cycle cap under my helmet, a factor that the phenom (medium/large reviewed) handled with ease and aplomb. the front of the helmet provides a commendable overhang, a feature that wouds surely offer greater protection to that rugged handsomeness i talked about earlier should a face plant unexpectedly present itself. if caps are not your thing, the phenom comes with a replaceable internal hairnet to keep the bugs at bay.
the strap and buckle are, in essence, no different to others on the market; comfortable in use and easy to fasten and release. the bumperfit pads are composed of 'memory foam' to provide more effective and repeatable comfort. i'm also impressed that the foam pads velcro in place; that way, when the rear pad failed to clear the back of my cycle cap, it was simplicity itself to pop it back in place. not something that has always proved to be the case with those stuck in place. the phenom is available in white, black, black/yellow, red/black or black/green, and in two sizes: small/medium or medium/large.
the kali phenom is comfortable, stylish, well-ventilated and offers this particular wearer encouraging feelings of confidence. and in return for all the above, it requires only £139.99 to make it yours.
tuesday 22 july 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................