Kali Avatar DH Helmet

Kali, a San Jose based company, maker of fine helmets and protective gear, came out with the super light helmet for 2010. The Avatar – weighing in at only 849 grams! This has to be one of the lightest in the industry for a full face helmet. Mine weighed in at 852 grams, so production is on target.

At Sea Otter 2009 is where I had my first glimpse of the Avatar DH. Brad Waldon the engineer was still toying with ideas on how to make this a better helmet.
The Avatar was still in its infancy stage… fast forward to Interbike 2009, the Avatar was in its final stages prior to full production. Kali showcased their 2010 helmets and products which included different graphics of the Avatar.

I started using the Avatar this January 2010 during the Southridge Winter Series. It caught a lot of attention with its killer graphics. When asked about it, I would let the inquiring minds hold the Avatar to feel how light it is. They were all amazed! I used it on five races as well as local DH rides. The Avatar DH is comfortable. It has ample padding through out the inside of the helmet. Also with its 12 vents, your head stays cool while under pressure.

How does the Composite Fusion hold-up? I had first hand experience testing its protection and durability. During Winter Series #4, as I approached the lower rock garden I went OTB (Over the Bars), face/head first onto a rock…OUCH! The Pop’Out system for the visor worked as it was designed. Rather than just breaking from the tabs or forcing my head into another direction, the visor “popped out”; in my case it folded down over my goggles. The helmet absorbed the impact and I was not hurt. I was able to get back up and finish my run.

The Avatar uses the same patented technology as their other helmets called “Composite Fusion” in their protective gear. It is a proprietary ultra light molecular co-curing technology that produces stronger components, lighter and more precise fitting gear. Unlike common helmets which construct the shell and the energy absorbing foam (EPS) as two separate units, Kali’s Composite Fusion incorporates the EPS foam as part of the shell, thus transferring the impact energy into the EPS foam more efficiently. What does this all mean – increased protection, better for your head.

Product description:

The AVATAR™ Helmet is lightweight. Damn light. In fact, the only thing more interesting than its light weight is how strong it is.

Utilizing patented COMPOSITE FUSION™ in-molding technology for a perfect shell/liner connection, this full-face helmet also features a revolutionary mix of Kevlar, Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass in its shell materials. These materials form perfectly into a skeleton of expanded protection allowing the overall use of softer CONTEGO™ EPS foam. What’s it all mean? Light. Strong.

Weighing in at just 849 grams, the AVATAR™ helmet provides the new reference in lightweight, full-featured and expanded coverage downhill biking helmets.

Product Features:
• Tri-Weave Shell featuring Kevlar, Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass materials
• COMPOSITE FUSION™ Shell/Liner Connection
• Low density CONTEGO™ EPS foam for greater impact adsorption
• Integrated Airflow System
• Washable, adjustable, anti-microbial fit pads
• Breakaway visor

Safety Compliance:
EN 1078, CPSC

OSLO: Khaki Matte, White/Blue Shiny, Red Shiny
HH Vs. ROCK: Black Shiny

XS, S, M, L, XL
MSRP $279.00
Kali products are MtnBikeRiders.com Tested and Approved! To see more products from Kali, visit their site at www.kaliprotectives.com

Review Disclaimer

KHS SixFifty 606 review

MtnBikeRiders.com first heard about the KHS SixFifty 606 just before Interbike 2009. Excited with the 650b concept, I couldn’t wait to see it in person in Las Vegas. To date, there are only a few manufacturers entertaining this wheel size as part of their line-up. The 650b (27.5”) is the third option in mountain bike tire size. It falls in between the established 26” and the revolutionary 29er (29”). The 27.5” tire is fairly new in the current MTB arena however the tire size itself has been around for many years. The 650b is designed to roll faster than a 26” bike, yet is lighter than a 29er and will fit smaller riders.

