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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.
- Price: £295.00
- From: specialized.com
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.
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.
This product features in our Daytrippin’ Kit Essentials buyer’s guide
|Tested:||by Benji for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 149|