Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (4)
REVIEW

The Kali Invader 2.0 Helmet

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Date Aug 22, 2022
Reading time

Uniqueness

Sometimes I think shipping companies are out to torment me. Not in the standard way they torment everyone else by delivering your clearly and correctly addressed package to your neighbours (or the laundromat two blocks away), but uniquely me. Case in point, as previously reported, version 2.0 of Kali's trail full-face helmet, the Invader, arrived at my door the very day after I'd ruptured my Achilles. I was wearing a walking boot with shims when my daughter photographed me wearing it, and my first few getting to know it rides were on a stationary trainer on my little patio.

Getting my sweat on while trying to spin myself back into riding shape, I quickly appreciated that this is the most breathable full-face I've worn. Between pads and a retention dial it was very easy to get the fit dialed in. I like how the chin strap hangs, and I love FidLock buckles so there's a win. I wish the Invader came in some of the sweet Artist-Series graphics they're presenting with their open lids but the two-toned grey colourway works for me.

All I needed to do was add a bit of technical information about the light weight, their low-density-layer (LDL), their "please leave the testing to us, but if you do crash..." lifetime crash replacement policy, and hit on the Kali design philosophy by linking back to my 2018 piece Bike Helmets Are Too Hard. Then compare the Invader to my favourite removable chin bar full-face, the Leatt DBX 3, mention the Invader comes in four colours and sells for 225 USD, insert some photos, and that's another helmet review checked off.

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (10)

I've been wearing the Invader 2.0 for every trail ride since I've been back on my bikes. Lots of technical climbs under my belt and I'm starting to get some good technical North Shore descents in now too. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (1)

Why wear a full-face on every ride? Frankly, I can't afford to look any more like this guy than I already do. I also want my daughter to wear one and she knows hypocrisy when she sees it.

I don't ever intentionally test helmets by smoking my head into the ground so the simple fact is that most helmet reviews, photos aside, probably could be conducted with a long sweaty effort on a stationary trainer. Maybe a handful of efforts just to make certain the pad sets aren't going to disintegrate. It sounds lame, but in most cases that process would likely be sufficient. What's to be learned from trail testing? Even if I do stack, it's only one unique data point and not repeatable. Maybe I discover a hot spot after a few hours on the bike, but that's a known issue for me that had me switch to pad-fit open lids long ago and apparently it affects almost no one else.

The thing is, such a test does not tell the whole story in the case of the Invader 2.0. I don't think anyone who routinely wears a full-face will be able to properly appreciate this lid without going and riding it on the trails. Yes, it's breathable in the way you'd expect a California-designed and tested trail lid to be, and anyone who looks at it can see the abundant vents for passive cooling while grinding up climbs. But what sets it apart from any other full-face lid I've worn is just how well I can hear. Everything.

Kali Invader 2 Helmet NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I love magnetic FidLock buckles on helmets. It's something I never think about until I'm wearing a helmet with a regular clip or D-ring and it's a feature I'd pay the upcharge for on any lid.

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (6)

A properly slack short travel bike is pure giggles to ride. Except when you get in over your head. Then it's nice to have some extra protection. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

Kali Invader 2 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

You've probably seen Kali's Armourgel Low Density Layer (LDL), indicated by the blue dots in the liner that are claimed to reduce rotational impact forces by up to 25%, and reduce low-g linear forces by up to 30%.

Superior Sound Quality

Wearing the Invader, as breathable as it is, is not like wearing an open lid. The two pads in the chin bar hugging your cheeks make that clear. Like my Leatt with the chin bar in place, it means I can get a really nice fit without any of the brain pain I get around hour two of a ride when wearing a helmet that relies on a retention system to keep it in place. It is more breathable than the Bell Super lineup or Leatt DBX. It's also less physically notable to the wearer.

I will admit that we've been getting some looks climbing up Fromme with my daughter and wife riding up in their open lids, thanks to removable chin bars, and me in my full-face. Mountain bike fashion has reached a new level of performance art over the last couple of years and it's ever more obvious who's dressing their role and who doesn't give a shit. I wear a full-face on every ride, and since I've been back riding, I've worn the Kali Invader.

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (3)

When listening to friends or nature it really is just like wearing an open lid. I've never had a similar experience with a full-face.

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (11)

For those that like to hear the buzz of their rear hub, or want to ensure good communication with other trail users, the Kali Invader 2.0 is a win. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

Where the Invader is unique compared to other full-face helmets, and unnoticeable compared to a open lid, is the way that sound comes through. Worn back-to-back against my Leatt, the difference is amazing and compared to my DH full-face, a 7iDP Project 23, even more so. I can have a conversation with my daughter on the trail as if I was wearing an open lid. Same with my ability to interact with other trail users; I can hear everything that's said to me as if I'm wearing a bucket. When stopped, I can hear all the ambient sounds of the forest, no anechoic chamber here.

For folks whose key dislike of wearing a full-face is their inability to judge speed because they can't hear the wind in their ears or the loud buzz of their boutique rear hub, consider that complaint cancelled. Your high-engagement Hydra is now as awesome or antagonizing as it would be while wearing your XC helmet. Really, other than those two little chin pads, the Invader removes any excuse not to wear a full-face other than fashion.

