Out of the box, the Invader delivers on its promise as an exceptionally lightweight lid. The overall shape is appealing to most of our riders and is not overly bulky, with chiseled ventilation intake and exhaust ports, and a nicely shaped visor that’s in just the right spot. The red details provide just enough color to pop, yet still leave the helmet dark enough to be considered stealthy. Coverage is ample in the rear, and while there is some flex in the chin bar, there is more than enough to have us believe Kali’s strength claims without intentionally crash testing it ourselves.
Our test Invader came in the smaller of two shell sizes with three different pad sets to fine-tune the fit. While the pads are easy to switch in/out and fit really snug when installed, the shell was still too small for all but our most pin-headed of riders. The Invader should have worked fine with the larger shell for our testers, but it’s a reminder that getting the sizing right is just as important as the construction quality for overall performance. Because the helmet was on the small side, riders also experienced some unpleasant rubbing from the cheek pads and around their temples on longer rides. We’re confident that this wouldn’t be an issue on properly fitted helmets. The ventilation is spot on, however, which keeps the helmet’s internal temp cool and comfortable.
The Invader provides a FidLock magnetic strap closure, which takes some time to get used to using if you’ve not used one yet. It is far easier to use than any D-ring straps we’ve seen on full downhill rated helmets, and is every bit as secure in our testing experience. It is also easier to use one-handed than a traditional buckle, once you spend the time to learn the technique. We loved this feature on the trail to take the helmet off even on quick trailside pit stops.
While the strap itself is minimalist in construction, attached only with two small plastic nubs to the inside of the EPS foam it held up to our testers thrashing with no remonstrance. We tested the Invader with both shield-style sunglasses and goggles, and had positive results with both. Since this helmet splits the difference between genres, it makes sense that Kali designed it to work well with a wide range of eye protection.
Kali is best known for finding ways to make crazy-lightweight helmets that are safe enough to meet or exceed the most stringent impact tests in the world. The Invader fits that mold to a T. It takes the best ventilation and weight savings advantages of a trail helmet, and adds a high-tech chin bar to increase the protection factor. It won’t be the helmet we use for testing our skills on the gnarliest gravity-fueled rides, but it gives us an option that’s more protective than our half shell lids do.
The minimal weight penalty will be worth the peace of mind alone for a huge cross section of trail riders. At $225, the Kali Invader is a fraction of the cost of a trip to the emergency dental chair, and it’s a hell of a lot more comfortable, too. The Invader will be seeing more miles on our favorite technical trails because in addition to its chiseled good looks understated satin finish, and solid on the trail performance, front teeth are always in style.
Weight: 650 grams;