A full 11 years after its debut, the Catlike Whisper remains quite possibly the most distinctive and instantly recognizable cycling helmet to achieve substantial market share. With 39 huge oval-shaped air openings, this helmet (sorry, we’re not going to call it a “lid” at any point in this review) is one which must only be seen once to recognize immediately every instance thereafter.

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

There are 30 forward facing, and nine rearward facing vents. In the front, the largest approach 5cm in length and 2.5cm in width.

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights
Measurements are in inches, but 1 inch = 25mm / 2.5cm.

The big guys are on the back, with two measuring 6cm in length but none wider than the aforementioned 2.5cm (all vents taper somewhat from the exterior of the helmet to the interior; our measures were made on the exterior).

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

All those vents give the helmet something of a swiss-cheese or, I’ve heard, a “honeycomb” look, which many cyclists, our reviewer included, find aesthetically appealing. We’d love to improve on those widely-used similes, but short of finding a spider with 30 forward facing eyes, instead of 8 – 12, we’re stuck using those tired ones (that’s right, you just learned some spider natural history).

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

Catlike – or the markets that regulate their products – clearly aren’t joking around when it comes to conveying date and place of manufacture, safety regulations with which the Whisper comports, or the helmet’s weight: there are 12 stickers total inside our review helmet attesting to these characteristics.

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

Catlike manufactures the vast majority of their products at their facilities in Spain. Safety regulations in the United States and Europe apply equally to lower-end helmets as to performance gear like the Whisper, leaving us with the one item cyclists love to obsess about, weight.

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

Our review helmet is a size large (58-61cm) with a claimed weight of 310 grams. After trimming the excess strap material our helmet weighed in on our calibrated Accu-lab V1200 gram scale at 300.7 g. Kudos to Catlike for truth in advertising!

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

There’s so much variation in head shape among our species that a whole branch of bunk science – phrenology – arose to study it and make horribly false conclusions about what that variation means while missing the one fundamental truth in all that variation, which is, of course, it can be really hard to make a good fitting cycling helmet.

Two things seem paramount in helmet fit:

  1. Will the helmet perform to the best of its ability when you crash?
  2. Will it be comfortable even after many hours in the saddle?

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

In putting the Catlike Whisper on and tightening the rear-retention system dial, a comfortable snugness that turns out to be oh-so-important is realized. Striking the helmet in the front and from slightly below with an upwardly facing open palm – it does not slip. The same is true for a similar motion from the back. Keep in mind, the straps are not yet adjusted or connected. Our reviewer, a 13-year competitive cyclist, had never experienced this level of fit in a helmet. (Editor’s Note: This is perhaps the first test anyone should perform when trying on a new helmet – connect the straps, and if you can easily push the front up over the top of your head, it’s probably not the right helmet for you.)

The Whisper’s padding is not overly-generous (which can be hot and too absorptive) but just right. Two sets of pads are provided for the temple area, and while we opted for the thinner pair, this level of customization is a welcomed convenience.

In terms of comfort, the Catlike Whisper scores very high marks. The review period ran mid-May through mid-July 2017 coincident with a change in the weather from warm and dry, to dangerously hot and humid, with heat indexes ranging from 100-105° F.

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

Worn over 50 times during this period, for short daily commutes to 70 mile group rides and hammer fests, the Catlike Whisper proved to be an extremely well-ventilated helmet that stays drier and cooler than any other model our reviewer has owned.

why does the catlike whisper helmet have so many big holes

The aforementioned snugness of the retention system is easily adjusted while riding should it begin to feel “too snug” – something that happened to our reviewer around the three-hour mark on a couple of rides.

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

In summary, the Catlike Whisper is a uniquely styled, exceptionally good-fitting, well-ventilated, comfortable helmet that performed extremely well under the test conditions of a hot and humid Florida summer.

catlike whisper helmet review and actual weights

It is available in 5 colors (black, white, black-red, black-blue, white-red) and small (54-56 cm), medium (56-58cm), and large (58-61cm).

Catlike.es


Article by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience

8 COMMENTS

  1. Even with comfort and cooling, I just can’t get myself to wear something so hideous. The only thing “cat like” is my gag reflex seeing this thing on the road which is similar to a cat spitting up a hairball.

    • I disagree with it being hideous. I own this helmet and the original. The original had a amazing glove like fit. I understand extra protection had to be added to meet standards. It is just not the same. I own their top end helmet too and it’s better but still lacks that iconic fit. I’m rocking a Lazer helmet now and love it. Nothing against Catlike. They make great helmets

  2. Styling and looks are always subjective. I’ve always thought “looks like a bike helmet” when I see these.

    I own one, as well as other helmets, and while I always feel like it makes my head look larger than it is (and it’s pretty large anyway), there’s no arguing with the function.

    I, too, live in Central Florida, and on long rides in the Summer, this is the only helmet I pick. There is a substantial difference in the amount of airflow compared, to, say, my Giro Savant, which is fairly well-vented.

    It’s also quieter (probably explains the name) with regard to wind noise, than my other helmets, but I’m not sure that’s going to be the case for everyone.

    The fit, yes, it’s very good, even with an oddly-shaped melon like mine. The ability to dial in the adjustment with one hand is not unique to Catlike, but unlike my Giro or Kali helmets, it seems to just work a bit better and spread the load more uniformly across the contact points.

  3. But why oh why oh why do very few helmets manufacturers include fly nets within their helmets? Numerous times has my Project Rudy caught a wasp or a bee and prevented it from stinging my head. Invaluable as you’re descending at speed down a mountain.

    • I laughed out loud when I read this, just remembering a trip to DuPont and watching my riding buddy freak the heck out in front of me, drop his bike, and scream “I GOT A SPIDER IN MY HELMET”. That was one day I was glad I had my Kali Maya on, I assure you.

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