Kali Invader 2 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (6).JPG

My Leatt DBX 3 is fully retired now. The Kali Invader 2.0 breathes notably better with the chin bar installed and feels more solid without the chin bar quick releases.

Kali Invader 2 Helmet NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

When I'm sucking wind up a steep climb on my single speed my breathing doesn't feel restricted and there's no hot air blowback like you get from a less-vented lid.

Visor Adjustment

I had a request in the comments below to add photos of the various visor adjustment options. The visor indexes into three positions (low, mid, high).

High & Lower 'Quality' Feel

One of my friends who tossed on my Invader said that it felt "cheap" compared to his full-face - a Troy Lee Designs D4 Carbon. And, well, the Kali is relatively "cheap" at about 1/3rd the price but that's not really what he meant. This is a full-face helmet meant for trail riding. Like my kid's Super 3R or my Leatt DBX 3.0, it's a replacement for a standard open lid, not something you'd wear on your 8" travel bike while lapping double black trails in the bike park or racing the Dunbar Summer Series. It feels lightweight and airy, and because it is those things, it feels less solid compared to my 7iDP. For the record, Kali makes some wicked top-end DH & park full-face helmets like their Shiva 2.0 Carbon. It's a different animal: the Kali Invader weighs 748 grams on my scale.

The flip side is that compared to other trail full-face lids, the Invader is both lighter and more solid feeling thanks to the fixed chin bar instead of the added weight, complexity, and fragility of making it removable. The unibody construction allows the chin bar of the Invader 2.0 to pass motorcycle testing. Which is just a cool factoid, clearly this is not a DOT-approved moto helmet.

A couple other safety features worth noting are Kali's super soft and flexible visors that stay in place while riding but bend, flex, and pop out of the way with ease so they don't become an injury mechanism in a crash. The aforementioned LDL rubber bumpers are there to absorb bumps that don't create enough force to activate the helmet's foam. It goes back to Kali's philosophy of getting softer materials into our helmets.

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (7)

Up, down, and across. For the trail user seeking extra chiclet coverage for technical terrain you aren't going to find a better match than this helmet. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (2)

There are moments, especially on tamer trails in the hot weather we've been having, where I'd prefer an open lid. But for me it's not worth the trade-offs of a convertible full-face.

Kali Invader 2 Full Face NSMB Andrew Major (9)

Protective gear is a personal choice. Still, a reminder that the Invader is a replacement for your open face all mountain helmet. It is not a DH lid. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

Kali does two shell sizes for the Invader, an XS-M and a L-XXL. This is increasingly common in DH full-faces as well, for example my 7iDP Project 23, even if the company has additional sizing SKUs, as the difference is made up with the pad set. Each Kali Invader 2.0 includes three sets of different-sized cheek pads, a range of helmet pads, and then uses the retention system to micro-adjust fit. I usually wear a medium helmet and I'm in the XS-M Invader. It took a little bit of trial and error and now the fit is perfect with the retention system just lightly touching.

As someone who rides mountain bikes in a full-face all the time, I'd love to see other companies bringing competing products to market. Yes, there's a huge range of adjustability with the fit of the Kali Invader 2.0 but there are still differences in fit from one company's shell to another. Also, I think it would enhance interest in this take on the trail full-face if more companies were pushing it. On acoustics alone, I don't see myself going back to a lid with a removable chin bar.

For more information about the Kali Invader 2.0, you can check out their website. It comes in four colourways, and sells for 225 USD.

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Comments

Squint
Squint
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Ride.DMC bishopsmike

This was my first choice when shopping for a FF lid a while back, but couldn't lay my hands on one in person anywhere in Metro Vancouver, and I have a rule about putting a helmet on my head before buying.

Pretty happy with my Trigger (haven't noticed any hearing issues) but certainly going to take a look at this one again when it's time to replace it, if I can find one.

100% with you on FF all the time, I've broken teeth falling off a bike and do not recommend.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, my least favourite part of Kali and Leatt helmet reviews historically has been messages from local folks wondering if I know a stockist where they could try one on. 

———

There are a lot of reasons shops stock what they do - brand points or long terms from bike manufacturers like Trek or Giant or Specialized, ease of acquisition from a local distributor, and of course it’s very easy to sell products like Bell helmets and Maxxis tires. 

But, I’m consistently surprised that no one stocks Kali lids and, now, the Invader in particular.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Dogl0rd

100% with you on FF all the time, I've broken teeth falling off a bike and do not recommend.

I maybe arrived here for the wrong reasons (my desire not to be a hypocrite won over my sense of mountain bike fashion) but I’m not looking back now.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major ElBrendo

Pedalsport in Chilliwack stocks Kali. No that isn't metro van, but may help someone who lives further east.

I'm a big fan of the Invader and wear it full time. It's a bit of effort to dial in the fit but once you're there, it's so light and breathable, it all but disappears (compared to other FF's I've worn).

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

That’s great to know! Thank you. Call first to check stock obviously, but coupling a helmet fitting with a Vedder Mountain day trip sounds like a solid example of the ol’ two-birds / one tank of gas. 

Any recommendation for a burger-like-sandwich or sandwich-like-burger out that way for folks road tripping?

