Best known for their motorspot helmets, Kali Protectives have in the last few years ventured across into cycling. Their road selection ranges from this the Loka, their entry level helmet, to their racing helmet, the Phenom. At £80, it's a lot more expensive that most manufacturers' entry level helmets, though.
The Loka features many of Kali's ideas from moto helmets, including their Composite Fusion Plus technology. This involves the combination of EPS foam being moulded directly into the helmet shell and a layer of pyramidal EPS cones within the cross-section. On other words, the two-layer EPS section is shaped to form a 'crumple zone' under heavy impact. Moulding directly into the shell also helps to remove any gaps between the foam and shell, though such co-moulding is not terribly new in bike helmets.
At 275g it weighs about what you'd expect for the price. It's a little heavier than my Giro Atmos bug not enough to be noticeable, in part thanks to the snug fit formed by the Micro Fit system which can incorporate a wide range of head sizes with plenty of room for refinement.
You do have to adjust it while you're wearing the helmet, though. You have to press in the thumbwheel before turning it, so it can't easily be knocked out of adjustment. That's no problem with the helmet on your head, but with it off it was nearly a two hand job as the system would just bend with nothing to push against, which I found quite annoying.
The chin straps have plenty of adjustment allowing for the positions around the ear to be refined as preferred. The buckle itself is fairly large and yet surprisingly stiff and hard to undo quickly. It seemed like a fairly cheap option.
The most surprising aspect for me however was the lack of ventilation. Despite having 12 inlet and 10 outlet channels, the Loka was still extremely hot even on short commutes on relatively mild mornings. The main culprit seemed to be the front padding. The edge of the helmet sat much lower on my forehead than I was used to, which meant the inside layer of padding got particularly hot and uncomfortable. The vents are noticeably smaller than the more expensive Phenom too which added to the issue.
With this being Kali's entry level helmet I can understand why a little less care has been taken with the design and there is room for improvement, but for the price I would still have expected better.
Comfy fit, very warm and details need attention
road.cc test report
Make and model: Kali Protectives Loka Helmet
Size tested: 54-58cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Loka is designed as an entry level road helmet. It is said to feature many of the technological advancements which can be found on their top end range of helmets such as the Phenom. Everything within the design could be seen as entry level...apart from the price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Micro Fit system allows a simple and efficient fit adjustment.
Safety Compliance: EN 1078, CPSC.
Composite Fusion Plus Technology.
The main shell construction was good. The parts such as chinstrap and rear thumbwheel were noticeably cheap.
Found the helmet to be very hot with poor ventilation. Rear thumbwheel was tricky too when the helmet was not on your head and the chinstrap buckle was particularly stiff.
Ignoring the fact that the helmet was particularly hot, the general comfort of the helmet was fairly good. With straps correctly adjusted, the padding did its work well making for a nice snug fit.
The significant flaws in the helmet make the price seem extremely high. At that price, even for an entry level helmet, I would expect much more.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Poor ventilation and stiff chinstrap buckle.
Did you enjoy using the product? No.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
About the tester
Age: 21 Height: 5ft8 Weight: 61kg
I usually ride: Cannondale Cadx My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,