I’ve always wanted a Catlike helmet. There is something about the design and name that appeals to me. ‘Catlike’ evokes thoughts of me springing from the bunch in a local club race to take a sprint victory. But the design also just looks cool. The air holes have the potential to give the best helmet hair going around!
In Catlike name comes from Catlike General Manager and ex pro Pepe del Ramo who was given the nickname ‘El Gato’. Translating to ‘The Cat’, the nickname was shared with, and passed down by del Ramo’s father.
Easy to recognise, Catlike helmets have a strong history with Spanish pro teams and are easily spotted within the peloton due to the unique design. The key question though – does this unique design stack up in terms of safety, performance and comfort?
In the showroom
Retailing at a little over $350 (AUD), the Catlike Mixino sits at the higher end of the market for road helmets. We had a black, medium Mixino that weighed 210g – a very competitive weight that resulted in a comfortable feel on the head.
The all-important strapping and fitting system can make or break a helmet – the Mixino ticks all those boxes. The adjustable fitting ring lends good support to the skull and feels sturdy and secure in comparison to some helmets at a lower end, and even to some similar priced helmets.
The depth within the helmet provides good coverage, particularly at the more vulnerable areas in the rear and side. Inside, there is sufficient padding for comfort and protection without being too soft and sponge-like.
In terms of safety, we obviously can’t go into details without independent testing. What we can say is that Catlike states that the distributed holes across the helmet help to minimize impact in one area. In the event of an accident, this is critical as it spreads the impact, thereby reducing the risk of serious injury.
Being a Melbourne cyclist, I was able to test in varying weather conditions and get a feel for ventilation, heat retention and its cooling effects. In head winds, cross winds, 10 degree mornings and 35 degree afternoons, the Mixino performed very well.
Compared to several helmets within this price range that I have worn recently, The Mixino is a much cooler during warmer days, which can be attributed to the ‘Dual Flow’ design that allows airflow through the front, with warmer air existing the rear vents. Interestingly, it doesn’t leave you cold on the mornings near 10 degrees either.
The only downside was a slightly tight feeling on the sides. In fairness to the test however, we shared the helmet with other riders that should theoretically fit a medium – some felt this tightness, others didn’t.
We also raised this with three different bike shops who agreed that Catlike helmets can be slightly more difficult to fit than your regular helmet.
The look, the ventilation properties and the performance of this helmet across varying conditions make the Mixino a strong performer. If you can get a good fit, we’d certainly recommend one.