Safety doesn't suck.
Catlike's Vacuum Helmet is a surprising addition to the Spanish company's helmet line because, well, it looks very similar to the Platonic idea of a bike helmet. That's not to say it doesn't have some unique touches that only Catlike offer, but that it packages those features in a more conventional, less look-at-me form that recommends it for the trail, proving that safety doesn't have to suck the fun out of a ride.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the Vacuum and its competitors is the extended rear section of helmet, which Catlike refers to intuitively as Safety Low Nape Protection (LNP). LNP's lower shell puts a layer of protection between any obstacles and your occipital lobe, an area that typically gets ignored by lids that are shaped more literally like lids, just perching atop your head instead of encompassing it.
Not to be overlooked is Catlike's Air Tube System, which makes up the Vacuum's core and comprises a series of small tubes connecting the helmet's segmented "fins" together. The design divides the helmet into impact-absorbing crumple zones that dissipate energy at the time of a crash — not unlike the skeleton of a compact car. It also provides a strong skeleton, so Catlike's engineers can reduce weight in other areas and keep the Vacuum under 300 grams, claimed. It also results in 19 generous vents with matching rear exhausts to vacuum up air so you stay cool.
The Vacuum uses the same MPS (Multi Position System) retention system as the top-shelf Whisper Plus. The MPS is constructed around a rubberized plastic strap that attaches into, and pivots from, a socket in the shell of the helmet at the temple, which then follows the side of your head and curves around toward the back, where it floats freely from the nylon web straps. There are two additional lateral adjusters on a ratcheting strap for circumferential adjustment. The whole system slides up, down, around for a comfortable fit on a wide variety of head shapes.
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