Known for their helmets, Catlike branched out into shoes and sunglasses in their home Spanish market several years ago and has been broadening their reach in the EU and US. Now with new models on the way for 2016 and celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary, they’ve stepped up their game with overall updates to the top-end Whisper shoes, trickled down some tech to affordable road and mountain shoes, and even brought out some new helmets. And to coordinate it all together Catlike has designed everything into four color lines to get all matchy. Come past the break for tech details on the new stuff and pricing…
We previewed prototypes of the Rapid helmets last year at Eurobike, and the Movistar team has been riding them for more than 18 months now, but finally Catlike has released the two versions of the new helmet. Both helmets retail for 280€ with expected October 2015 availability and feature the same basic shape, following the contemporary short tail and round profile concept that stays aero even when the rider can’t always maintain a perfect tuck and ideal head position, and doesn’t suffer in windy conditions. This Tri version gets two large front vents and two matching exhaust ports that are essentially unchanged from last year’s prototype. The side vents did get reshaped for apparently better air intake, but less drag and the magnetic clasp got beefed up and given a better positive engagement click, which is good as the earlier version seemed a bit flimsy to deal with even in our short time playing with it last year.
Even with the Rapid Tri name, it isn’t triathlon-only but intended for any extended race against the clock or time trial. The simply-named Rapid is intended for short time trials and track racing. It gets the same overall profile, but drops all of the front and top vents as well as the upper exhaust ports out back, relying on just those rear side vents to remove a bit of heat.
The outer appearance of the Whisper shoes doesn’t change much from the 2015 shoes, but the tech gets some big improvements. The first and most obvious is the switch to those color-coordinated Boa dials. Last year’s dials couldn’t match the high quality and performance of the IP1 Boa for fine fit control and long term durability, especially with Boa offering a guarantee on the dial and laces for the life of the Catlike shoes. Other updates like the rubber toe and heel bumpers are small but have a big impact on the durability and usability of the shoes.
The carbon sole with replaceable heel tread of the Whisper Road (and the velcro-strap Tri version) gets a Graphene infusion for a light and stiff base, which let Catlike open up a bit more of the sole for more ventilation. The 220€ road shoe sticks with the same Clarino microfiber upper and 11 mesh vents with 3M reflective details.
The mountain version uses an identical upper, but switches to a nylon sole reinforced with Graphene. Catlike claims that this allowed them to get the stiffness benefits of the magic material, while still maintaining a bit of walkability for those hike-a-bike sections and cyclocross run-ups. The premium mountain shoes with two Boa dials will sell for just 150€.
Stepping down the line, Catlike updated their second tier road shoe – the Talent Road – to a Boa dial as well, this time with the slightly less adjustable L5 Boa and two velcro straps. It gets an other wise similar vented Clarino upper and a fiberglass reinforced and vented nylon sole for 150€. A nylon soled option, the Sirius Road sticks with a standard 1-buckle, 2-strap layout for just 100€. A mountain version the Sirius MTB swaps in a lugged nylon sole and the sample buckle/strap arrangement for the sample price. An even more affordable mountain shoe, the Drako MTB keeps the sane sole and upper, but uses three basic velcro straps for 80€.
Back on the helmet side, a couple of new urban helmets called the Kompact’o Urban and Tako Urban take design cues from the top end Mixino and Whisper helmets at much more affordable levels. Both helmets use large, round vents, but less of them keeping their manufacture costs lower with less tech inside the foam. Both get good adjustable fit with a two-way version of Catlike’s multi-position retention system, and a removable velcro-in cloth visor that serves as sweat management and sun shading much like a traditional cycling cap. The Kompact’o will sell for 90€ in either high-vis or matte versions, and the Tako will be just 60€ in a bit more plain colors, although all with reflective detailing. As part of their 20th anniversary, Catlike is also proud that all of their helmets from the top Mixino down to the basic Tako are made in their factories in Spain.