In this review, Team Wiggle's Tom Vaux takes a look at the aero timetrial helmet from Spanish brand Catlike - the Catlike Rapid Tri Helmet.
The Catlike Rapid Tri Helmet really looks the part in the photos, but when you open up the helmet bag for the first time, you realise just how much technology and design has gone into this product. The helmet is presented very professionally in its case and comes with two lenses for variable conditions.
The Rapid Tri is predominantly designed for triathlons or longer time trial events; where a greater cooling airflow is required. Having said that, I have ridden many 10 mile time trials in this helmet, in very warm, windy and even wet conditions; I felt that the helmet was never out of place.
The technology used in the Catlike Rapid Tri Helmet is state of the art: designed to keep you cool, comfortable and fast!
This is Catlike's helmet retention system (Multi Positional System). It has 4 adjustment points, guaranteed to adjust for any head shape or size. This results in a brilliant bespoke fit. I have found this super easy to use.
Outlast is the fabric technology used by Catlike; for perfect temperature regulation. Not too hot, not too cold. Phase change material is used, this is extremely clever. It essentially stores heat, and releases this as and when needed dependent on temperature and humidity. Meaning your head temperature remains constant and comfortable. A simple way to explain is with an ice cube in a glass of water - as the ice begins to melt the glass of water maintains the same temperature. I'm guessing the name outlast comes from outlasting the competition when they over heat or freeze!
No one likes to overheat when racing. Along with the Outlast fabric Catlike have also used their Tri Ventilation system with this helmet. The helmet has strategically been designed to have three points of ventilation for maximum airflow that doesn't affect aerodynamic shape. The first and most obvious point is the vent on the frontal area. There are also holes at the rear of the helmet allowing air to flow from the front to rear, via an internal air-channel; keeping the head at an optimal temperature. The final two ventilation points are located on the sides of the helmet, which are even more ideal as the ears act as temperature sensors, keeping you cool and riding fast!
Comfortable, cool, and a great performer.
The key point about this helmet in terms of feel, is that other than the coverings on the ears ,and the looking through a visor, you really don't feel like you are wearing a helmet! Through the technologies detailed above, you really don't overheat.
The helmet fits perfectly to the majority of heads, and it is superlight! Coming in at only 340 grams, this helmet is right in the mix with its competitors in terms of weight and feel.
From the moment you put the Catlike Rapid Tri Helmet on, you feel a little like Robocop (see this as positive or negative!); but it really does look top drawer, and it doesn't look out of place on Alex Dowsett's head, in the Movistar team.
The Catlike Rapid Tri Helmet is all about the subtle design quirks; it is these that make it a stand-out piece of kit.
The temperature control padding, the ventilation channels, the temperature designed and beautifully coloured lenses; the light weight, the retention fitting that allows the perfect fit to be found. All this is designed so that it is a comfortable fast ride, which doesn't compromise aerodynamic performance. This helmet really takes time trial helmets to the next level.
View the Catlike Rapid Tri Helmet at Wiggle