Kali Interceptor helmet review

Kali's top-spec open face lid

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Our rating 
2.5 out of 5 star rating 2.5
GBP £140.00 RRP | USD $180.00 | EUR €100.00
Kali Interceptor mountain bike helmet

Our review

Good in theory, flawed in practice
Pros: Well ventilated and feels light to wear; works with different shapes and sizes of goggles
Cons: The retention cradle, strap and pads are quite messily integrated with each other and the LDL caused discomfort
Skip to view product specifications

Kali Protectives’ open-face Interceptor helmet is its top-of-the-range option, designed for performance, and includes its nano-fusion and low density liner, LDL, tech to protect against the g-forces experienced in crashes.

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Kali Interceptor helmet details

The helmet liner is built with Kali’s Nano Fusion acrylic self-healing EPS foam that’s been infused with carbon nanotubes. Kali claims this should help dissipate crash forces more efficiently than traditional EPS liners while using less material and increase the impact absorption area without increasing the helmet’s overall size.

There’s also a low density layer – LDL for short – inside the helmet. This is comprised of small viscoelastic pads located throughout the helmet that harden on impact and should provide some protection against less significant, sub-concussive impact forces. They’re also claimed to help improve comfort.

There’s a fully adjustable visor that can move up for goggle parking and included with the helmet is an accessory-mounting kit with GoPro and Velcro mount kits, as well as different thickness pads.

The cradle’s fit is tuned using a Boa dial system, but it lacks vertical adjustment. The chin strap is fastened with a standard clip and the strap splitters are height adjustable.

The Interceptor was awarded three stars out of five in Virginia Tech’s helmet safety impact tests, scoring 19.6, where a lower score offers better protection.

Kali Interceptor helmet performance

The Interceptor sat fairly high on my head and the lack of vertical adjustment on the retention system meant its position was fixed. Despite its high-riding resting point, it didn’t feel loose or wobbly when riding descents.

Although the lack of vertical cradle adjustment is a real shame, it wasn’t the worst thing about the Interceptor. Disappointingly, I found the LDL pads created pressure points throughout the helmet, especially either side of the crown of my skull.

Despite claims about the LDL actually improving comfort, I found the opposite to be true. After much investigation and constant micro-adjustments when riding, it was clear the pressure points were created by the precariously-attached padding.

It moved out of place when the helmet was placed on my head and was either bunching up around the LDL or the edge of the padding was creating a bump where there shouldn’t be one. The helmet could do with more Velcro pad anchoring points to help keep it in place and improve comfort.

This discomfort got worse as I heated up, but the lid is well ventilated which helped to keep my head’s temperature better controlled compared to less airy helmets.

Although the straps were comfortable, they became twisted easily, especially where they branched off from the rear anchor point on the helmet’s liner. When the unruly padding, movable and flexible retention cradle, and easy-to-twist straps were combined, it made getting a comfortable placement and fit a bit of lottery.

Sometimes I needed to yank on the chin strap to force it to untwist and sit in the correct position, or carefully place the strap on the correct side of a flailing pad. I found this especially frustrating.

The retention cradle didn’t interfere with any riding glasses I tried with the helmet, but the very ends of each of the arms did have to be carefully placed under or over the rear split of the chin strap on each side to the stop the strap flinging the glasses off my head.

The adjustable peak went high enough so it didn’t encroach into my field of vision, but I managed to snap off one of the small lugs that locates the peak into one of its three positions. This happened while riding when I was adjusting the peak’s angle and meant the already flimsy feeling and wobbly peak was even less secure.

A new peak, costing £7.99, would solve this issue.

I found the lid worked well with all of the goggles I tested it with, though. In fact, they improved the helmet’s stability.

Kali Interceptor helmet bottom line

Conceptually, the Interceptor is a good lid. In real terms, Kali hasn’t quite mastered its execution. The padding doesn’t stay put, the LDL causes hotspots and the peak is flimsy. It also only scored three out of five stars in Virginia Tech’s ratings.

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Considering the price, I can’t recommend the Interceptor – there are better lids out there.

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €100.00GBP £140.00USD $180.00
Weight 386g (S/M)
Brand Kali

Features

Features Sizes: S/M, L/LX
Protection: Nano Fusion, LDL
Colours (including): Black, Black/White, Black/Green, Black/White
Helmet type Mountain bike open face