The Avana is Kali’s second attempt at developing a helmet to meet the needs of all-mountain riders and enduro racers.
It’s the successor to the Avita, which met all the pertinent safety standards but offered less rear protection than comparable trail-oriented helmets from other companies.
“The previous helmet sat high,” said Kali’s national sales manager Bryan Mason. “We changed the shape and added what we call ‘Composite Fusion Plus’.”
Composite Fusion Plus refers to the Avana’s multi-density foam construction, which employs an inner layer of low density EPS foam with conical spikes encased in a denser outer layer of EPS foam. In the event of an impact, the lower density spikes act as a crumple zone, absorbing the impact and reducing the amount of force transmitted to your head.
Carbon is used in place of polycarbonate on the front and sides of the avana, for added protection: James Huang/Future Publishing
Carbon is used in place of polycarbonate in places
The in-molded carbon used on the front and sides of the helmet’s shell provides a rigid framework that allows the Avana to have 25 vents. In this case, the carbon construction actually adds weight – the carbon shell is significantly thicker than the paper-thin polycarbonate shells found on most helmets.
At 390g, the Avana weighs 30-40g more than similar helmets from POC and Giro. “It’s not meant to be light – we’re hoping people will use it in lieu of a full face [for enduro racing],” said Mason.
To that end, the Avana is goggle-friendly, with a flat back and a subtle but effective rear molding that prevents the goggle strap from sliding up or down.
On the trail, the Avana’s extra grams were quickly forgotten. Our small/medium test lid was exceptionally comfortable. The ratcheting strap retention system rests at the base of the skull and is simple and effective. And while the visor isn’t adjustable, it is well positioned. Hats off to Kali for using a buckle with a lock to keep the chinstrap from loosening.
The retention system is quite basic compared to some other high-end helmets, though it is also quite comfortable, reliable and effective: James Huang/Future Publishing
The retention system is quite basic but also quite comfortable, reliable and effective
Initially, we felt the Avana’s 25 vents did a poor job of promoting airflow. The culprit was the mesh netting integrated into the pads. While those riding in cold or insect-heavy environments might appreciate the helmet’s ‘bug-proofing’, we cut the netting out with a hobby knife and were pleasantly surprised by how airy the Avana was compared to other all-mountain/enduro lids. We’ll take our chances with plagues of locusts.
Overall, the Avana is an incredibly comfortable helmet for aggressive trail riders. For the asking price we’d just like to see an additional set of pads without bug netting.