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Specialized Gambit helmet review

The big S isn’t playing games with its debut full-face enduro helmet

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £295.00 RRP | USD $300.00 | EUR €350.00 | AUD $480.00
Specialized Gambit full-face mountain bike helmet

Our review

Extraordinarily light yet highly protective, the Gambit is one of the best enduro full-faces you can buy, despite some minor niggles
Pros: Light weight; DH-certified; comfortable and airy feel; lots of adjustment for a great fit
Cons: Cheek pads need a bit of ‘persuading’ into place; pricey, but then carbon fibre lids always are
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Specialized may be late to the enduro full-face party, but its Gambit helmet has been worth the wait. It’s surprisingly light, but full ASTM downhill certification confirms that it’s tough, too.

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There’s plenty of adjustment for different head shapes, and ventilation is excellent.

A few small niggles cropped up during testing, but nothing that would hold me back from recommending it – assuming you can afford the high price tag that invariably accompanies carbon fibre construction.

Specialized Gambit full-face helmet details and specifications

A polycarbonate-reinforced carbon fibre shell keeps weight down and delivers decent protection, in conjunction with a multi-density foam liner. MIPS SL slip-plane tech is integrated into the padding, in a bid to reduce the effect of rotational impacts.

The helmet is also compatible with Spesh’s ANGi crash sensor (£45 extra), for peace of mind when riding solo.

Despite all this, it weighs just 627g (medium), making it the lightest full-face I’ve tested. The Gambit comes in three sizes and has an open-face-style cradle that offers five clicks of vertical/angle adjustment as well as a lateral tensioning dial.

Three sets of cheek pads are provided, with four possible positions for each.

Specialized Gambit full-face helmet performance

All this adjustment makes it easy to get things feeling snug and secure, but not pout-inducingly tight up front. On the trail, the helmet is super-stable and remains in place incredibly well, not slipping forward on even the harshest of drops to flat.

In fact, it’s one of the best-fitting enduro helmets I’ve tried, with its light weight – only 244g heavier than Specialized’s Tactic trail helmet – serving to further enhance overall comfort.

Huge vents on the chinbar and smaller ones on the brow draw in plenty of air, keeping goggles from fogging up on damp days and stopping things from getting too sweaty even on extended climbs, while also avoiding the ‘hemmed in’ feel of some full-face lids. Speaking of goggles, there’s room to stow them under the peak.

Specialized Gambit full-face mountain bike helmet
The Gambit has plenty of air vents.
James Costley-White / Immediate Media

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think the Gambit is good-looking, too.

So far, so great, but it isn’t absolutely perfect. The peak clips rather than screws into place, so is non-adjustable and easier to detach unintentionally, as when I snagged one side with my goggle strap.

I also had trouble with one of the plastic studs on the cheek pads not pushing into place properly and the pad coming loose – a problem I’m not alone in experiencing.

Getting the lid on requires you to pull the straps forward and hook the cradle over your occipital bone, which is a bit fiddly. The paint at the base of my sample has some chips, too – disappointing given the high price.

Specialized Gambit full-face mountain bike helmet
It has a thumb-wheel fit adjuster, unlike a lot of dedicated full-face lids.
James Costley-White / Immediate Media

That said, the Gambit’s RRP is in the same ballpark as premium full-face enduro lids from Troy Lee Designs, Smith, Giro, Bell, MET and others, and we’ve already seen it selling for considerably less online.

The cheek pad issue resolved itself after a full day’s use, and the ease with which the peak unclips is intentional, to make it safer in a crash. Plus, despite its fixed position, it’s not visually intrusive when riding.

Specialized Gambit helmet bottom line

Overall, then, this is one of the best lightweight full-faces I’ve used.

Weighing only a couple of hundred grams more than most trail lids, you could conceivably use it for general riding and not just racing or bike-park duties.

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If it weren’t for a few small niggles, it’d be a contender for a full five stars.

Product Specifications

Product

Price br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $480.00EUR €350.00GBP £295.00USD $300.00
Weight br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 627g (M), Array, g
Brand br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Specialized

Features

Features br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Carbon fibre shell with structurally-specific polycarbonate backing
Patent-pending targeted multi-density foam liner
MIPS SL with exclusive perforated backing
Integrated Fit System; breakaway peak; ANGi ready
Computational Fluid Dynamics-optimised internal channeling and 4D brow cooling for optimal airflow
MIPS br_MIPS, 11, 0, MIPS, Yes
Helmet type br_helmetType, 11, 0, Helmet type, Mountain bike full-face