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Kali attacks the crosswinds with new Tava helmet

The new lid is focused on fast, but safety and comfort don't take a back seat in this wind-besting design

PARK CITY, Utah (VN) — Kali Protectives, a relatively new player in the helmet market, has made waves with its unique designs that not only break away from the norm, visually, but also use proprietary materials in an effort to boost safety.

Kali broke into the road market with its Maraka helmet in 2012; its Phenom road helmet scored respectable marks for comfort and affordability.

Now, Kali is going aero with its all-new Tava. However, the Tava is not simply an aero shell glued onto the Phenom or Maraka skeleton. The Tava sports some new technologies — and some very familiar ones.

The liner of the Tava features an updated version of Kali’s low-density Bumper Fit protection layer, the inner-most layer which sits closest to the skull to cushion low-speed impacts. Not surprisingly, Kali is calling the new liner Bumper Fit 2.0. The new liner uses soft blue ellipses on the interior of the EPS foam that are designed to accomplish two things: absorb low-speed impacts, and allow the helmet to move just enough to reduce rotational head injuries. The Bumper Fit 2.0 dots are soft to the touch, and it’s easily apparent how they might cushion the blow of a slower crash.

“Standard EPS foam [from all helmets] breaks down at about 120 g-forces,” said Kali founder and engineer Brad Waldron. “But, someone can get a concussion at as low as 50 g-forces, which is really low.”

Similarly, Kali’s Composite Fusion Plus in-molding process is being updated and is now called Composite Fusion Squared, which is said to better absorb secondary impacts during a crash — the impact of your skull hitting the shell of the helmet.

Kali simplified their retention harness system by using a Boa retention design. The Boa system has been used in helmets before, but upon visiting the Boa website, this appears to be the first cycling helmet to use the Boa system. Smith ski and snowboard helmets have used the Boa system for years.

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of an aero road helmet if it didn’t also boast aerodynamic claims. Kali is claiming that its new lid reduces drag by an average of 50 grams at 5-degrees offset compared to the “four leading competitors,” according to Kali. Kali also said that in a direct headwind, the Tava did not fair so well, but in any crosswind, the Tava was more aerodynamic than its competitors.

The Tava is fairly small overall, which may contribute to its drag savings. Kali attributed the sleeker stature to its Composite Fusion in-molding process. What’s smaller in the wind is, in theory, faster against the wind.

Cosmetically, the Tava bears a striking resemblance to most of the other aero offerings, with few vents save for some large ones in the rear, and Kali doesn’t make claims about the helmet being a “cool” one.

“We approached aero first,” said Kali’s Bryan Mason. “It breathes well at speed, so as long as you’re doing 17 mph, you’ll be fine.”

The Tava will be available in two sizes, S/M and M/L. Both sizes will be available next spring with an expected retail price of $250.