650B” Full Alloy, Hydroformed Tubing, Gussetted Headtube
Fork X-Fusion Velvet, 650B
Headset Cane Creek A-Headset 1-1/8″
Rims Weinmann XM280 Disc Specific, Doublewall, Black, 650B
Hubs Alloy 6-Bolt Disc, QR, Cassette
Tires Kenda Nevegal Folding Kevlar, 650B x 2.1
Spokes 15G FT/14G RR Black Stainless, 32°
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX
Shifters Shimano Deore Pods w/Optical Gear Display
Chain KMC Z9000 w/Master Link
Crankset Truvativ Fire 44/32/22
Bottom Bracket Truvativ GXP outboard cartridge bearing
Cassette SRAM PG950 11-34, 9 Speed
Pedals Wellgo Alloy Platform
Seatpost Alloy micro-adjust
Saddle WTB Siverado
Handlebar FSA XC300 31.8, Alloy
Stem FSA OS190 31.8, 3D Forged
Grips PowerTools Dual Density
Brake Levers Hayes Stroker Ryde
Brakes Hayes Stroker Ryde, 6″ rotors
Color Gloss Red w/White Panels
MSRP: $1199


5’10” 195lbs, 40 year old male, mountain biking enthusiast.

SoCal’s finest: Aliso Woods, Whiting Ranch, Fullerton Loop, Santiago Oaks, Turnbull Canyon and Santa Ana Mtns. (Coal Canyon & Skyline).

The KHS SixFifty 606 was ready to ride from the day it was picked up from the KHS office. Already pre-assembled, there were only minor adjustments and changes that I had to make. First were the pedals. The SixFifty 606 came with the generic plastic flat pedals. To give it a thorough testing, I installed one of my Crank Bros Candy pedals. I then made an adjustment with the handlebar position pushing forward by a few degrees. With its initial set-up from the factory, I felt cramped the way it was laid back. Last were the throw on the brake levers of the Hayes Stroker Ryde. These seemed to be installed right “out-the-box” where they were too far for my index finger to reach. From here I was ready to go! Later on I installed Ergon GC2 grips with integrated bar-ends.

The KHS SixFifty 606is truly a good looking bike. The top tube is a unique hydro-formed shape that resembles a hexagon shape. It’s a solid hardtail frame. I love the color scheme of red, black and white. Looks very sharp and FAST!!!

The components paired up with the KHS SixFifty 606 would be considered mid-level. Far from the top of the line, however the performance was exceptional. First is the Hayes Stroker Ryde. Like its predecessors, it provided excellent stopping power. At high speeds I was able to control the corners on a fireroad descent with light dabs on the lever. The Shimano Deore shifters and the SLX rear derailleur performed really well. The shifting was precise and crisp. (during a race I had minor issues with shifting; it was later resolved with adjustments).

The X-Fusion Velvet is a very good fork. For a 100mm of travel it performed really well through the trails I frequent. Although geared for XC, I did take it on a few runs down technical/rocky sections such a Rock-it in Aliso and portions of the Troy Lee trail in Corona. Short of additional travel, it handled the well.

Rounding it off with Kenda Nevegals. All of my bikes are equipped with the Nevegals, so off the bat I’m already partial to it. Needless to say, it performed well to my standards.
Climbing: Ascents on the 650b, whether it was on a long grinding fireroad or technical switchbacks, the semi-big wheel motored up without any issues. You are centered in the best position to make a quick fore-to-aft shifts in upper body weight that make a difference in handling. I always felt balanced on the SixFifty 606. When I was crawling up tight switchbacks the 650b felt like a 26” bike. On sandy sections where I had struggled on my 26” bike, the semi-big tires motored through it. Finally, climbing on and off the saddle felt great… off course it’s a hardtail.

Descending: Through the various trails that I rode the SixFifty 606, there were never any descents where I was uncomfortable on. The bike felt great and rolled exceptionally well over rocks. Off course I didn’t ride it on a six inch (or more) required gnar-gnar trail… after all, it is a XC bike. But for the likes of Chutes (Santiago Oaks), Rock-it (Aliso Woods) and portions of the Troy Lee Trail, the SixFifty handled really well. The 90mm stem placed me in a better position than the traditional 110-120mm XC stems.

Cornering: The SixFifty 606 was very nimble. It felt light and responded quickly to my steering.

I had the opportunity to race the SixFifty 606 at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Festival. The course laid out dry, sandy un-groomed trails as well as hard-packed dirt. The bike plowed throughout the course. Then somewhere in the middle of the race I started experiencing “ghost” shifting which hindered acceleration on certain areas. Never the less, I finished the race however did not place.