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I haven't been there yet, but hear only good things about Bubba's Big Bites. Good location for apres-Vedder.

With kids or newer riders, I also recommend checking out the Community Forest. Short laps on easy-yet-fun trails, or the option of an 800m climb/hike to some loam.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 ElBrendo

Bubba's gets solid reviews. Cheers!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Field house brewing in Abbotsford has food that lives up to the beer. Not sure if there are currently sandwiches on thr menu but the pizza and tacos are awesome.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Not doubting you for a millisecond Pete, but if I’m driving to the wack’ to ride mountain bicycles I’m looking for a farm-to-table meat-between-wheat scenario with local greens as the finisher.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

For that, The Local Harvest comes to mind first.

ElBrendo
ElBrendo
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

Hah, we always seem to reply to each other on PB too! +1 for Pedalsport. Last fall I walked in intending to buy an invader, but both the v1 and v2 just weren't comfortable at all. I have a pretty typical head shape and a decent amount of hair so I was really surprised to feel every single one of those blue shock absorbers poking into my scalp.

The helmet was ridiculously light, and looked perfect for the blue trails I take my kids on, so I was pretty bummed out. One of the Pedalsport guys suggested the Giant Realm helmet (think the fox drop frame) for the 3/4 coverage and I love it. Enough protection to be comfortable doing dumb moves, not too warm for hot days and not too weird for easier riding. I can hear way better out of it than my old full face and a huge thing that's awesome is I can still yell loud enough for the kids to hear me up ahead.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

I'm enjoying the Pedalsport love. Is Dan still at the helm? Many, many years ago - back when 'Pinkbike' Mike Levy wrenched there actually, I used to deal with them quite a bit in distribution. I haven't been in there in forever and then some. 

------

Just for anyone reading, I have a friend who had the same issue (and does with many helmets) due to a bump on his head. We asked Kali and they said it was zero stress to remove one of the LDL bumpers ("blue shock absorbers") and actually that was the same word he got from Leatt (for the same issue). 

I haven't checked out Giant's lids in person. It's a good reminder - thank you.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

It's Dave now. He might read this - hi!

Saludos El Brendo, maybe one of these days we'll meet on the trail. You'll know. There's only enough room in this town for one Kali Invader-and-safety-glasses-rocking hombre.

Reply

ElBrendo
ElBrendo
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major cheapondirt

Hah, I'll see you with my dork helmet and enduro goggles!

Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

This is exactly the predicament I found myself in before purchasing my IXS Trigger FF.  I don't regret the purchase at all, but would have loved to have tried on the Kali Invader to see if it would have been a viable option.

Trying on a helmet before slapping down dollars is a must for me.

I have friends who have spent hundreds of dollars replacing an older TLD helmet with the newest version of the same helmet only to find out that they altered the mold (or something) on the newest model that changed how it fit.  Now they have like $400 less dollars in their pockets and uncomfortable helmets on their heads.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I've had a number of friends get bitten by this over the years. I think it's a little less of a concern when the helmet is largely pad fit (not just relying on shell shape with tiny padded touch points and a retention system) but you're right that the best practice is to try lids on.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Claude Bike

I've been using the V1 for almost 3 years now?  I don't use any other helmets anymore (but I've also had zero Whistler bike park days in that same timeframe, where I'd use a more beefy helmet).  The breathability really is very very good.  Came from using a Bell Super 3R and found I almost never took the chinbar off and storing it was a pain, so moved to a one piece design (which also *feels* safer?).

One of the hidden features of this helmet is how easily the cheek pads pop in and out while nicely fitting in a pocket.  With the cheek pads out, the breathability is almost indistinguishable from an open face helmet.  I started taking them out just for climbs on really hot days... but found the helmet still seems to fit so well and snug without them that I've started leaving them out a lot more recently...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

That is interesting. I regularly remove the cheek pads when climbing in the 7iDP, or at least I was. It's strictly a park/shuttle helmet for me now that I'm in the Invader and I don't really/regularly do either of those things.  

I simply hadn't considered doing it with the Kali as it's been comfortable enough even on hot days but yes, the pads are so small and snap out so easily why wouldn't you?! A great hack for the long climbs. Thanks!

I wish that Kali did a kid-sized (one smaller shell) Invader 2.0 as I'd have my daughter in one for sure. The Super 3R has been a great helmet but she basically always has the chin bar installed on trail so the extra breathability and simplicity of the Invader would be awesome. 

With the XS pad setup in mine, it fits her head safely, but the small 3R has a lower profile.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes, a smaller Invader would be great.  Both my kids used to use Bell Super R's because with the small size available along with the dial adjustment, it was the only proper breathable full face helmet that fit a kids head (sorta).  You only have to spend a few minutes in a trail network parking lot or a kids MTB lesson/group to see how many other parents have realized this as well, haha.

But... I bought one of my sons an IXS Trigger FF MIPS helmet for Christmas.  First proper trail full face that fits little heads really, really well... like a true proper fit!  Not quite as breathable as the Invader but still very good and if you can believe it... even lighter!  I'm still amazed every time I pick up that helmet.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, Super R lids everywhere. Also know some kids riding in the DH as they liked the fit better.

