The comfortable and secure Catlike Tako feels more expensive than it is, and it looks it too – so long as you don't get too close.
The Tako is solidly constructed, if rather shakily finished. The vents are scruffily moulded both inside and outside; beyond arm's length you don't notice, but once you get up close it looks a little cheap.
In use, however, it feels trustworthy and comfortable. The straps are chunky and their length generous – I cut off around 8cm once the fit was dialled in, and still had around the same left for adjustment. There's a wide, moulded band to securely tidy the ends, which I appreciate. It works far better than the cheap o-ring or rubber band that some lids use.
Each pair of straps adjusts to sit comfortably under your ears with locking clips, though those chunky straps don't dry very quickly once soaked with sweat. At least the salt stains match with the monochrome colourscheme...
Meanwhile inside, the retention band has a small amount of vertical adjustment, while the MPS eXe clickwheel works in 1mm steps to rapidly set a secure, comfortable fit. The padding, cradle and adjustment all feel tough and well made.
Catlike offers extra pads to accommodate varying skull shapes, but unfortunately they're extra. The Tako is supplied with a replacement brow pad only.
That short visor is removable, but does leave ugly sockets on show. Keeping it in place barely interferes with vision even on drop bars, while two narrow slots aid peripheral vision if your chin is down.
This size Medium is for 54-57cm craniums, and gave enough space and adjustment for my head, which is bang on the 57cm limit. It's light and comfy enough to completely forget about (the helmet, not my head) which is really all you can ask from a commuting lid at £45. Well, that and crash protection. While I can't personally testify to its strength, the Tako is CE marked, and conforms to the European standard all bike helmets must meet.
The three large vents at the front have bee-strainers to stop insects getting angry with your scalp, and cooling is good to the point of painful on cold descents (even after they fill up with snow). With 21 large, angled vents sculpted to direct air from front to back internally, the Tako shouldn't get excessively sweaty on warmer days, though the test period was cold. It certainly remained entirely chill even on well-sheltered hard climbs in 10°C air temps.
There are only two sizes. Size Large (58-62cm) is a claimed 40g heavier, though the target market of commuters and weekenders is unlikely to mind. The Tako is also available with the black and white scheme here reversed, and in an attractive black, white and red option.
The finish, despite being a little rough around the edges, is tough enough to easily withstand daily use. The paint is inside the transparent shell, and though the logos are outside they're hardwearing even under deliberate provocation.
While you can find where money's being saved by looking at the details, in general – and in use – there's nothing about this helmet that screams 'budget'. It's hard to argue with a comfortable, well-fitting and sharply-styled helmet at just £45.
Compared with other helmets we've tested on road.cc, the also short-peaked Oxford Metro V is £10 cheaper at £34.99, for instance, but the high fit, awkward retention system and random vent design means it's far less convincing than the Catlike. Oxford's Raven is a closer competitor at £39.99, and at 250g it's slightly lighter, though the too-firm pads and non-locking strap guides are things to be aware of.
Finally, if it's dedicated urban use you looking for, don't overlook high-coverage lids like the Smith Maze – at 282g it's not as heavy as it looks, and the lack of ventilation may actually be a boon on short runs and cold mornings.
Stylish venting, decent weight and a great fit make this ace value – the only letdown is the slightly rough finish
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Catlike Tako Helmet
Size tested: Medium 54-57cm
Tell us what the product is for
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."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MD/ 54-57cm / 260gr
LG/ 58-62cm / 290gr
ANTI INSECTS NET
WHEEL RETENTION SYSTEM
23 Air Intakes
Good and solid overall, but with a slightly rough finish.
Comfy pads, well-shaped venting and a tidy retention system mean it's fit and forget.
Feels more expensive than it is, and looks it too... so long as you don't get too close.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Cool, comfy and secure, it's a step above 'budget' offerings for urban or light use – and feels the same on longer, harder rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The finish may be a little rough, but Catlike hasn't scrimped on the straps or cradle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The ugly holes if you remove the peak. Some blanking plugs would help.
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
The Tako is a versatile, affordable helmet that's stylish enough to avoid funny looks either in town or on longer, more serious rides. Performance belies the affordable price.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking