The passion for details and the good work is reflected in the Deluxe family. Here you will find helmets which combine maximum performance with terrific image. Straps, rear retention, inner padding, decals and visor are designed thinking in the overall image of the helmet. The result is clear: elegance and personality.
- MPS Retention System
- Dual Flow Technology
- 39 Vents
- In Mold Construction
- Crash Energy Splitter Design
- Low Nape Protection
- Comes with Removable Visor
- Comes with padded chin guard
- Available in Small, Medium, and Large
- Measured weight – 285 g (10.0 oz)
- Retail – $270
I first saw the Catlike Helmet many years ago in the Tour de France. If there is one thing these helmets do well, it is stand out. They look nothing like other helmets as they have lots of small holes rather than elongated vents. They are definitely a love or hate type of thing. I personally loved them but at that time, they we not available in the US. Catlike is a Spanish company that has been in business for over 15 years. They make other things other than helmets, but this is what they are most known for. Fast forward a couple of years and while these are still not the most common helmet on the roads here, you do see them on occasion. Recently, they have made an effort to open more US distribution and for me that meant I could finally get my hands on one of the helmets, and it is completely certified too. Now after many years and anticipation, the question is, did it live up to the hype?
I have been testing the Catlike Whisper Deluxe Helmet on my road rides this spring. I have used it in both hot and cool weather but have not been caught in any rain, nor do I want to. My rides have varied from 20 to 50+ miles. I have also used the helmet both with and without a cycling cap underneath.
The Catlike Whisper Deluxe is a different looking helmet. When watching the Tour de France, I was always able to see the Cervelo Test Team back in the day because the helmets just stood out. Since then they have been on the heads of different teams in pro cycling, and I have really wanted to get my hands on one. I tested on the Deluxe Helmets in the White and Green. It is sharp looking with clean lines, and the construction looks top notch. I imagine all these vents make it more work to product the helmet. It has been made using an in-mold process. This process in which the outer shell is bonded to the inner polystyrene to become one single piece. This increases the resistance to impact and improves diffusion of crash energy. There are several other technologies Catlike uses for increased protection. Their Crash Energy Splitter is a design based on the location of the air intakes. The idea is that the impact will share more than one nerve and split the energy to many points in the helmet, thus absorbing more energy in the most efficient way. Remember the more energy the helmet can take the less that goes to your head. This concept also allows Catlike to reduce material and therefore, save weight while making a safer helmet. Catlike has not just removed material, they have also added some. Their low nape protection adds some coverage to the bottom of the helmet on the sides and back. This adds a little more protection in case of a fall. The Whisper Deluxe Helmet has to pass all the appropriate cash test requirement before it can be sold off the shelf so look for the appropriate sticker on the inside.
As mentioned before, what set these apart are all the vents. The Whisper Deluxe Helmet has 39 of them in total. The idea is the more vents the more venting. Catlike also makes these helmets with their dual flow technology. They have made it so the frontal vents are linked to the rear vent in order to give the air a place to enter and exit the helmet. This air movement is what helps keep your head cool. The Whisper Deluxe has a good amount of padding on the inside for comfort. They also have a piece of padding that covers the clip on the chin if you need it. For adjusting the volume of the helmet to your head, Catlike uses their MPS retention system. The Multi Positioning System allows you to move the back retention system in and out and up and down. It uses a slider system where you slide it tighter on each side or pinch it, and it will release. To move the MPS up and down, the straps on the back are guided through the system rather than being connected like many other systems work. This allows you to slide the MPS higher or lower on the straps to create your ideal location.
The Whisper Deluxe Helmet is not just a road cycling helmet either. It comes with a detachable visor than can be added for mountain-bike use or whenever you just want a visor. I found the helmet to be around the average weight of most of the high end helmets I have tested. It seems to have more protection so the fact that it is not ultra light makes sense. Looking at the Catlike website, there is not any information about the materials used in the helmet. There is also not any information about any corporate initiatives in regard to the environment or sustainability. For that reason, I gave it a zero rating but will adjust it if I find out something.