At the same race but in the Pro category, a better testimonial came from a Charles Jenkins, Professional Racer who won on the KHS SixFifty 606. See video below:

I found no weakness with the SixFifty 606’s performance. Other than the mis-shifting that I had encountered during a race the bike has performed exceptionally well on the trails. The gears shifted on queue, the fork was plush and reacted well to the trail.

One thing that it can benefit from is a diet. At 29lbs, for a hardtail there are plenty of areas where lighter components can be used. Short of wheel selection for the 650b size, the rest are standard in the market. However with an MSRP of $1199.00, it’s spec’d appropriately with the components listed above.

SUMMARY: The Good just got Better…
Since taking possession of the KHS SixFifty 606, I have logged approx 300 miles on it. Riding the 650b I did notice a faster rolling bike. In the beginning I wasn’t quite convinced, however I rode it frequent enough were I eventually felt the difference. It has many characteristics of the 26” yet the benefits of the big wheeled 29er. I would often switch between my 26” bikes and the 650b throughout the week and on the same trail. The SixFifty is so enjoyable to ride, that I would have smiles for miles on the trail. I wouldn’t mind having a 650b in my stable however I’ll have to rid some of my 26” bikes first 😉

For more information on the KHS SixFifty 606 visit www.khsbicycles.com.

FTC Disclaimer

KHS SixFifty 606 has arrived!

Last week MtnBikeRiders.com  took possession of the spankin’ brand new KHS SixFifty 606.  We have been featuring this bike prior to Interbike 2009.  For those that are not familiar with this bike, it sports the 650B tire size, a *new size that places itself in between the established 26” and the revolutionary 29er. (*new in the current MTB world; but the 650B has been around for quite some time.)

IMG3172 by you.SixFifty 606 at the top of Mini Moab

I had my first ride on the SixFifty 606 this past Thursday.  I picked up the bike from David “Sho-Gun” Sanderson.  The bike is absolutely beautiful… much better looking than I had remembered it from Interbike 09. I guess with the thousands of bikes I saw at the show, I had forgotten the finer details of the SixFifty 606… for one the hydro-formed top tube with a unique shape… see below.

IMG3165 by you.

The ride on Thursday wasn’t what I had planned for the first ride of this bike.  For one, it was a night ride; secondly with rain from the previous day, some sections of the Loop were too muddy which diverted from the normal route; the Loop typically holds up well after rain.  All in all there were too many distractions for my first ride on the SixFifty 606.

This Sunday, I took the SixFifty 606 up to one of my local training grounds – Coal Canyon.  I started the ride from my house in Corona and rode all the way to the top, which is commonly called Mini-Moab.   I was joined by my friend Val.  On the way up, we traversed through mainly fireroad and on occasion sandy sections.  From time to time there were corners with small baby heads.   The climbed to the top went exceptionally well.  The hardtailed SixFifty 606 climbed like a billy goat.  Crossing the sandy sections with the semi big tires, the bike motored through it where I had struggled through in the past with my 26” bikes.  

Reaching the top at 2300ft, we took a short break at Mini-Moab.  The long ride down Coal Canyon is always a treat as we’ll hit sections at 40+ mph (per Garmin 305).  The SixFifty 606 felt natural on the descent.  It was nimble and handled great on the steep sections.  Coming through the corners with baby heads, on the few that I couldn’t avoid, the SixFifty 606 rolled over them with control.   On some of the wider turns, I tried taking a sharper turn through them however I had a difficult time.  No biggie, this was my first real ride on the SixFifty 606.  As soon as I get acclimated to the bike the handling will be much better.   

Notes from the first two rides:  climbed great – on & off the saddle; nimble for a semi big tire, descended well.   I also felt taller, but obviously I have bigger tires.

I’ll be riding this bike through various trails in OC as well as a few races.  Stay tuned as I put miles on the SixFifty 606 and provide an in-depth feedback. 

About me: I’m 5-10″, 190+ lbs, 40yrd old mountain biking enthusiast.

IMG_0087 by you.

IMG_0086 by you.

