The new Catlike Kilauea is a brilliant helmet for those who spend a lot of time riding in the heat as the ventilation is amazing, and thanks to top notch comfort levels – plus the fact that it weighs next to nothing – means you'll barely know you are wearing it. Remove the irritating pads above the ear first, though.
Our medium model here weighs just 252g, and to be honest it feels even lighter than that in your hands, or even on your head. That certainly helps the comfort levels.
Adding to that is the shape of the Kilauea, which is quite elongated rather than a purely round style like many other helmets on the market. With a larger radius for the back of the head than for the front, it was a very good fit for me. It felt like the actual helmet was right for me rather than relying on the cradle to deal with any adjustment.
If the fit does need tweaking then that is dealt with by the usual incremented dial wheel at the back of the cradle, which tightens or loosens it.
I quite like the fact that the padding is so minimal too: a slightly thicker pad across the forehead and two thin strips over the top. They are anti-bacterial to stop whiffy helmet syndrome, but the good thing is they don't really get overwhelmed with sweat in the first place.
You do get an extra pad that sits either side over the top of your ears that can be slid slightly forwards and backwards to cover your temples. Personally I found them an absolute pain in the backside, especially if you wear glasses with thick arms as they are vying for the same space. Thankfully, they are easy to remove just by unclipping the cradle and sliding them off.
Catlike helmets have always had a pretty distinct look thanks to loads of round vents, but the Kilauea does things slightly different.
There are still a fair few, 24 to be precise, but they are much bigger than normal. The large front centre vent and the u-shaped one beneath scoop in a huge amount of air, which means the Kilauea is great when the temperature is above 20°C.
The vents are helped by deep channels that run through the EPS main shell above your head. They link the front vents to those at the rear, letting the cool air in and blowing the warm air out the back.
Removing all of this material for the vents does mean that the structure needed to be strengthened to pass the relevant safety standards. Catlike says it has achieved this by creating an internal mesh of graphene and aramid that the EPS liner is moulded around. Both materials have incredible strength in relation to their weight, so Catlike can increase the performance of the structure without sacrificing the Kilauea's numbers on the scales.
It all comes at a cost, though: a cool £219.99, to be precise.
I will say this, though, the Kilauea is very well made and excellently finished, thanks in part to the way the outer shell is wrapped around underneath the EPS. This not only works from a visual aspect, it also stops the helmet getting damaged when dropped or things pressing into it when in storage.
Giro's Aether MIPS is more expensive at £259.99 and it is a touch heavier, so the Catlike is at least fighting its corner.
The Sweet Protection Falconer is around 40g heavier than the Catlike but it does cost 20 quid less.
One thing that both these helmets have, though, is MIPS technology: a slip-plane that is designed to deal with the rotational forces during an impact. That could be a deal breaker for you.
Another helmet deserving a mention is the Catlike Vento, the Kilauea's little brother. It doesn't look quite as cool in my opinion, but it does share most of the technology plus it is the same weight, all for £109.99.
Overall, the Kilauea is pretty much my favourite helmet at the moment thanks to that excellent fit and airflow, but £220 is a lot of money for an EPS lid.
Brilliant ventilation and one of the lightest, most comfortable helmets on the market, but it's going to cost you
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Catlike Kilauea Helmet
Size tested: 55-57cm
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, "A helmet that retains the identity of the Spanish brand, with its oval inspiration but which appears as a totally new, redesigned helmet. A semi-armored helmet that adapts to all weather conditions thanks to the excellent ventilation system that has always been the hallmark of Catlike. All this including a heart with the strength of a rock thanks to its internal mesh of aramid and graphene."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
SIZES AND WEIGHTS:
SMALL | 52-54cm | 215gr
MEDIUM | 55-57cm | 225gr
LARGE | 58-60cm | 240gr
TECHNOLOGIES: Internal mesh of aramid&graphene | vDivisor | Oval organic design | MPS eVo 2 retention
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A great helmet for road riding and racing, especially on warmer days.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ventilation is up with the best I've known.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Irritating temple pads, but don't worry – you can remove them.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Most companies' top-level offerings are over the £200 price point so the Catlike isn't cheap but it's not overpriced compared to the competition.
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 overall score
Very little to fault the Kilauea in terms of performance, but similar weights and technology can be had for less money.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!