Catlike’s Vacuum is an impressively cool and comfortable cruising helmet for the price.
- Highs: Super cool at slower speeds, floating cradle is really comfortable
- Lows: Not as effective at higher speeds, noisy
The rim-mounted straps make sticking it on easier than internally-mounted straps and keeps them off your temples for a cooler feel. They do make observing Velominati Rule 37 (the arms of the eyewear shall always be placed over the helmet straps) harder though.
Initial concerns about the single skinny cradle strap being flimsy have proved unfounded and the way the helmet floats slightly in the vertical plane helps it naturally find a comfort sweet spot. The two ovals that contact the back of your skull are not only spring loaded but can be independently adjusted for width too. That means they work with ponytails and/or particularly bony skulls, and it’s a really neat, genuinely comfort-boosting feature for the price. It also keeps weight down to a reasonable 294g (M).
The minimalist design allows maximum airflow around the back of your bonce too and ventilation is the obvious strength of this helmet as soon as you start rolling. By using a tubular ‘halo’ through the centre of the foam body the curved ‘slash’ vents on either side of the lid aren’t interrupted by the usual bridging sections.
Apart from the ‘cyclops’ intake vent on the front, the other three vents down the midline are angled to suck air out, and together with big exhaust vents on the back justify the Vacuum name. They also help suck air in and through the slash vents on the side to keep the Catlike impressively cool, particularly on slow-speed climbs where it’s most obvious.
A removable peak makes it suitable (or at least more fashionable) for similarly slower speed cyclo-cross and mountain bike use. Cooling is less obvious at high speeds, and the high amount of wind noise at higher speeds suggests it’s not giving any aero advantage either.