Product Test: Kali Chakra Plus Helmet
We asked a number of bike-shop helmet specialists what their best-selling helmet was, and the most common answer was the $49.95 Kali Chakra Plus. That was reason enough for us to get our heads into one to see what everyone was so excited about.
The Kali Chakra Plus uses a polycarbonate shell that is bonded to a low-density EPS foam liner in a process they call Composite Fusion. Inside is an integrated airflow system. The shell and liner have expanded rear coverage, and the visor is designed to break away on impact. The helmet meets both the EN 1078 and CPSC standards for bicycle helmets. The Chakra Plus uses traditional helmet retention straps and a dial-in inner frame to keep the helmet from shaking. The forward-facing vents have bee-catcher nets. The Kali Chakra Plus gets more graphic treatments than the standard model and is available in white, black, green or blue. Our medium/large helmet weighed 12.2 ounces.
Field test results:
The medium/large helmet easily fitted our fattest-headed crewer, and the retention straps and inner frame were easy to adjust and dial in. The helmet’s weight is light enough for epic-length adventures, and that is with the shell and liner’s extended rear coverage. Ventilation is good, but in super-hot conditions, riders might want to carefully cut the bug mesh away to improve airflow (at the risk of a bee sting).
The visor has a duckbill shape that we’ll eventually trim to give us slightly more forward visibility. The adjustment knob in the rear is on the large side, and if you wear a hydration pack high, there is a chance of snagging the pack’s hand-carry loop on the knob. The solution to this problem is to lower your pack or cut off its loop.
So why does this helmet sell so well? Looking at it, feeling it and riding in it all give you the impression that it’s a $100 helmet. If you don’t tell the other riders how much you paid for the Chakra Plus, we won’t either.