I will check out the Trigger for sure. Cheers!

Reply

khai
khai
5 months, 1 week ago
0

>> I wish that Kali did a kid-sized (one smaller shell) Invader 2.0 as I'd have my daughter in one for sure. The Super 3R has been a great helmet but she basically always has the chin bar installed on trail so the extra breathability and simplicity of the Invader would be awesome.

With the XS pad setup in mine, it fits her head safely, but the small 3R has a lower profile.

=====

It's not a kid sized Invader, but this is a pretty nice looking option.  Sweet graphic that she'd love, too.  Too bad it still has the same drawbacks as additional weight and complexity from the removable chinbar: https://kaliprotectives.com/collections/youth/products/maya-full-face-child-artist-series?variant=39520982827102

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Cr4w

always been a fan of Kali but they really need to hire a designer for their full face helmets...  the low visor is a deal killer right there.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Can you explain what you mean by “the low visor” JW? You’d prefer the mounting points to be higher on the lid? It’s very adjustable (I generally ride it tilted as in the photos but it tilts much higher) but I assume that’s not it. 

I like that it’s super-soft for crashing but otherwise never gave it a seconds thought.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Could you include a shot of it set at max upward tilt?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I’ll grab that for you in an hour. Thanks for asking.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Cr4w bishopsmike

If you refresh the article I added a short section under the header Visor Tilt that has a carousel of images. 

Cheers!

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've been using the previous version for almost three years now and the visor has 3 settings: Low, which is great when you're riding into the sun, but you can see a smidge of the visor while riding in this position.  The helmet also doesn't look it's best in this position if that's a concern.  The second position or mid position is where I keep it most of the time... stays out of view and looks right... also allows a bit better access to the forehead vents.  The third or high position is really just google stash position and I only ever use it for goggle rides... which is rarely.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

2.0 has the same - three indexed visor settings. I added a short section to the article under the header Visor Tilt along with a carousel of images. 

I usually have the visor in the mid-setting but I have had it adjusted up by brush a few times and certainly don't mind riding with it in the high setting either or notice any difference with airflow. I probably look like a bigger dweeb than usual though.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

didn't know there were adjustments...  #2 setting is pretty good.  #1 looks like what a Whistler gorby would use

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Doesn’t a proper gorby have a busted off visit on a 20 year old Prime lid?! Or is that a Joey? Or is that a Fred?

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Fred is cool

Reply

lamar454
Peter Appleton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 IslandLife

Kali has some great things going for them in terms of safety, but this is a chinese owned helmet company going for pricepoint. Design, style and marketing therefore falls to the back of the list. Brad does his best with safety but his hands are tied as someone else is calling the shots and whether or not design dollars will be spent.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 IslandLife Kos

I don’t know about any of that, as far as I’m aware Brad/Kali are interchangeable.

I do know there are limits of what you can do with shaping helmets while using softer materials. That’s why their vents are usually more square and their less expensive helmets usually have fewer vents than competitors.

They’re also doing some really neat stuff with limited issue lids with artist graphics (linked in the article) so that tempers what you’re saying?

Anyway, as noted in the piece, I fully recognize that dressing for mountain biking is performance art. I think the Invader looks good but others are welcome to disagree.

———

Also, as to the China comment. I actually do, in my life, actively try to avoid purchasing products from the PRC, but that’s all but impossible at this point if you want to own a good mountain bike lid.

Put another way, what non-Chinese-made helmet are you wearing?

Reply

chris
Chris
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Residing in a hot climate, this helmet intrigues me for its class leading breathability as a potential paradigm shift from open face to ff.  There were a lot of early reports of pressure points and discomfort in V1 and no lbs has a sample to try on for fit.  You didn't have any discomfort/pressure issues?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I never tried on a V1 so can’t say how the two compare. I will say I’m very sensitive to pressure points. As I mentioned, before switching to full faces I was generally only mountain biking in pad fit helmets - or helmets with retention systems that compliment pad fit - because that resolved the intense headaches I would get after a couple hours of pedaling.

Zero issues wearing this lid for hours of riding. I was in it for over 4hrs one day last week and took it off twice. 

.

One thing about reviewing gear that I find weird is how it highlights weird anatomical stuff (aren’t we all just our own unique humans…). Apparently I have quite high ears compared to other people? 

There are quite a few helmets - including this Kali - where the retention system almost doesn’t clear them. I’ve never talked to anyone else with the same concern/issue and it’s with enough lids I assume someone with higher-enough ears than mine would be aware they always need to try on lids.

Otherwise between the range of includes pads I wouldn’t have qualms about ordering one direct.

Reply

chris
Chris
4 months, 3 weeks ago
0

While on a trip I happened to find a shop that had these in stock .  Both my buddy and I experienced this tensioning mechanism/ear adjacency nuisance.  Never ever had that in any other helmet.  Maybe I could have learned to live with it but it was noticeable and bothersome and I couldn't adjust around it so it was a deal breaker for me.  Bummer.

Reply

khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I tried on a V1 but the shape/lack of retention system didn't jive with my round head and it wouldn't stay put (I have this issue with a LOT of helmets, not just the V1 Invader).

