Menu

Catlike Leaf Helmet: Reviewed

Catlike's First Foray into MTB

Words by Morgan Taylor. Photos by Morgan Taylor and Jason Fuller.
February 19th, 2014

Catlike helmets haven’t seen a lot of press in the mountain bike world, though you’ve no doubt seen their road helmets out on the streets and in the PRO peloton. The Leaf is Catlike’s first foray into a proper mountain bike helmet, and they’ve done quite a good job with it. Unique, but not-too-out-there styling (which can’t necessarily be said their road aesthetics), a variety of colours, decent coverage for its weight, and a nice retention system.

I quite like the all-over print on this particular model, but it’s the texture of the shell that really intrigues me. The Leaf has a soft, almost silky texture to the outer shell, something I’ve never seen on a helmet before. I wondered whether this soft-feeling satin finish would prove less durable than a traditional glossy shell, but it’s held fast for months of less-than-easy treatment.

The retention system is another place where the Catlike stands out. Sliding pads on the retention strap above the ears and two adjustable circular rubber pads at the back are complemented by a simple vertical adjustment – possibly the most comfortable retention system I’ve tried. My only complaint here – and it’s one of personal preference – is the traditional doubled chin strap, which some designs are stepping away from.

catlike-leaf-3

The Leaf provides decent coverage for its weight, and has a neat satin finish that I’ve not seen on a helmet before.

catlike-leaf-10

The only time you care about bug nets in your helmet is when you’ve actually got a bug in your helmet – which can be a harrowing experience. I won’t argue with this design feature.

catlike-leaf-8

Catlike has used a refined version of the traditional band-style retention strap, which results in one of the more comfortable systems I’ve used.

catlike-leaf-6

It’s not all ups though: the Leaf’s visor is slides up and back on a 45º plane along the black plastic bit hiding in the camouflage. While visor adjusability seems to be a necessary feature, I find this implementation cheesy and not very useful. I set it to the top and never touched it again.

catlike-leaf-5

Ignoring the garish all-over print, the Leaf is a bit more traditional in shape than its golf-ball-esque road brethren.

With its 23 vents, the Leaf cools about as well as any other XC helmet. My Medium model, the smaller of two available sizes, weighs in at 292 grams. If you like big blocks of primary colours and are looking for a particular colour red or green, the Leaf might have you covered. And of course, you can get one in satin black as well. The Catlike Leaf can be had for $110 US.


The Leaf looks like a good option for those who want a unique, good quality helmet without paying out the nose for it…

  • DrewM

    I love my Leaf helmet – fit is a personal thing for sure, but if you used to wear a medium Giro and find the new fit (Xar) is not for you definitely try on the Leaf.

    It is also very cool that the majority of their helmets (and my Leaf) are actually manufactured in Spain.

    -D

  • boomforeal

    i’ve always ripped those little nets out so i can scratch my head through any vent. never had a bug get in my helmet; maybe i’ll stop when i finally do

    • morgman

      Some time last year I got a large insect in my helmet for the first time. Not knowing if it was a bee or a horsefly or whatever else, it was one of those “rip the helmet off ASAP” moments. That said, I’m not bothered by helmets that don’t have the mesh. Still a rare occurrence.

  • Oldfart

    More choice is always good. For ski helmets it had been Smith and Giro as a choice for years.There were Uvex and Carrera available so if either Smith or Giro did not fit or not your liking.. It is better now with POC and others now available. And cycling is much better now too. Lots of styles and fits available.

  • albertjimper

    I’ve got the Catlike Leaf and I really love it.

    It adjusts perfectly to my head, and it is specially comfortable when you have been a few hours in the mountain. Maybe it is for the lightweight. I’ve never had a helmet with anti insect net and I confess that it is very useful, specially in the summer.

    If you are thinking on buying a good quality mtb helmet for a very competitive price, get this, you won’t regret.