Catlike Kompacto


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: 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