I tried on the V2 as soon as it became available a little over year ago and it's been awesome.  No hotspots or pressure points, the fit is excellent, and I agree with everything that Andrew has said re: ventilation and hearing.  Interestingly, I was very surprised that when I mounted my light on the chinbar I noticed that it felt a bit harder to breathe.  While it does sort of cover the big hole in front, there's loads of space in between the light and the hole as well as above/below the chinbar - but I did notice it.  It's not a big deal but that surprised me.  Certainly not a fault with the helmet itself, and perhaps more of a testament to how "not there" it really feels...

I do wish that the little rubber nubs the are used for cheekpad attachment were more robust - well, not so much the rubber nubs themselves but rather the whole attachment system.  I haven't had any issues other than the nubs sometimes disappearing into the foam pad when I wash them so I have to find them and re-push them back through the holes, but it strikes me as a weak point in the design.  I assume it was chosen for lightness and it's likely that most people don't wash their pads/liner as often as I do.

On that note the liner ripped one day when I was (somewhat carelessly) removing it to wash and I was pretty bummed.  Then I remembered that the helmet came with a BIG bag of spare pads, so as a hail Mary I went looking to see if they included a spare.  Along with multiple thicknesses of cheek pads they actually included TWO spare liners!  I've had the liner go on several helmets and have never successfully purchased a replacement - so this is a massive plus and Kali should be given huge props for the foresight.

If anyone in the S2S area is looking to try one on, I got mine at Bike Haven in Squamish.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

What light mount are you using Khai? Currently deciding how I’ll deal with that.

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khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I use this one.  Apparently it's a kid out in the Maritimes with a 3D printer.  There are lots of options that are essentially the same thing, but this was the first one I became aware of and like the fact that it's a kid with some initiative, making them "custom" for each helmet model.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks Khai, I'll check it out.

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RG
RG
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Kali has a light mount for the Invader.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

@RG, they do but one of the advantages of having a chin bar is mounting the light lower. It makes a notable difference in visibility in terms of shadows cast on the trail and especially if you're riding in rain or fog.

khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 RG

// Intended to comment on RG's post re: the Kali mount

Holy crap - $6?!!!  A pic showing the mount on the helmet would be nice, but DAMN...  Another "well done!" to Kali for supporting their product and not bleeding the customer for every little thing!

RG
RG
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 khai

@ khai: I did some digging. Pic of the Kali mount

@Andrew Major: Interesting, I did never think about the influence of the mounting hight of the lamp. 
But speeking about safety. I think the chin mount will be much more of an issue in an accident than the Kali mount. I think the breakaway with a zip tie will not really work.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Certainly, that's on my mind (whether it's held on with a zip-tie or double-sided tape). With my current setup off the side, on my 7iDP, I've had a couple of off-the-bikes that resulted in the light contacting the ground. 

With my Bontrager light, the lamp actually popped off its clamp. With my Blackburn light, the GoPro mount broke. I think I prefer the former but in either case, it was fine. 

I was thinking with the Bontrager light mounted to the chin bar adapter the light/mount failure point breaks away easy enough that it wouldn't become a mechanism of injury. But there's more pondering to be done, which is why I'm interested.

Here's the Kali mount in action on my open lid some years back. You can see the Bontrager light mounts to a plastic clip that is then bolted to the GoPro adapter. 

khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks for that - looks like a nice mounting option!  I do prefer the chinbar for the lowered angle but even more for the lowered weight.  On top of the helmet even a "not heavy" light puts a reasonable amount of strain on the neck.  Breakaway isn't something I'd considered too carefully though...  [Given the same breakaway force] I think the opportunity for increased injury with a top mounted light is significantly higher than a chinbar mounted light -but odds are the breakaway force of a zip tie is higher than that little clip and elastic loop.  I've not seen any studies or stats on breakway force of a zip tie but the one I used is fairly small.  Still higher than I'd like to subject my neck to (which ideally is zero), but I don't foresee the probability of a crash situation where that placement is more of a risk than the negatives of a top of the helmet mounted light.  Still, I may think about replacing the zip tie with a smaller/weaker one.

This is a great discussion!

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

@Khai that's an interesting point regarding the mechanism of injury/risk of injury with a light mounted. Certainly adding a light adds a not-net-zero risk that the helmet isn't going to do its proper job when crashing. I guess add that to the additional risks that night riding already brings. 

Whether on my chin bar or on top of my lid I'm certainly going to consider how much force it takes to pop the light off.

Thanks!

RG
RG
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

True that about the discussion.

I have a Kali Maya and I love it. The light mount there is on top of the visor (yes a very old 1st generation). I just need to tighten the neck retention a little and then I have no issue with the weight.

So for me I don't see an issue with the light on top of the head, apart from the light angle (as I am not aware of this issue, I will test this with the bar mountet light).

In addition to the breakaway force of a zip tie, the installation on the chinbar also worries me because of the proximity to the throat and chest/collarbone.
I assume that Kali has put some thinkin in the light mount regarding the breakaway force.

oldmanbike
OldManBike
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Just chiming in to say that I appreciate your discussing here (and also linking to your earlier discussions) of the concussion-reduction features of the helmet. Granted, that's more easily done in a review of a Kali which has such features than for, say, an Urge which doesn't. But, still, it's appreciated.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 OldManBike Doug M.

