Specialized Gambit

Specialized Gambit Helmet Review

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This Specialized Gambit helmet is going to be a controversial one. And it is a product I very nearly didn’t include. Why? Not because of its price tag. Not because I think full-facers are OTT.

Specialized Gambit

The reason I wrestled with the decision to include a full-face helmet in this Daytrippin’ Kit Essentials is because I’m not sure of the ‘vibe’ it sends to other trail users. Reduced facial appearance equals reduced communication and increased prejudice and assumption.

A full-facer may imply that mountain bikers are dangerously out of control and… reckless? I can see why your everyday rambler may think exactly that.

So what’s the answer? As ever, the answer to interpersonal on-trail relations is ‘don’t be a dick’. It really is quite simple.

The high peak and big widescreen face hole on this helmet really do give other people much more of a view of your eyes and face, which is only going to help with human interaction. The chin bar doesn’t muffle speech much and similarly neither is hearing significantly impaired.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that hearing is often better than it is with an open-face helmet due to the reduced wind noise across the ears.

Ultimately the 640g Gambit weighs a couple of hundred grams more than a proper deep-coverage open-facer and does a better job.

The breathability and ventilation are amazing. I’m never in a mad rush to take this lid off at rest stops. Obviously the physics of the thing mean it must be warmer to wear than an open-facer but… I just haven’t noticed. I don’t ride in Spain. I ride in the UK. And if I’m up somewhere decently high in the UK, chances are it’s at least windy and very probably quite chilly. Overheating is rarely a problem here.

Pic: Specialized

The Specialized Gambit is an extremely comfy lid to wear with the trad retention dial band on the back working just as on a regular open-face helmet. The Gambit has the added benefit of increased protection from the elements – you get less wind baffling and mud spray hitting up your senses. When the elements are against you, sliding on a Buff® underneath the Gambit is a joy that’s on a par with cheating.

Oh, and I don’t wear goggles with this helmet. Sorry fashion police. I either wear regular riding glasses or nothing at all. Partly for trail-user politics, but mainly because I find goggles suck for actual riding-around mountain biking.

Pic: Specialized

This product features in our Daytrippin’ Kit Essentials buyer’s guide

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Review Info

Brand: Specialized
Product: Gambit Helmet
From: Specialized
Price: £295.00
Tested: by Benji for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 149

Cotic RocketMAXer. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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  • Specialized Gambit Helmet Review
  • gbozo49
    Full Member

    Totally agree with what you’ve said about this fantastic helmet. Once you’ve worn it you do start to wonder why you wouldn’t wear it all the time (ditching open face forever). If you’re not fussed about colour you can get it for £150 on the specialized website. I wear it with goggles if I’m riding a bike park but glasses everywhere else. It takes a little bit of getting used to because the minimalist padding doesn’t feel at all like a full face. If your head sweats a lot the lack of padding can lead to a lot of sweat in your eyes but not a deal breaker.

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