Luxury Bikes

Specialized Gambit – In our 2023 comparison test for lightweight and convertible full-face helmets

While Specialized is best known for its extensive bike portfolio, the American manufacturer also has a huge soft goods collection. The Gambit is the lightweight full-face helmet in their portfolio and is designed to provide the highest levels of comfort and ventilation without compromising on protection.

Specialized Gambit | not convertible | 717g | 360 € | Manufacturer’s website

Immediately out of the box, the Specialized Gambit is characterized by its compact dimensions and appears rather small compared to most full-face helmets. It’s far less bulky than the other helmets in this test and has plenty of vents, especially around the chin bar area. At just 717 g in size L, it is the lightest helmet with a fixed chin bar in the entire test field, but still complies with ASTM certification for downhill helmets. The adjustment dial is neatly integrated into the shell of the €360 Specialized Gambit and discreetly hidden in the rear vent, allowing you to adjust the fit of the helmet without a massive adjustment mechanism resting against the back of your head. Additionally, the Gambit full-face helmet comes standard with two different cheek pad formats, allowing you to tailor the fit to your exact facial anatomy. The Gambit’s visor is fixed and cannot be adjusted in height. The shell is made of different types of EPS foam strategically placed around the helmet. A floating, lightweight MIPS SL lining in the helmet is intended to dissipate the rotational forces that arise in the event of an accident. As an additional safety feature, you can install Specialized’s ANGi sensor on the back of the helmet, which is programmed to detect an accident and notify a pre-selected emergency contact via the Specialized Ride app shell – a very useful feature, especially if you You are prone to accidents or like to drive alone.

The Gambit’s chin strap runs right past the ear, causing uncomfortable chafing while riding.
The adjustment mechanism is discreetly integrated into the rear ventilation opening.

The Specialized Gambit runs rather large, with size M proving to be the better choice for our test riders with a 61 cm head circumference – although Specialized’s size chart recommends a size L, which is more tight on the sides of the head than on the forehead or the base of the occiput . As a result, some of our testers found that the Gambit fits very snugly at the temples, but still has play at the back of the head. Even if you manage to find a good fit, the Gambit is relatively loose and sits on the head rather than hugging it – not particularly confidence-inspiring. Additionally, the cheek pads are far too thin and do not prevent the hem from wobbling. Unfortunately, the chin straps add to the discomfort on the trail – they are cut too close to the ears and rub unpleasantly when the helmet moves. However, the countless ventilation holes make the Gambit a very airy riding companion, even on demanding summer climbs. The rear ventilation holes allow you to hear what’s going on around you without causing annoying wind noise.

The Specialized Gambit is a compact, lightweight full-face helmet and is also the lightest competitor in this test. With its MIPS SL liner and ANGI sensor, it offers some very useful safety features. However, our testers couldn’t handle the elongated shape and uneven fit, both of which affected their confidence on the trail. On the other hand, the Gambit is very well ventilated and does not isolate you from the outside world, so you will always be aware of what is happening on the trail without the riding experience being spoiled by annoying wind noise.


  • Compact dimensions
  • Discreetly integrated functions
  • Light


  • Chin straps rub against ears
  • Loose fit
  • Doesn’t inspire much confidence

For more information visit

For an overview of the group test: 9 lightweight and convertible full-face mountain bike helmets tested

All full-face helmets tested: Bell jar Super Air R Spherical (Click for review) | Bluegrass Vanguard Core Edition (Click for review) | Fox Proframe RS (Click for review) | giro Insurgent (Click for review) | MET Parachute MCR (Click here to read a review) | POC Otocon Race MIPS (Click for review) | Specialized Gambit | Troy Lee Designs Stage (Click for review) | Uvex Revolt MIPS (Click for review)

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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker

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