We (NSMB) always try to point out that there are huge holes yet to be filled in when it comes to concussion research and as with everything mountain bicycle it can be impossible to separate marketing from science. 

But, I think Kali-Brad’s quest to put softer materials in lids just makes sense. Whether it’s LDL (or Turbines in Leatt lids) or forgoing vents on their more budget lids in order to use softer foam. 

Sometimes they’re not the most stylishly shaped lids but there’s a reason for that. 

Anyways, caveats aside - thanks!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I also wanted to mention that in terms of concussions from slamming one’s chin/jaw into the ground a chin bar is probably always going to be better than no chin bar. Looking at the mechanisms for a fair number of concussions my friends have had riding I don’t think any amount of technology in their open-lid would have helped.

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oldmanbike
OldManBike
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yes, agreed on huge research holes.

I also like Kali's focus on dealing with lower-g forces through "softer" designs (LDL, dual density foam, less rigid visors, etc). And a company that stakes its identity on making helmets that protect you better from concussions, like Kali, is a company I'm way more inclined to trust in the face of research-holes uncertainty.

(That said, I personally have more faith in floating-shell designs like mips spherical than designs that rely on your head hitting the squishy thing like LDL or Turbines.)

My hunch has always been that, on balance, halfshells are better for reducing concussion risk during trail riding than fullfaces are. My theory being that wearing helmets that are lighter, have less leverage to whip your head, and cause a bit less fatigue will overall result in fewer concussions than ones that protect from chin-first hits. But the data to actually answer that question for mountain-biking doesn't exist to my knowledge.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I can logic through what you’re saying assuming both helmets are made the same way of the same material and the actual contact point is the covered by the half-shell.

It’s anecdotal, and may even be terrain specific (steep jank / greasy sport surface) but what I was trying to say is a lot of my friends on-bike concussion experiences have come from contacting the ground with part of their face their helmet was not covering. 

My guess is as specific research of mountain bicycling concussions increases we’ll see that a lot of them actually come from the impact of folks slamming their jaw/chin into the ground. 

The old “I got a concussion and my helmet is fine” is not always be because said lid was too hard or under-sphericalled. Rather I think sometimes (often?) it’s because there was no helmet contact (again, 100% anecdotal based on a small sample size riding the North Shore)

———

Based on hockey and football research I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the UCI mandating mouth guards for DH and EWS racing in the future. Imagine how well that will go down? Hahahahaha

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oldmanbike
OldManBike
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes, I think all that's reasonable.

You think mandating mouthguards for DH and enduro racing would cause a stir, just imagine if they mandate it for kids' leagues like NICA. Much drama.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 OldManBike the-couch

Hahaha, the nice thing then is we’d probably see some cool super-light comfy and breathable mouth guards?

Pro sports be damned, nothing like parents spending to get their kid a leg up in the world of amateur sport to drive innovation. 

Surprised we haven’t had a teenaged doping scandal or e-doping cycling scandal yet.

Timer
Timer
5 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've been wearing a mouth guard while riding for many years. Its a customized one, made by the dentist (my contribution towards his next Yeti, obviously).

Its so breathable and comfy, i hardly notice it, even when pedaling hard over long periods. It does alter speech a little, so maybe not ideal for giving interviews post-race.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 1 week ago
0

@Timer so do you just put it in for DH sections or do you climb with it as well?

Timer
Timer
5 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

@Andrew Major

I leave it in on the climbs. It doesn’t affect breathing at all. One could probably race XC in one, considering that even pro footballers (soccer) sometimes use them.

The only hassle is keeping it clean when taking it out for snacks while riding.

This is the one I use: https://www.erkodent.de/en/products/playsafe/

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months ago
0

Thanks, Timer,

Do you wear one with a chin bar or with an open lid? 

I'm interested in this rabbit hole. Going to look into it further.

khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Slopestyle riders wear mouthguards, but their runs are pretty short.  Not full anaerobic short, but perhaps short enough that the tradeoff is worth it and the inhibited breathing isn't for long enough so as to cause sufficient oxygen debt to impact their run in a meaningful way.  I can tell you that I definitely considered getting a mouthguard after my concussion earlier this year and that the primary reason I never looked into it further is because I've been lazy about going to see my dentist.

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Briain
Briain
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major OldManBike khai RG

Just thought I'd throw my 2c in. Last season in English rugby the team that won the league credited a lot of their success on using mouth guards with microchips that gave the medical team live updates on howuch force the players were taking in tackles they said they were able to manage their team and get players off the pitch before they actually got concussed. Harlequins rugby. The second one which you can actually buy is this https://www.hitrecognition.co.uk/ which attaches to your helmet I think the raaw DH team are using them

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Neat; thank you for sharing!

khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Briain

This is absolutely fascinating, and I LOVE the fact that at least some teams in some sports are really starting to take concussions seriously!

rugbyred
Eric Van Sickle
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major khai Timer

I’ve been wearing a mouth guard for years while riding. 20 years of rugby, I feel weird not wearing one.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I've never been able to get Kali helmets to fit my conehead.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

What helmets do you find fit you best?

