Top quality helmet boasting great ventilation and striking looks… some bug mesh would make it even better

What first jumps out at you about the Catlike Sakana is its striking looks - a fellow cyclist likened it to a hedgehog. Although I was initially unsure over its aesthetic appeal, I will concede that its looks have grown on me.

Key to this aesthetic are the giant frontal vents, and the equally massive side vents. These form part of a design which Catlike term 'Dual Flow', which apparently keeps 'airflow constant inside the helmet'. In common with many manufacturers at the moment, Catlike have looked at the helmet as a whole and have designed a clear path for the air to flow from front to back. In practice, the result is an extremely well ventilated lid - you can literally sense the air being sucked out from behind your head. When getting up to speed, I could feel my hair ruffling, something I haven't experienced with any other helmet.

As well as excellent ventilation, Catlike are keen to tout the Sakana's enhanced safety. The 'Air Tube System', a technology patented by Catlike, involves a series of small hollow tubes which connect the side fins together. These fins both strengthen the structure allowing other parts to be made lighter, and act as energy dissipaters in case of a crash, much like the crumple zones on a car. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), I wasn't able to test this feature but it's nice to know that some thought has gone into improving safety. It should go without saying that the Sakana meets CE EN1078, the European safety standard. Rear coverage is also surprisingly good for such a race oriented lid, further backing up its safety credentials.

This feeling of safety is reinforced by the brilliant retention system. Whilst some other helmets make you feel as if they are perched on your head, the Sakana's vertically adjustable system really helps to cradle the back of your head - a feeling I really enjoyed. The system also has a wide range of horizontal adjustability which, in conjunction with the two cradle mounting points and 4 model size range, should ensure that all head shapes and sizes are catered for. The only downside with the system is that it takes two hands to operate which could make things a bit trickier when adjusting on the go.

A neat feature of the Sakana, and indeed, most of the Catlike range, is the small chin pad included on the straps. This adds a touch of comfort but also encloses the unsightly strap ends which can flap about in the wind. Whilst a small detail, to me, this demonstrates the effort that has gone into designing the helmet.

If I have a gripe with the Sakana, it's the lack of mesh on the frontal vents. As the temperatures begin to rise, insects are taking to the air and the Sakana seems to be a veritable magnet for the little critters. Having to stop mid ride to try and extricate an angry bee from your helmet is a sure fire way to put a dampner on things.

Coming in at a claimed 290 grams for the Medium size tested, the Sakana isn't breaking any records for light weight, but the ventilation and safety more than make up for this in my opinion. The market is saturated with helmets at this price point and the Sakana more than holds its own when compared to similar offerings from the major players such as Giro and Bell.


A top quality helmet with superb ventilation and enhanced safety features, all rolled into a striking looking package - it's just a shame about the lack of mesh on the frontal vents.

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Catlike Sakana helmet

Size tested: White M

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?

A top-end helmet for riders looking for something a bit different.

According to Catlike, the Sakana features a 'totally breaking look that gave birth to what we called functional design; an spectacular image that responds not only to visual aspects, but also to new improvements in what comes to safety. This design, together with the Air Tube System technology, makes of this helmet an example of reliability. Sakana profits from the new rear retention system produced in double compound, a piece that is clearly responsible of the safety and comfort feeling that this helmet transmits.'

The Sakana is available in four sizes: S(54-55cm), M(55-57cm), L(57-58cm), and XL(58-61cm)

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Conforms to the European safety standard CE EN1078.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Exemplary ventilation keeps your head cool no matter how hot the day. This is especially noticeable at lower speeds such as those encountered when climbing. As a race ready lid, it performs admirably.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Highly adjustable retention system and extended rear coverage result in a secure feeling fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Lack of bug net on the frontal vents.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 20  Height: 190cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: What I'm testing  My best bike is: Canyon Ultimate CF.7

I've been riding for: 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: Road, mtb

For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.


Slow Factory [7 posts] 8 years ago

Seems like the helmet will snag if it hits the ground at any number of angles, thus risking a worse neck injury than with a smoother helmet.

joemmo [1163 posts] 8 years ago

I had the same thought. Anyone know if the product safety standards test the helmets in lower angle of incidence impacts or just drop / hit them dead on?

Liam Glen [51 posts] 8 years ago

From what I understand, the CE test only involves vertical freefall onto either a flat or angled (like a curb) anvil. The deceleration must not exceed 250g when dropped from 1.5 metres onto either anvil type.

As part of the CE certification process, the retention system and straps are also tested and various environment and ageing tests are performed as well.

For more detail on helmet testing procedures, I've found the BHSI website to be really useful. URL: http://www.bhsi.org/index.htm

dave atkinson [6529 posts] 8 years ago

By the by, the Sakana *looks* more pointy than a normal race-level lid due to its design, but i'm not convinced there's actually more pointy bits on it to catch on the road than there is on other similarly priced helmets.

Martin Thomas [385 posts] 8 years ago

Looks nice, but according to this site http://goo.gl/s93SG the largest version (XL) is a mere 61cm. Speaking as one who is blessed with a considerably larger cranium than that (between 63 and 64cm), I say Pah! to your suggestion that it'll fit all head sizes and shapes. This little thing would sit on top of my head like a pimple. There are about five helmets I've ever tried that were big enough for me so seeing that this one was available in four sizes filled me with hope. But alas it's yet another one for the pinheads (no offence to all you pinheads out there...)

Giant Rob [59 posts] 8 years ago

This is a crazy looking lid. I always go for dull looking helmets which are rounded and grey. This looks pretty good but I aways try helmets on to see how they fit before I buy. Wouldn't mind trying one on to see how it feels.

eddie11 [119 posts] 8 years ago

does anyone know if the peak comes off?

Trev Allen [132 posts] 8 years ago

Yes it does!

http://road.cc/35266 see it in action half way down the page. Although it looks like the guy in Red White and Green needs it more than Liam!

Sarah_andthepus... [13 posts] 8 years ago

Are they going for an Alien vs Predator look? I personally think it looks horrible, but maybe that's what they're going for... any publicity etc...

BigDummy [314 posts] 8 years ago

Isn't it just like the Catlike Whisper - line shots of a bunch sprint they're the only helmet yu can actually recognise. There must be a bit of value in such a distinctive look, even if it produces no other benefit.

The _Kaner [1201 posts] 8 years ago

Looks like a pelvis...or some sort of boneage, ribcage thingumy...personally i'd hide if that was about my person...

keith roberts [206 posts] 5 years ago

Errrr, I own one.....yes it looks like sonic the hedgehogs bastard son/daughter.... but it's actually a very good lid..very cool in the heat,fits well and it's very distinctive,i've only seen one other guy wearing one..
in the real world its actually not a problem to use this helmet,it doesn't catch on things because of the fins at the rear, and yes you do get bugs in your hair...but that happens with all helmets..the peak could do with being a little longer for my taste,just to stop headlight glare etc, but its no biggie as I only use the peak in deep winter/heavy weather...
all in all very pleased...had it two years,no trouble at all....

keith roberts [206 posts] 5 years ago

oh. and it was WAY cheaper than the list price....