Catlike is a Spanish-based company, whose main product lines deal with cycling accessories, especially helmets. Most of their products are skewed towards the road bike scene, though some of them can be adapted for mountain biking use.
The Diablo gives a very compact and unassuming look with its rounded and half shell profile, but with more than 10 different colour schemes to choose from, it really has a colourful personality. There are 19 oversized vents spread across all sides of the helmet to keep things cool when the going gets hot. A detachable visor comes with the helmet which can be stowed away within seconds when its service is not needed. The Diablo also comes with LNP ? Low Nape Protection, which provides a lower rear structure that aims to deliver extra protection to the back of the head.
The helmet comes only in two different sizes: Small or Large. This has been the trend for the past few years in a bid by manufacturers to cut production costs. To ensure that each helmet size fits a wider range of head diameters, manufacturers have their in-house retention devices for users to customize their fit. In Catlike?s case, they have their exclusive MPS 3D or Multi Positioning System 3 Dimension retention system. This system allows the adjustment of the rear part of the helmet in the 3 dimensions: up-down, front-rear and open-close.
Differing from some of the helmets in the market – whereby the retention device is always at a fixed position at the back of the head – the MPS 3D allows the retention strap to be adjusted up and down in different positions at the back of the head for a better fit. The user will be able to determine where the sweet spot at the back of his head is, rather than letting the manufacturer decide that for the user.
Open and Close adjustments simply refer to the common size adjustment buckle found in almost all new helmets which allows user to adjust the overall diameter and fit of the helmet. The oversized rear buckle is easily reached and easy to adjust. No fanciful design here, just something plain but practical.
There are two hidden positions by the side of the helmet which allow the user to shift the retention device forward, or backward. This is what Catlike means by their Front-Rear adjustment. Theoretically such adjustments enhance the fit of the helmet to the contour of the rear of one’s head, but we could not feel any significant differences between the two positions. In addition, we found it more convenient just to use the rear buckle to tighten things up.
Before mounting the helmet for the first ride, fit adjustment is a very important process. Similar to most other helmets that we have come across, strap adjustment is relatively a straight forward task if you know what to do. Unfortunately our review helmet did not come in a complete package, and is missing the adjustment manual when it was passed to us. But we are certain that a manual will accompany your purchase when bought from authorized retailers.
The clips by the sides allow easy tightening and loosening of the straps. This makes adjustment a breeze. It was easy enough for us to push the straps around to find the correct fit. Once done, you will want to leave the clips alone as we found out that they can be easily shifted when handled. This is good if you want to do quick minor adjustments, but it might be a hassle if the straps start to shift when the clips are touched. The total time taken to adjust the helmet was less than 10 minutes.
At 240 grams, the helmet sits imperceptibly on the head and is hardly noticeable until about a couple of hours later. This reviewer felt some slight discomfort on the forehead after wearing the helmet for an extended period of time, suspected to be caused by the padding at the front of the helmet. This could be due to the new padding not being seasoned, or being too narrow thus pressing against the forehead on a very narrow front.
Other than the slight discomfort at the forehead, the helmet fits well generally on Asian heads, which has a more rounded profile. However, as all head sizes are different, it is always advisable to try out the fit of the helmet before committing your cash. Remember, an expensive helmet that is not fitting is worst than a cheap one that fits perfectly. A properly adjusted Diablo will stay in place even after going through rigorous off-road conditions. During one of our epic rides, the helmet stayed in place throughout the ride, and there was not a single complaint about the helmet shifting back and forth.
Diablo?s ventilation is supposed to be handled by their Dual Flow cooling technology. In essence, the large frontal intake vents are connected to the rear exit vents to create a constant airflow within the helmet. In practice, this reviewer feels that the ventilation of the helmet is only slightly above average at best. When going above 20km/h, the reviewer can feel the ventilation working at its best. The head is kept reasonably cool even under the hot sun. But at speed below 20km/h, the performance of the vents is less than ideal. This happens when we are using it during off-road conditions, whereby speed hardly goes beyond 20km/h.
The visor on the Diablo can be pretty useful when the sun is smiling right into your eyes. The compact visor is just enough to keep at bay the sun’s blinding rays without blocking the rider?s view. Although it can be easily stowed away when not needed, we find it is a pity that Catlike do not make them adjustable to cater for different situations.
Another imperfection of the helmet in local context, where most riders ride on the road and a lot at night, is that the Diablo lacks reflective strips at the rear and sides to enhance visibility for other road users.
The Diablo is not a helmet that will attract everybody?s attention. It lacks the aggressive look of most other new helmets in the market. Its compact and unassuming look is a plus if you are looking for a more inconspicuous-looking brain bucket. With more than 10 colours schemes to choose from, there is bound to be one that suits your overall outfit.
In terms of functionality, the Diablo provides a good fit for most Asians head. With its MPS 3D retention system, the helmet can be adjusted to provide a snug fit that is not easily shifted during rides. The ventilation of the helmet is not ideal when going at slower speed, which makes the Diablo more suitable during faster rides in our opinion. The little front visor is a plus to have. It is big enough to hide the eyes from the sun, but small enough not to hinder our line of sight during rides.
When choosing a new helmet, always remember to give it a try before deciding your purchase. Remember, proper fit is the most important factor to consider when buying one.
One of Catlike latest helmets is the Whisper which will be launched in 2006. This is the first helmet that claims to be able to withstand multiple hits before being retired from use. Amazed? We are too, but that is all the information we have on the helmet so far. Hopefully we can get more information and keep you guys updated in the future. This is the second time Togoparts has gotten the chance to do a review on Catlike helmets. For those interested, you may refer to our previous review on their budget Shield helmet.