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Published on December 27th, 2012 | by Luke

Kali Maraka Helmet Review

Kali Maraka White/Black R

Kali Maraka White/Black R

Kali Protectives has been creating some of the safest and most effective helmets and armor for gravity-inclined mountain bikers for several years. Kali’s products are highly thought-out, expertly designed, and very comfortable to wear. With the release of the Maraka helmet—available in road (R) and mountain (XC)—Kali looks to expand their market share with a high-end road/XC race-type helmet. 

Style is subjective, but the Maraka’s unique mix of looks wins over almost everyone who sees it, unless of course, BMX half-shell’s are your version of what a cycling helmet should look like. The Maraka’s roundish rear profile falls between an all-mountain helmet and a classic road helmet shape, while it’s multi-plane front and top profiles give it just enough edginess without being too aggressive.

Maraka Supervent

Maraka Supervent

Huge frontal vents reinforced with Supervent frames, combined with the two-color semi-pinstripe graphics give the Maraka a slight “Stormtrooper” vibe, especially in white.

With helmets, fit is the deciding factor. After a helmet with the right combination of style, weight, color, and venting has been decided upon, if it doesn’t fit correctly, it’s no good, and the search starts anew. While the Kali Maraka won’t fit everyone, it fits most, and it’s a very comfortable fit at that. Keeping the comfort factor high is the Kali Bumper Fit System, which is made up of several cushy foam pads on the interior top and front of the Maraka. The cross-link polymer pads subtly mold to your headshape, and also act to slow and absorb impact forces during a crash, enhancing safety as well as comfort.

Kali Composite Fusion Plus Technology

Kali Composite Fusion Plus Technology

Safety is what Kali founder Brad Waldron knows best, and the Maraka, despite it’s sleek profile, massive venting, and light weight, is perhaps the safest performance helmet you can slap on your head. Kali firmly believes “softer” foam does a better job of slowing down your brain inside your skull and absorbing impacts than typical foam densities found in most helmets. The Maraka uses a foam density of 85 g/cubic L (compared to the typical125 gm/cubic L) which deforms easier, thus absorbing more impact force in a crash. To make a softer helmet safe, Kali employs several technologies. First, Supervent technology uses a structure around each frontal vent to spread impact force across more foam. Second, Kali’s Composite Fusion Plus construction uses dual-density EPS foam, with both densities shaped differently. The structure of the foams spreads an impact over a greater area of the helmet, dispersing the impact force, while a carbon fiber rear cage does the same for impacts to the rear of the helmet. Finally, the aforementioned polymer pads of the Bumper Fit Pad System add protection against impacts as well.

To me, the Kali Maraka helmet brings together everything needed in a helmet. It has a great look with it’s own style that stands out from the crowd, fits so well I forget it’s on, air flow like an air-conditioned Georgia movie theater in August, and has multiple advanced safety features working to keep my brain safe. It’s too bad the Kali Maraka hasn’t been around longer… My concussion count would probably be much lower.

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About the Author


appreciates the climb and it’s challenges, but is convinced the only reason to pedal faster up the hill is to start your descent sooner. While he has sampled the joys of long rides on the tarmac, the dirt is where you’ll find him. When not on the trail or in the water, Luke likes to drive off into the wild to take his daughter camping in his cherished 1987 Volkswagen Westfalia.

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