The Kali Protectives Phenom road helmet offers some great technical features in its design and construction, with decent comfort levels for its wearer, but it does lack a little in the user experience for something so costly.
These days helmet manufacturers talk more about watts and speed than they do about safety, which given the primary focus of a helmet seems a little odd to say the least. Not so with the Kali Protectives Phenom helmet which incorporates features such as a crumple zone and an exoskeleton to spread the energy around the helmet more effectively than competitors' offerings.
Short of smashing my face into the ground at high speed it's very hard to test these claims from manufacturers so in this instance I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they do what they are supposed to. It's got to be a good thing that these companies are looking to make improvements to head safety (feel free to discuss in the comments...)
Now, with that in mind lets take a look at the Phenom in use.
With its 23 vents and carbon fibre accents it certainly gives the impression of a lightweight helmet. In use its weight is barely noticeable, and the vents provide plenty of airflow over the head.
However, I found the front bumper a little too snug for my liking. It's a full length fleecy bar that wraps around the entire front of the head, and while it soaks up juices I think it disrupted the cooling process. I would have preferred a separated pad instead. The pads are replaceable and Kali do provide a bug net in the box, perfect for those riverside rides.
The retention system is very basic. No big efforts have gone into making it bling, however it does work, and it holds the Phenom down well. It adjusts via a dial at the back; nothing too ground-breaking here, but, again, it does its job well.
I found the helmet to be comfortable and airy, and easy to get along with, though it's without its foibles. The bug net was a nice addition and came in very useful during summer rides with midges in full effect. The vents provide lots of air and did a good job at keeping me cool, though I think this would have been better with a slight change in pad design.
At its full RRP it's certainly not cheap. I feel that the retention system lets the price down a little - it does feel very basic in look and use. Having said that it helps keep the weight down and it does work, so overall it's a good value offering.
Good safety features, perhaps at the cost of design flourishes & a touch pricey; yay for the included bug net
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Make and model: Kali Protectives Phenom Helmet
Size tested: 54-58cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A lightweight racing helmet, sporting some pretty funky lines.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
COMPOSITE FUSION™ PLUS technology
Included Aero/Winter cover
Micro Fit system allows a simple and efficient fit adjustment
Safety compliance: EN 1078, CPSC
BUMPER FIT™ system
Included Winter/Bug liner
Featuring COMPOSITE FUSION™ PLUS technology, this helmet's foam combines the benefits of COMPOSITE FUSION™ (EPS foam molded directly into the rigid helmet shell, eliminating gaps between shell and EPS) with a layer of pyramidal EPS cones within the cross-section of the EPS liner.
It kept the head cool, but could have been cooler with a different bumper arrangement.
No signs of wear.
Good; 250 grams is pretty decent.
Weight and vents combined well. Could have been better with different bumper.
At full RRP it's quite expensive, but it doesn't feel like it should be - the fittings aren't are premium as the price tag. But the underlying technology is all good and probably worth the extra cost.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Hmmm tricky. It was light, well ventilated and provided a bug-free riding experience. I didn't crash it though so can't comment on that aspect.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's very well vented and the bug net was a big plus point for me.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's not really a dislike, but the strapping/buckles felt a little cheap for the price -saying that though, they did work.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Quite possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, it does its job well.
Use this box to explain your score
Comfy helmet, packed with tech, but comfort could be improved as could the 'feel' of the thing.
Age: 37 Height: 176cm Weight:
I usually ride: WyndyMilla Massive Attack, Raleigh SP Race, Hoffman BMX My best bike is: WyndyMilla Massive Attack
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Adventure-packing, crossing-countries