Sign up for our newsletter


Catlike Kilauea helmet review

14 Nov 2019

Breathable and lightweight, it’s a helmet that guarantees comfort - as long as the temperature's high enough

Cyclist Rating: 
Lightweight • Comfortable • Great airflow
Not always suitable for UK climate • Costly

Ever since its founding in 1996, the leading Spanish helmet manufacturer Catlike has put research and innovation at the heart of everything it does and creates. Its helmets stand out not only for their unique design - the honeycomb style air vents make them easy to identify in a peloton and a light and breathable helmet choice - but also for the brand's relentless experimentation with technologies and materials that create some of the highest quality and safest helmets on the market.

The latest Catlike Kilauea helmet certainly embodies all of this, including the 20 years plus of experience it was borne out of.

Buy the Catlike Kilauea from Chain Reaction for £165

Bombproof design

The Catlike Kilauea helmet is slightly different in design to its predecessors. Semi-armoured, the internal mesh is made of aramid and graphene. Both materials are renowned for their hardiness and durability.

Aramid fibres are strong, heat resistant synthetic fibres used in aerospace and ballistic-rated body armour. Graphene is an allotrope of carbon that some scientists believe to be the strongest material yet discovered - 200 times stronger than steel.

What this means for a helmet is, as you can imagine, a fairly decent stab at head protection especially as it’s combined with Catlike’s very own CES (Crash Energy Splitter) and the SAS (Shock Absorption System) technologies that spread any forces of impact across the helmet to lessen their effect (and also go some way in explaining the honeycomb air vent design).

Light as air

Air flow and cooling systems are also key features of the Kilauea helmet. 'Dual Flow' is how Catlike refers to the system it has developed (through scientific study no less) to ensure that the 24 vents are distributed across the helmet to ensure maximum airflow and prevent overheating.

Much of the body heat a cyclist creates can build up in the head area, causing dehydration and dizziness so these technologies play a not-insignificant role in ensuring optimal rider performance.

The medium model (55/57cm) weighs 225g, which is fairly light. The helmet pads, albeit minimalist, are anti-bacterial, super absorbent and washable. The result is a lightweight ride essential that almost goes unnoticed - excellent for those longer rides in the summer months especially, unless of course you’re of the lesser haired variety of riders and forget to apply sun cream, in which case you’ll end up with telltale Catlike tan lines.

However, as one can imagine, there is a flipside of a helmet that’s so airy and breathable: it’s very noticeable in the colder months. And, let’s face it, places like the UK see a good number of those.

A solution for that is of course the trusty cap, however many will prefer for a more robust 'winter' alternative and given the fairly high price point of the Kilauea helmet, the bang you’re getting from quite a lot of buck diminishes.

Look and feel

Performance wise, it was a dream to wear and ride with. You barely notice it’s on your head (except, as mentioned above, if there’s a chill) and riding in warmer temperatures feels much more manageable.

Aesthetically, however, the helmet may not be your best friend (or at least it wasn’t mine). Whilst it is highly aerodynamic, it lifts quite high off the top of your skull giving the rider a bit of an alien look. Maybe the white glossy colour of the helmet I reviewed didn’t help - the matt black shade may be more forgiving.

That said there is of course reason for these design choices: airflow on the one hand and contact points on the other. The added volume ensures that where the helmet meets the hair there is as little pressure as possible which only adds to rider comfort. Safety and comfort are clearly the priorities, as well they should be.

Buy the Catlike Kilauea from Chain Reaction for £165


All in all, coming in at around £165 it’s a hefty investment but with this price tag comes a comfortable and lightweight alternative with 20 years' worth of R&D centred on safety and quality.


Read more about: