KALI THERAPY CENTURY HELMET
290g L/XL Matt Red/Black (as tested) £89.99
USA based Kali Protectives are manufactured in China. Ours arrived thanks to Oxford Products, from Oxford. We’ve tested Oxford’s own Metro V and Metro Glo helmets (both commuter/leisure lids), but the Kali Therapy Century is a fundamentally for the road, but with gravel potential, too. With sensible safety features and some natty designs (in my opinion) it fills its brief and has been a pleasure to test.
Cons: be nice to have some alternative pads.
Kali’s proprietary moulding merges the PC shell, under-wrap, and EPS foam inner into a composite structure. Not an unusual arrangement or mix of materials for a helmet at this price point, it certainly makes for a neat and tidy look, with a good matt finish. Plain black and white versions are available, but there are more flamboyant designs, including ours.
21 vents are much the norm for road helmets. Three short, broad vents at the front should admit a good deal of air., working on the intake/exhaust system to pull air through the helmet.
Padding is an extensive single piece, removable and washable. Inside the helmet you’ll also find what at first sight appeared to be green Lego bricks. Actually, they are much softer and rubbery. These are an LDL, or Low Density Layer, revelling in the name of Armourgel. These reduce “low-g impact forces by 12% and rotational forces by 25%.” Well, I hope I never am personally able to vouch for that, but let’s be reassured. Without knowing the detail of testing, this sounds to me as if it serves the same function as MIPS systems. You can find that at this price point, too. Needless to say, the helmet meets USA and EU safety standards.
Size and fit 4/5
There’s a choice of two sizes, S/M (54-58cm) and L/XL (58-62cm). Old Big ‘ead Steve, of course, went for the latter. Helmet fit and size can be quite personal. On that front, I like the micro-fit retention system. Not so much because it is easily adjustable with one hand on the fly, but because it sits neatly and firmly around my occipital bone. Granted, this often results in readjustment at each donning of the lid, but feels very secure. In addition, the cradle can be set at two levels by simply popping the retainers into a different pair of holes. When winter brings on the thermal liner, this may be a boon.
The straps take the familiar form. They feel a little broader than on some cheaper helmets, the clips close with a firmer click – although this could be because they are new – but, best of all, the retaining rings are very solid. All holds secure.
There’ll be those who’d like to see an alternative set of pads finer fit, but, for me, that would not be a deal-breaker, given the other options.
All in all, the Kali Therapy Century had adorned three differently shaped heads and fitted all well, with a little fettling.
A wipe every now and again has kept things smart. I’ve given the pads a hand-wash – Velcro type fastening are not a popular partner in the washing machine for more delicate fabrics. However, they’ve gone back into place when thoroughly dry. Proprietary sprays are available for freshening things up inside, if you wish. I have washed the padding both by hand and machine, and it seems to have no il-effects.
Muggy summer days will bring a sweat up, but then they do that with any helmet. Ventilation seems to work well, especially in a more road orientated position. It was a little less effective when more upright. However, one-helmet cyclists should not be put off by that, well, not too much anyway. In this respect, I can’t say that performance is vastly different to similar models.
At a slightly higher rrp – though available more cheaply on some well-know retail sites (price often dependent on colour choice) you may well find, with a bit of Googling, Kask’s Mojito Road Sport, Bell’s Stratus, and Met’s Strale – amongst others. All promise specific gains, but, having worn the latter two, it seems to me that the Kali Therapy is competitively priced.
Great fit, though some others have a similar range of adjustments; likewise, anti-rotation technology; weight-wise, for major loss you need to pay significantly more.
In a competitive market, the Kali Therpay is definitely worth considering for road duties with gravel potential. Fit, alone, for me, is a major plus.