Catlike Vacuum helmet review£80.00

Serious cooling from this Spanish hat

BikeRadar score4/5

Catlike’s Vacuum is an impressively cool and comfortable cruising helmet for the price.

    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.

    This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

    Guy Kesteven

    Freelance Writer, UK
    Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
    • Age: 45
    • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
    • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
    • Waist: 76cm / 30in
    • Chest: 91cm / 36in
    • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
    • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
    • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
    • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
    • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
    • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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