For about the past three years, since I started wearing a bike helmet while riding, I’ve used an inexpensive Specialized bike helmet in muted spaceship-silver. Recently, the adjustment-wheel slide mechanism at the back broke and the helmet quit tightening enough to fit snug. I found a good deal on a Catlike Kompacto at BikeTiresDirect. I was pretty happy at the prospect of getting something a little higher-end that looks a little less like a spaceship than the Specialized helmet. Here’s a video I found describing the Kompacto: http://youtu.be/a4amsXRhKqo The helmet BTD shipped to me was different in at least one respect from the one shown in the video – it didn’t have the chin-strap pad. The BikeTiresDirect illustrations, though, show the chin-strap without a pad. One review of the Kompacto seen online (but I didn’t save the link – you’ll have to google it) complained the Kompacto looked like a mushroom on the reviewer’s head. My guess is, though, that unless you make your living as a hat model, you’re going to look odd wearing any cycling helmet.
In the middle top-row photo, above, you can see that a packaged bottle of 5-Hour Energy Drink was included with the Kompacto, along with a glossy, full-color brochure making great claims for the product’s efficacy and inviting the user to complete a survey after having sampled the drink. The stuff’s crap. I experienced much greater than usual thirst and I felt hungrier while noticing no ‘performance’ gains during about a 30 mile moderately hilly ride averaging 14 – 15 mph on an antique steel roadbike. I completed the survey and told them so. I will stick with the Gatorade Prime Sports Fuel Drink I’ve been buying at a local scratch-and-dent grocery outlet sooo cheaply I dare not mention my price per unit. The Gatorade product’s way more effective in terms of performance gains – I find myself pedaling without fatigue and faster a few miles into a ride than without it – something I did not experience with the 5-Hour Energy product. I prefer the Gatorade Berry flavor, or the Orange. The Fruit Punch flavor tastes like fruit-punch, and that is not great.
My greatest disappointment with the Kompacto is that it’s manufactured in China – Mainland, Communist China – doubtless by slave-labor. Who knows why, but for some reason I thought a Spanish company would manufacture its products in, well, Spain. Sadly, no.
Regarding fit, I measured my noggin in centimeters, and bought a Medium, whereas when I measured previously, bought a Large in the Specialized helmet. With the Specialized helmet, I had to tighten the adjustment wheel all the way down to get a fit. I stupidly tried that with the Kompacto and had a headache my first ride wearing it. Duh, right? I was able to achieve a good fit without cinching the helmet down all the way. The plastic clamps below the ears on the chin-strap are easy to adjust, but come unclamped easily if my hand brushes against them while I put on the helmet.
The Kompacto’s fit is a little uncomfortable, even with the adjustments done correctly. Worn with a cycling cap, however, the helmet is much more comfortable. I’ve used it now for about 350 miles, maybe a little bit more, and have found it superior in terms of weight and wearability to the Specialized helmet it replaces.
Read the Follow-Up Review