Head Sizing (25%)
Strap Comfort (15%)
Up until the point I got to test the Whisper Deluxe I had never been able to touch and feel one of their helmets. I measured the circumference of my head to be in the 57-58 cm range and looked at their size chart. It said medium, so that is what I got. My head I find is a little more on the round side rather than the oval side. That being said, the Whisper Deluxe Helmet fits my head well. The medium is the right choice for me as I can easily go without a hat or with a hat and there is room to adjust the helmet underneath. It is a bit tight with the hat on but not enough to discourage me from wearing it. I must say I was very relieved when I first tried it on, and it fit well. I had hyped up this helmet so much in my head, I was afraid that it would not live up to expectations, but so far it has in terms of fit. The pads are sufficient but not overly thick. Since the shape of the helmet closely fit my head, I do not feel the need for lots of padding. I have not used the helmet for any century rides up to this point but do not think my opinion will change. At 3 hours of ride time, I feel like the helmet will be evident whether it will work or not.
The MPS retention system works well but does take some time to get used to. It is not as easy to use as a twist system where it just turns, one way or the other. The MPS system has two sides to it so it is most easily done with two hands, but you can operate it with one if you need to. As for the vertical adjustment, I really liked this. It is a great thing, especially when wearing a hat. I did find that it does take some time to find your sweet spot as some locations over time were not as comfortable as others on me. This is what this system is for, giving the user adjustability. The webbing straps Catlike use is similar to other straps on the market. There is a clip that goes under the chin. It was strange, but this clip for me ended up on my jaw line, which is not my favorite place for it. I would rather have it right under my chin; I have not taken the time to see if it can be adjusted to sit there. My first quick look says no, but I will try some more when I have some downtime. The added strap pad works as expected, I generally just left it at home as it was more work than it was worth to me. I appreciate having it if I do change my mind.
Ease of Use (40%)
I really like using this helmet, not only because I look cool =), but also because it works. The 39 vents on the helmet do, in fact, move the air over your head really well. On hot day, I have found that this is the helmet I grab more often than not because of this. The fact that it is white also makes it cooler than my other black helmets. I normally would opt for a hat underneath if it was a cooler day, but those days seem to be behind us for a while. The retention system does take some time to get used to as mentioned above. The sliding mechanism is not as easy to use as some others I have experienced. It is much easier to use with two hands, which makes it a bit more of a challenge to adjust unless you are good at riding hands free. I did not find I needed to adjust it much on the ride, unless I over tightened it at the start, releasing the tension is easy to do one handed; tightening is where it gets more difficult.
As for protection, remember all helmets must pass the appropriate crash test for the country they are to be sold in. This was what was the downside of the initial Whisper Helmets here in the US. They were available for purchase from sites on the web but were not allowed in races due to the certification. Now with them available in the US, all US sold helmets have the appropriate stickers. While I have not crashed my helmet and do not plan to either, I trust the tests were sufficient and my head will be safe in a crash. The Whisper Deluxe definitely feels like it is sold.
Overall, the Whisper Deluxe Helmet has lived up to myself given hype. I now feel like a pro rider when out on the road because of it.
All kidding aside, the helmet is really comfortable and I like the MPS system as it allows you to get your own precise fit. As long as you get it right before getting on the road you are good as it is difficult to adjust while riding. The helmet is more of a round fit, and I found that the size chart was right on. If you are in the market for a helmet with out of this world looks and excellent breathability, check out the Catlike Whisper Deluxe. I know the looks will not work for everyone, but I fully expect to see more and more of these on the road this summer. The Catlike Whisper Deluxe Helmet retails for $270, which is expensive. Just think the more vents equal higher price, there is something to that. I personally value my head, as always your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Distinct look
- Great ventilation
- 4 dimensional retention system
- Round fit worked great with my head shape
- MPS retention system tougher to operate while riding
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