The Catlike Kompact'o Urban has a fun, flowing design reminiscent of the Gothic Art Nouveau style found in the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona. That might not be such a coincidence given that the holy site is about a five and a half-hour drive from Catlike's headquarters in the autonomous town of Murcia, Spain. But this helmet isn't all folly and shenanigans. It has plenty of practical features like four points of adjustment, bug netting in the front vents, and thick, well-placed padding. It also comes at a discount compared to many of the top products, making it an even more intriguing road helmet. This is a helmet that will please across a wide range of uses, but it stands out for its ease of use and ventilation. That makes it a great choice for warm weather and riders that tend to need a lot of adjustment, or riders looking to stand out with a unique style.
Catlike Kompact'o Urban Review
Cons: Forehead padding requires visor, bulky, doesn’t use MIPS
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Kompact'o is a solid performer, percolating up near the top of our list as one of the most consistent offerings out there.
One of the top features of this model is its widely distributed padding across the forehead to the temple and along the top of the skull. One note here is that the Kompact'o Urban comes with a built-in the visor while the regular Kompact'o version does not. This is notable because the Urban's padding is connected to the visor, so if you ditch the visor, you ditch the padding, so be sure to grab the model you prefer. If you screw up and get the wrong one, don't worry, Catlike sells replacement padding without the visor.
Another aspect we appreciate is the bug net covering the front lower vents. They sell additional netting with wider coverage, but it wouldn't be a crime if it just came stock. We'd also prefer that it had a finer gauge because gnats are still a menace, but at least bees, beetles, and flys stay out of your hair (or whatever's up there). We'd also be remiss if we didn't mention the easily adjusted retention system that locks in the fit and makes this a very comfortable helmet.
As great as this helmet feels, there are a few other models that pull off even more comfort. The Editors' Choice Giro Synthe MIPS is a more traditional offering with judicious application of padding, but a well-designed retention system that hugs the head and secures the liner and shell while maintaining a nice float. If you want more padding and are in the market for a premium aero helmet, you might also enjoy our Top Pick for Aero Helmets, the Kask Infinity.
Catlike uses its MPS EVO (Multi Position System Evolution) to allow four adjustment points to fit a wide array of domes. At the rear is its convenient two-way dial to change the diameter of the retention frame. Ergonomic adjustment wing features sit along the sides between the temple and ear to better fit different head shapes, which made a big difference to our testers.
Understandably, such features place this model near the top of the list, sitting alongside other helmets that offer the most personalizable fits. We preferred the fixed Y-straps and adjustable chinstrap of the Kask Infinity, but The Komopact'o does better than the Infinity in overall adjustment options. If you are interested in going premium and need an aero helmet, take a look at the Kask.
This lid uses a combination of EPS (expanded polystyrene) and PPE (polyphenyl ether) to deliver a strong plastic foam structure that can take impacts. Most of its parts are easily replaceable, which improves the longevity of the product, though most of the componentry is fairly simple and degradation isn't too likely. The one slight complaint was that that the velcro that secured the visor and padding came off, but that issue can be fixed with a stronger glue for polystyrene from a hobby shop or hardware store.
The Kompact'o will last you a good while and take a pounding, but if you are looking to beat the helmet up and really give it the business or just want something that's going to live forever, there are a few others you might want to check out. The Smith Overtake is also simply designed, but uses durable premium materials to improve its longevity. The Kask Protone also uses a similar scheme to deliver an indestructible headcase.
To certain riders looking for a bit of unique character, this could be one of the most aesthetically pleasing helmets in the group. Keep in mind that there are two versions: the road version and the urban version. The difference is that the urban version has reflective paint and decals and a visor while the road version does not. Many roadies would likely contend that the visor reduces one's visual appeal and perceived prowess, but some folks swear visors look Euro, pro, and cool. The urban version comes in three stock colors, and the road comes in five. For a fee, however, they offer a customization option that allows you to pick from the full-color spectrum to paint about seven parts of the helmet and even add text and logos.
Large front intake vents and rear exhaust holes on the Kompact'o are really effective at keeping things cool. Its excellent performance isn't just attributed to its twenty-one vents (a pretty average number), but to their design. It's just as breezy and cool as the Lazer Z1 with its remarkable thirty-one vents.
One helmet that noticeably outperforms both of these is the Specialized Airnet, which only uses 22 vents, but uniquely places them horizontally along the lower front rim, sides, and lower rear to draw air in and pull air out. If ventilation is a top priority, we encourage you to give this one a serious look, but the Kompact'o still provides solid performance for its price.
A measured weight of 291 g in a size Medium puts this somewhere around the average for high-performance road helmets, though there are quite a few lighter helmets in our lineup. It uses a larger design to improve its visual appeal, support its ventilation, and add to its protection. If weight is a huge concern for you, there are certainly lighter models out there.
We think $100 is a good asking price for this lid. It has a simple design with replaceable parts, good ventilation, unique design, great adjustability, and solid comfort. It's a helmet that will last a good while and keep you happy and looking good for the duration of its life.
The Kompact'o has a unique design that absolutely adds a thick layer of allure, and it also performs admirably across many of our measures. The only area where it really fell short was in our weight metric, but chances are you can do more to drop your riding weight by cutting out one beer a month (say it ain't so!). That said, the Urban version seems to encourage riding to cafes and bars, so weight probably isn't much of a deal-breaker here. Out on the roads doing hard rides in the heat, the ventilation was a godsend, especially on long, slow, grinding climbs in the sun. It also uses just enough padding distributed across the top and front of the head, cradled in its MPS EVO retention system to deliver top comfort. We think most riders will be very pleased with the Kompact'o, even if they don't have a flair for its whimsical style.
— Nick Bruckbauer & Ryan Baham