Helmets are so personal so it’s always good to know what works/doesn’t work for different riders. I should build a basic matrix actually… future project.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

POC and TLD tend to fit pretty well. Bell & Kali don't fit at all.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks! I haven't tried on a TLD lid in ages but POC doesn't really work for me - humans being humans.

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khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I tried on a TLD A3 after I bought my Invader (just because it had been on the list and I had tried damn near every other helmet on the market) and it fits very different from the A2.  It's probably the best fitting half shell I've tried on in years for my difficult melon.  I didn't buy it as I already had my Invader but if that Kali hadn't worked out I'd have been plenty happy in the A3 - even without the chinbar.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That is one benefit or negative of only wearing full-face helmets for trail riding, depending on your perspective. There are significantly fewer options to have to consider!

khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I was just looking for one that fit my round head but didn't slip down over my eyes when riding rough trail.  After trying on everything I could get my hands on I realized that full face helmets have the advantage of cheek pads to help prevent that slipping down.

NuclearNachos
Zach
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

How are you liking the R7 on that bike? Don't have many serious descents around here so want to see how it handles the shore haha

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 khai Zach

Manitou's 'Magic Toothpick' is awesome. I was drawn to it by their marketing claims that it's a top-level, lightweight, XC-race fork that you can also do whatever you want with (dirt jump?!). 

I'm running it with something around a 63-63.5° head tube angle and there's no notable binding through compression, which is an issue with some forks due to stanchion flex. It's smooth, proper-supportive, and it hasn't creaked. 

My review's not done - I still haven't taken it apart and I'm still not moving at full speed (full Andrew speed that is... whatever that means) - but I think anyone looking for a 120mm fork would be very happy with this one (if they can get over the 32mm stanchions). 

Oh, and I know I'm the only person on the planet who cares... but without a fender installed it clears a 29x2.8" WTB Vigilante with 'enough' extra space.

One issue I'll note is that if you're used to the wide stance of a modern Enduro fork it's not super confidence-inspiring when you look down. Coming off my 120mm SR Durolux EQ the R7 is firmer and more business-like off the top (which is neither better nor worse actually) but the big thing I notice is it looks so spindly. This is the only top-down shot I have right now but I'm sure you get the idea even if it's a bit blurry. 

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khai
khai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I love the "fact" that it looks just like [my memory of] the Manitou II.

I wanted one of those more than anything back in the day...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Oh yeah, graphically when I first saw the Mezzer all I could think was that if Manitou could go back in time and jump on the classic graphics ten years earlier... no they're great-looking forks. The Mezzer has the added benefit of looking MEAN whether you're on top of the bike or looking at it from further away.

Silver crown on the R7 is a nice touch though. 

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Emailsucks98
Scott Smith
5 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

@Andrew Major, sounds like you prefer the Kali over the Leatt 3.0? Fit comparisons? Thanks and speedy recovery!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 1 week ago
0

The fit is very, very similar Scott. If you're going to remove the chin bar for long climbs then the DBX 3.0 is my favourite removable chin bar trail lid I've used. It's a great helmet. Compared to the Leatt with the chin bar installed the Kali is notably more breathable and also the improvement in hearing is excellent.

I rode some of the hottest days we had on the Shore this summer with my full-face on climbing and descending. It's a trade-off compared to the Leatt on the longest, sweatiest, climbs. I personally think it's worth it to not have to faff with the extra latches, storing the bar, and etc. 

Hope that's helpful!

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Really the only thing that bothers me riding in my full face is drinking. I guess we need a water bottle with a long spout to reach in. Or a straight (as opposed to 90° nozzle on a camelback) nozzle on a bladder system. I did a big climb yesterday during the heat of the day. I wore my Fox dropframe, knee pads on and I sweat huge. But I don’t feel hot. I really like how the drop frame or full face fit snugly without being tight. Fits more like a toque than a snap back. I’ve tried Kali helmets in the past but they didn’t fit me well at all.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Everyone’s face is differently shaped but I have no issue drinking from a standard bottle with this lid on (drinking - not spraying myself).

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hbelly13
Raymond Epstein
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

One thing you did not address or have photos of was this helmet being used with goggles or glasses. I imagine one would get a pass from the DH/Enduro bros for wearing spectacles with a full face lid since this is not technically a DH helmet. Still can you comment on how the Invader (what a name!) did with whatever eye protection, performance, fogging up and storage when not being used?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Raymond Epstein

I cannot. I’ve tried many different glasses, and believe in eye protection but have not found anything that doesn’t fog up in regular use (even with an open lid) when I really need them. Then I have to store the freakin’ things and try not to scratch them while I ride. I’ve been close a couple of times - had some Ryder’s and some 100% glasses that were good until they weren’t and some old Italian made Specialized road glasses that did okay too, but I’ve given up and I don’t think any brand wants me testing their anti-fog marketing.

I’ll gear goggles with a DH lid in the park but otherwise not, so no help there either. This is a lid where I wonder, if you’re getting the goggles out it might be time for more helmet?

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I wear safety glasses with mine (v1.0). I haven't noticed any extra fogging, and there's space for the arms. Being Rx glasses though, I can't tell you anything about stashing them.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Relative "extra fogging" would be the only metric I'd be able to deliver as well. Thanks for this.

