Ultimately it’s a personal decision that a rider must make in regards to safety. As riders that have all had nasty concussions before, we can say with complete certainty that we would pony up the extra dollars for the safest option available– the Shiva 2.0.
We took both helmets with us on a few bike park trips since there’s no better way to compare full-face lids side by side than with endless park laps. The gloss carbon finish on the Shiva hit the nail on the head, and the gold/black Avatar wasn’t too shabby either. Kali’s helmets are designed with safety above all other concerns, thus the smooth rounded shape that their full face lids take on when compared to the chiseled and sharp lines of their competitors. While it may look less cool, according to Kali, the rounded shape helps to prevent snagging during a fall, and helps mitigate the associated rotational or shearing forces. Wearing the two lids back to back, it’s apparent that the Avatar is almost 200 grams lighter than the Shiva, but it’s not a big deal. Aside from that small difference, the helmets feel nearly identical. In fact, unless a tester quickly moved their head from side to side, the extra weight was barely noticeable, especially when riding. Though both helmets were a size large, the Shiva has a bit more cheek padding, so make sure to try it on before buying as it does have a more snug fit than the Avatar. Looks are really the differentiator, with the Shiva having a slightly more rounded design and the Avatar going for a slightly more angular one. So what ends up being the real deciding factor between the two helmets aside from price and a few styling tweaks? Safety.
If maximum safety is your primary goal, then the decision is clear between the two lids. While most helmets don’t differ a ton on the outside, the innards are what really count, and the upgrades in the impact absorption department on the Shiva 2.0 Carbon make it worth the added coin in our opinion. It’s hard to put a price on safety. While we didn’t get to truly test the crash performance of both helmets, I did take a hard enough fall while wearing the Shiva to leave some sizable scratches on the chin protector. While my face and head made it out unscathed, the rest of me wasn’t quite as lucky.