IMG3170 by you.                       X-Fusion Velvet 650B

IMG_3168 by you.27.5 x2.10 Kenda Nevegals

IMG_5662 by you.Both Kenda Nevegals, 2.10″ tires. 26″ (L) & 650B (R)

Below are the specs:

650B” Full Alloy, Hydroformed Tubing, Gussetted Headtube
Fork X-Fusion Velvet, 650B
Headset Cane Creek A-Headset 1-1/8″
Rims Weinmann XM280 Disc Specific, Doublewall, Black, 650B
Hubs Alloy 6-Bolt Disc, QR, Cassette
Tires Kenda Nevegal Folding Kevlar, 650B x 2.1
Spokes 15G FT/14G RR Black Stainless, 32°
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX
Shifters Shimano Deore Pods w/Optical Gear Display
Chain KMC Z9000 w/Master Link
Crankset Truvativ Fire 44/32/22
Bottom Bracket Truvativ GXP outboard cartridge bearing
Cassette SRAM PG950 11-34, 9 Speed
Pedals Wellgo Alloy Platform
Seatpost Alloy micro-adjust
Saddle WTB Siverado
Handlebar FSA XC300 31.8, Alloy
Stem FSA OS190 31.8, 3D Forged
Grips PowerTools Dual Density
Brake Levers Hayes Stroker Ryde
Brakes Hayes Stroker Ryde, 6″ rotors
Color Gloss Red w/White Panels
MSRP: $1199 • COLORS: Gloss Red w/Whie Panels• SIZES: S, M, L, XL

Interbike 2009 – One Ghost Industries

A new company that caught my attention at Interbike was One Ghost Industries.  Based out of Oregon, CA they had these three prototypes that were very impressive.  Check ‘em out below, good looking bikes!   At the time there weren’t a lot of information on availability, however we just recently received notice that they are ready to take orders for 2010.  For more information go to www.oneghost.com or go to your local bike shop and inquire.

2E8J0124 by you.Genken – Endurance / DH

2E8J0125 by you.Longbow – Super D Race / Log Travel Trail bike

2E8J0128 by you.Wakizashi – Slopestyle/4X

A Lady P Interbike Fave: Earth Studio

This is one booth we kept going back to: Earth Studio.

Earth Studio specializes in metal art. They have some really unique and fun designs available for trophy’s, wall art, jewelry, book ends – just about anything you can imagine. Just like any other bicycle fanatic I love all things “bike.” Imagine my delight when I found bicycling artwork that won’t look ridiculous all over my house. The pieces are fun and still classy looking. They have some darker rustic looking pieces that would look great in any home or office. Even Khoa stocked up on some wall art and clocks.

Check out their site for a cool little factory tour.

Here’s a cute idea for Christmas…an Endo mountain biker ornament. And it looks like ornaments are 40% off with FREE SHIPPING!!!!

Interbike 2009: Dirty Dog MTB

So what’s new with Dirty Dog MTB for 2010? Stamped rotors.

Traditionally, their rotors are laser cut…thus the cool designs. But for 2010, the new stamped rotors will allow Dirty Dog to dramatically drop the price, making them very affordable.

Left rotor, stamped. Right rotor, laser cut.

Dear Interbike Exhibitor from a pretty large continent

My name is RL Policar, I’m one of few RAD Filipinos that ride mountain bikes. When I am not dancing the Tinikling, I am riding my mountain bike. If I am not riding my mountain bike, I’m either eating dog or cat…just kidding about the dog and cat…we eat goats. Anyhow, I was just at the Interbike show in Las Vegas and I had met a few of your associates. If you don’t mind me asking, but next year could you send your BEST ENGLISH Speaking marketing/sales person to the event.

The reason why I ask is because a good 80% of the exhibitors from the LARGEST Continent based booths that I visited, your associates didn’t know how to speak English. I had a hard time communicating with them questions like “how much” , “website”, “I like your bangs” and “where’d you get your jeans, cuz I REALLY like them!”

Half the time, we would simply smile, nod to each other, exchanged business cards and went about my way. Though I am disappointed, I don’t speak your native language, perhaps having at least 1 employee that knows some conversational English may help. I’m not here to judge, but simply offer a suggestion.


RL Policar
Dog..err I meant Goat Eater

Interbike 2009 – tribute to Michael Jackson

One of the best things about Interbike is the swag from the exhibitors.   Handsome Bicycles was giving out a saddle cover with an image of Michael Jackson from the Thriller album cover.  It’s made by Serfas, model SCB-1.  I’m not sure if these a limited edition, but feel free to check with Serfas at www.serfas.com.


Now Michael Jackson fans can take him along wherever they ride 🙂

IMG_3062 by you.