Traditionally there’s been a big difference in the look of cheaper helmets and performance helmets. Performance helmets tend to be far less bulky and have more vents – essentially, they don't look like mushrooms on your head. The Catlike Tako blurs these lines, combining a budget price with a professional look.
First, it doesn't sit as far off the head as many at this price range tend to, and looks more attractive as a result.
A decent level of ventilation is provided by 23 large vents throughout the helmet, which also help to maintain the sleek look. Catlike helmets are among the most instantly recognisable thanks to their unique vent shapes; given that it’s a Spanish company, the organic-looking vents are almost Gaudí-esque. Although the Tako doesn't have as many vents as Catlike’s top-of-the-range Mixino helmet, the vent shape is very similar, giving the helmets a shared look.
At £40, the Tako isn’t going to be as light as top-of-the-line helmets, but it’s actually only 50g heavier than its more expensive counterpart, coming in at a very respectable 271g (claimed 260g). That means it doesn't feel heavy on your head like some cheaper helmets can.
It also has a good fit, with the MPS eXe system keeping the lid in place nicely. It is simple to fit and adjust with a wheel at the back. It would be nice to have slightly softer straps, and their placement at the rear of the helmet means they can sometimes twist and get uncomfortable, which is why I wouldn't recommend this helmet for longer rides. The thickness of the straps also means they can soak up a fair amount of sweat or water.
Inside the helmet, an anti-insect netting covers the front three vents. I didn’t feel it was particularly necessary on the roads around Kent, but it could be useful on more rural commutes.
Aside from this, the pads are well located and soft, and not too whiffy after a long ride. The helmet also has a visor, if you're into that sort of thing, and it’s easy to remove if you're not.
In terms of price, the helmet’s RRP of £39.99 is very reasonable – it’s about what you’d expect to pay for a commuting or casual riding helmet, perhaps even a little less for one as good looking.
Overall, the Tako performs well at what it’s designed for. It makes a good commuting helmet, but the thickness of the straps and the way they occasionally twist means it’s less suited to sportive or longer rides. It does sit nicely – and securely – on the head, and looks really good. If you are looking for a commuting helmet that won't make you look like a mushroom and won't break the bank, you could do far worse.
A good example of a commuting helmet that doesn't cause 'mushroom head'
road.cc test report
Make and model: Catlike Tako Helmet
Size tested: MD/ 54-57cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Catlike says: "Tako is dedicated to the bicycle commuter. Tako is a helmet that combines comfort and style at an affordable price. It is sporty, yet functional with a compact design. Tako comes with a removable visor and can accommodate those riders needed a larger helmet."
It is a helmet aimed at the commuting market, without some of the higher end performance elements that you would expect to find on more expensive helmets. It is designed to look similar to more performance helmets though, with a sleeker and more professional look than some.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Anti insects net
- Detachable visor
- Wheel retention system
- 23 Air Intakes
Well made without too many edges to catch, one of the bugs of the previous model. However, the placement of the straps at the rear of the helmet could be better.
Does everything it needs to as a commuter helmet. It is not designed to be used in high intensity, long rides but works fine for leisurely commuting.
Well made shell, firm foam and thick straps mean it should last well.
271g for a commuting helmet is fair.
Good fit on the head and decent pads mean that there is little movement and sweat is well soaked up. That said, the placement of the straps at the back plus their thickness means that over longer rides there are more comfortable helmets.
Looks good, performs well and comes in at under £40 – seems like good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For commuting the helmet worked well, bringing together a professional look without sacrificing some of the key elements needed in a commuting helmet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The design – it looks really good on your head.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The strap placement at the back, you can sometimes feel it on your crown and it did sometimes twist.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a good helmet in most ways – looks, ventilation, fit and value; comfort could be a little better, but an overall 7 is well deserved.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.