Review: Catlike Helmet Ratchet Band Won’t Leave You Feeling Woozy

The new Catlike Leaf 2C helmet provides great protection in a comfortable, affordable, and stylish package. I’ve been testing the latest version for a few weeks now, and here’s what I’ve found.

These days most mountain bike helmets utilize a ratcheting band to keep a tight fit. But the problem is, once the band is tight enough to stabilize the helmet, it often becomes uncomfortable, or worse, constricts blood flow along the scalp. The Catlike Leaf 2C features a fairly standard ratcheting band, but slips two independently flexible plastic discs in between the band and the wearer’s head to reduce pressure. The helmet also features fairly generous padding along the inside band and top to further alleviate pressure points.

Catlike calls this retention system “Multi Position System Evolution,” or MPS EVO. The retention strap can also be moved up and down just a bit for an improved fit. Sliding pads located just above the ear offer another comfort adjustment.

Like many mountain bike helmets these days, the Leaf 2C features extended coverage in the rear of the helmet. Catlike uses this spot to place a highly reflective logo and additional reflective decals for maximum visibility at night.

Speaking of riding at night, I found that the Leaf 2C offers a nice, flat spot on top for mounting things like lights and action cameras. Known for their distinctive ovalized vents, Catlike probably didn’t design this helmet with lights or cameras in mind, but it’s actually one of the best vented helmets I’ve found for mounting accessories. My single bulb NiteRider Pro light nestles into the second middle vent perfectly, requiring just a couple of zip ties to attach.

The Leaf 2C helmet has netting inside the first, bottom row of front vents, which makes for a nice bug guard. All told, this helmet sports 23 medium-sized vents. While it’s certainly not the airiest mountain bike helmet I’ve used, it isn’t overly stuffy either. Since this is a mountain bike helmet, the Leaf 2C includes a removable visor, though sadly it is not adjustable.

The chain strap included with the Leaf 2C is high quality, while the plastic buckles are fairly standard. The strap management system is pretty solid as well, and works as expected.

On the trail, the Catlike Leaf 2C felt comfortable and very stable, even with the added weight of a light mounted on top. The ratchet system and buckles are super easy to use with gloved hands.

Perhaps my only real complaint about the Catlike Leaf 2C is the weight. At 346g (size large), the Leaf 2C is on the medium/high end of vented helmet weights, though certainly not out of line at this price point.

I like the way the Catlike Leaf 2C helmet looks and how it seems to ride fairly low on my head. The black matte finish on the model I tested looks sharp, though it does tend to show sweat and dirt easily. Catlike offers the Leaf 2C in 5 additional colorways.

At $129.99 the Catlike Leaf 2C is a comfortable helmet that sticks to your head and stays there. With its extended rear shell, bug net, and sun visor, the Leaf 2C should keep your head protected from whatever nature throws your way.

Thanks to Catlike for providing this helmet for review.