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cyclotoine
cyclotoine
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I'be been happy with my ixs trigger FF which is lighter than this helmet, but this one looks better ventilated. Nonetheless the trigger is still significantly hotter when climbing than my Smith Forefront 2. I am able to wear glasses with the Trigger which is what I choose for pedaling. I do use goggles if shuttling or riding the lift. I only ride "bike parks" maybe a couple times a year on my trail bike so I don't need a dedicated DH lid. I'm happy to see more companies pushing lightweight trail FF helmets.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Have you weighed your IXS? Just curious what they pop out at in real life. Very much considering trying one on my kid.

The weight in this article is my helmet on my scale… I think most helmet companies must be staffed by the same folks who imagined bicycle weights in ‘90s and carbon component weights in the ‘00s (I once managed to get an ‘04 FSA road crankset to match the claimed weight by removing the non-drive arm, big ring, crank bolt, and all but one chainring bolt).

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Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I have an IXS Trigger FF in the largest size available, using the thicker chin pads that it came with and it tips my scale at 684 grams.

That said, I have also used 1.5 packets of Sugru to mount a tripod camera mount on my chin bar which accounts for some of those grams - but I don't know how many.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you. That is impressively lightweight. 

Picture of said mount? I'm trying to decide how to mount my light on the Kali. Appreciate any inspiration.

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Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I have no idea how to post a photo here and I don't subscribe to any photo hosting sites like Photobucket anymore - but I can copy & paste a link to the video I got the idea from.  

https://youtu.be/SUtwXFQMA6w

I think if you google "Sametop Tripod Mount Adapter" you'll be able to find it.

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Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Ripbro
Ripbro
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

My S/M trigger is just under 600 grams, it’s crazy. Also returned the MIPS version as it was noisy.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That’s interesting, presumably “loud” in a way that has something to do with MIPS or their integration of the system?

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silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

+1 for the pics of the camera mount, I'd also like to see it.

I also love my Trigger FF. It's breathable enough for 11.5/12 months of the year, i think. Hearing is a bit of an issue though. Only gripe with it (and all foam chin-bar helmets) is how ruined the inside of the foam gets from resting on your bars. Nonetheless super light helmet, it looks sick, and fits goggles soooo well.

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Sethimus
Sethimus
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

does this fit more like a bell helmet or more like a giro?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That's an interesting question where I think if you'd ask two people you might get two answers. I tend to fit Giro helmets better than Bell - though the difference is much, much less pronounced than it used to be - and I fit Kali helmets well whether it's the pad fit Viva, or this semi-pad fit Invader, or the retention-fit Interceptor. Leatt helmets also fit me consistently well. 

Hope that answers the question well enough and without being too wishy-washy.

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a.funks
a.funks
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Having had quite a big smash yesterday whilst commuting (well I was actually going back to work to have a band practice after putting the kids to bed) I’m seriously thinking of one of these to replace my open face helmet for all us (my commute has some jumps etc).

Can you drink from a water bottle whilst wearing this?

Can you fit an Exposure light mount along the centre line to hold a Diablo?

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RG
RG
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Check the discussion of Andrew Major, khai and myself a bit further up about light mounts...

I hope you and your bike are ok after your smash.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

No problem drinking water from a standard bottle with the lid on, but ymmv.

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Wile_E.
Wile_E.
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks for this article, Andrew.  I landed on my face on 7th Secret last month wearing my beloved Leatt DBX 3 Enduro.  Unfortunately, my chin bar was sitting at home in the closet where I forgot it.  Not a bad crash and all teeth still accounted for, but it made me think of all the times I've gone down or watched friends crash with chin bars attached to the pack instead of the helmet.  I think for me the justification for a full-time full face is how stupid I feel crashing without the chin bar I should have remembered to bring or put on.  

I then saw your article and with my previously great experiences with Kali (and their crash replacement program) I picked up the Invader 2.0 AND a Maya 3.0 on sale for about the price of another Leatt.  I like the fact that if I think any part of the ride should have increased protection, I'll have the chin bar in place (Invader on) if I go down.  If it's super chill, I can take the Maya and if I land on my face, it will be less emotionally painful as it was a risk I committed to before leaving the house.

Ventilation is incredible on the Invader over the Leatt.  It took me a few minutes to get used to the sensation of wind in (what's left of) my hair that I didn't have on the Leatt unless I was going really fast.  Sweat management, however, may be better in the Leatt.  Any tips on managing sweat as I found the Kali more drippy on my one ride so far?

I also picked up the $6 USD breakaway accessory mount on the recommendation of Kali (they replied to my questions and follow up emails in minutes - a great sign of a company that cares).  The clip can go on either the Maya and Invader 2 and I like the breakaway idea.  It seems really secure on the Invader, but a little looser on the Maya.  Not sure why that is.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Interesting re. sweat management as I’ve told a few folks I don’t notice a difference. I’m keen to try a few sweatbands either way so I’ll be reporting back about how those work for riding (I mean we know they’re great for 80s jazzercise?!). 

The accessory mount works great for a very reasonable price. I’ll have some words about that shortly with night riding season upon us.

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