Back in 2009 when Sheldon and I were prepping for the Transrockies, one of the things we were busy doing was organizing the Bikeridr kit… And what kit is complete without matching lids?! We hunted high and low and our top contenders at the time were from Giro and Specialized.
Around the time we were narrowing our selections the Cervélo Test Team was making their debut at the 2009 Tour de France, sporting some distinctly euro lids that caught our eye… The rest as they say, was history.
With 39 vents, a detachable visor, and 14 different colors/styles it’s definitely going to catch your eye, but with 5 distinct technologies at working to take care of cooling, fit and safety it’s pretty good on paper too:
This is effectively the Catlike Whisper Plus signature – The frontal air intakes are connected to large exit vents located in the rear making air constantly flow inside the helmet to avoid over heating.
Multi Positioning System
The Multi Positioning System (MPS) is what facilitates the adjustment of the rear parts of the helmet.
Crash Energy Splitter
Crash Energy Splitter (CES) is a design-led crash absorption system that essentially splits the energy of a crash to multiple points, helping to effectively absorb impact.
The process of moulding the outer and inner polystyrene shells to become a single unit – increasing both impact resistance and energy diffusion.
Low Nape Protection
Low Nape Protection (LNP) is just that. LNP simply highlights that the construction/design of the helmet delivers extra protection to the back side of the head.
Now, marketing mumbo jumbo aside, how does this helmet fair in the field? Well, here’s how it all shook out.
- EuroPro Look – As if that’s not going to be the first thing I mention! This helmet has a very distinct design, and regardless of whether you like it or not, you can’t argue that they’re eye-catching.
- Featherweight – Spec’d between 240-270g I can tell you that once you’ve got this Spanish hard hat on your melon you’re likely to forget it’s there.
- Windtunnel – All those vents up there aren’t just good at catching bees, the do a great job at pulling the air through the helmet and across your head. I don’t ride with a bandana or cycling cap, so I appreciate the airflow that this helmet gives me.
- Finicky Fit – When I first got this helmet it took me a good while to get it fitting correctly. When compared to the Specialized Pro-Fit or the Giro Roc Loc the MPS borders on downright archaic. With that said however, after I got it fitting correctly (2 years ago) I have yet to adjust it.
- Not Cheap – Averaging around the $300 CAD this is definitely not a lid for the bargain shopper. But compared to other pro-level North American helmets, it’s not stratospherically off, considering it’s an import.
- Weighed Down – I’ve found that when burdened with a lighting system, or camera, the helmet becomes a fair bit less comfortable. Not “uncomfortable” per-se, but if you always ride with a helmet mounted light, or are always sporting your GoPro camera, you may want to look elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
I’m not going to lie. I love this helmet. I like the attention it gets (from both cyclists and non-cyclists – ie. “Whoa, cool helmet!”) and the fact that is disappears from my consciousness 0.34 seconds after I put it on. With the exception of running lights during the winter it is an extremely comfortable helmet, and has taken two full seasons of abuse (including the 2009 Transrockies and 2010 TR3) with very little wear (other than some chipped decals). Some people may think it looks a little too out there, or too ‘roadie,’ but those people suck ;-)
I guess I’ll put it this way… I’m probably going to be buying a new helmet next year, and there’s a very high likelihood it’s going to be another Catlike Whisper Plus.