Reviews You Can Rely On

Giro Insurgent Spherical Review

A comfortable and versatile downhill helmet with excellent protection levels
giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review
Step-up jumps, gaps, hucks, race courses, this helmet isn't afraid of anything.
Credit: Pat Donahue
Price:  $350 List
Manufacturer:   Giro
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2022
86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 10.0
  • Protection - 20% 9.0
  • Weight - 20% 7.0
  • Ventilation - 15% 7.0
  • Visor - 10% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Giro Insurgent Spherical is a very comfortable downhill helmet that hits the scale at a reasonable weight. In fact, this helmet earned a Top Pick award for Best For Comfort. Yes, there are helmets with fancier shell materials and better ventilation. That said, we found ourselves reaching for the Insurgent quite often due to the pleasant feel and its balanced attitude. It is an excellent choice for banging bike park laps, hucking freeride lines, or racing downhill. With its reasonable 1042-gram weight, it isn't totally out of the question for the enduro racer who can only own one full-face helmet.
REASONS TO BUY
Very comfortable
Protective
Surprisingly versatile
REASONS TO AVOID
Mediocre airflow
Not well suited for substantial amounts of pedaling

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Very comfortable, protective, surprisingly versatileBreathable, more robust than other enduro-focused options, lightweightComfortable, breathable, secure fit, substantial protection for enduro-style lidProtective, reasonably priced, comfortableImpressive price tag, comfortable, available in seven sizes
Cons Mediocre airflow, not well suited for substantial amounts of pedalingNot suited for frequent bike park duties, a little expensiveSlightly heavier than other enduro lids, not the best option for the bike parkAverage ventilation, heavier weight, no rotational impact protection systemWarm, poor ventilation, fit is a little loose
Bottom Line A comfortable and versatile downhill helmet with excellent protection levelsA dialed enduro-oriented helmet that delivers excellent breathability and solid protectionA killer enduro race helmet that blends a substantial and protective feel with excellent airflow and comfortA full-face helmet that boasts a strong value and high levels of protectionA respectable full-face helmet at a stunning price tag
Rating Categories Giro Insurgent Sphe... Smith Mainline MIPS Fox Racing Proframe RS Troy Lee Designs D3... 7Protection M1
Comfort (25%)
10.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Protection (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Ventilation (15%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
Visor (10%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Giro Insurgent Sphe... Smith Mainline MIPS Fox Racing Proframe RS Troy Lee Designs D3... 7Protection M1
Weight (grams, size medium) 1042 grams 765 grams 836 grams 1219 grams 947 grams
Weight (ounces, size medium) 36.7 oz 27.0 oz 29.5 oz 43.0 oz 33.4 oz
Number of Vents 20 21 22 20 17
Shell Material Pre-preg Fiberglass Aerocore Polycarbonate Fiberglass Polycarbonate
Rotational Impact Protection System MIPS Spherical MIPS MIPS Integra None None
Sizes XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL S, M, L S, M, L XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL Youth M, Youth L, S, S, M, L, XL
CPSC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CE EN1077 No No No Yes No
CE EN1078 Yes No Yes Yes No
ASTM F1952 (DH) Yes Yes Yes Yes No
ASTM F2032 Yes No Yes Yes No
ASTM F2040 No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Giro Insurgent earned high marks across the board and truly impressed us with its comfort. This helmet is extremely pleasant on the head and the shell shape was spot-on for our testers. Protection levels were also quite impressive while the weight is totally reasonable for a DH-focused helmet. Ventilation was decent for a heavily-padded helmet although there are better options if this is a chief concern. We loved this lid for its do-it-all attitude.

Performance Comparison


giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review - this heavily-padded helmet hugged our heads beautifully.
This heavily-padded helmet hugged our heads beautifully.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Comfort


The Insurgent Spherical offers excellent comfort levels. It feels like a traditional downhill helmet as opposed to a super airy and minimal enduro-focused lid. It has a padded and soft feel anywhere it contacts the head.


The first thing that jumped out to reviewers is the consistency of the fit. Our medium/large test helmet was snug and felt very secure without any pressure points. Above the brow, at the cheeks, and at the ear, the helmet felt like it was custom-made for our melons. The Insurgent comes with removable cheek pads. It comes with a set of 25mm cheek pads installed but includes a set of 30mm pads if you need to snug up the fit. Swapping these pads is very simple as they attach with snap-in buttons.

The closure system is a traditional D-ring system found on many downhill helmets. This system is a bit more complicated than the magnetic Fidlock system, but it is very secure. The helmet can be secured while wearing gloves but it is much easier to manipulate the D-rings without gloves.

On the trail, this lid felt phenomenal. The helmet felt confidence-inducing while bouncing down gnarly terrain. There was no unwanted movement or slop in the fit. The helmet offers a tremendous range of vision, particularly in the periphery. The Insurgent works well with goggles.

giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review - the traditional d-ring system can be difficult to use with gloves...
The traditional D-Ring system can be difficult to use with gloves, but it is very secure and bombproof.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Protection


The Insurgent uses a pre-preg fiberglass shell with a blend of EPS and EPP foam. These two different foams react differently to impact forces. EPS is super light but more brittle while EPS is better at withstanding multiple impacts.


The most notable safety feature is the Spherical technology. It acts similarly to the more popular MIPS layer found in many helmets which allows the helmet to rotate in the event of an angled impact with the goal of reducing the rotational forces that could reach the brain. Traditionally, MIPS is a visible layer of plastic material right under the padding that contacts your head. Spherical technology hides the slip plain between two layers of the helmet to enhance comfort.

On the trail, the Insurgent feels confidence-inducing and protective. While some of the enduro-lids feel minimalist and lacking substance, the Insurgent feels ready for anything you throw at it. This helmet would be an excellent choice for bike park laps, DH racing, burly freeride lines, and other gnarly endeavors. It also isn't out of the question for enduro racing for those who don't mind sacrificing a couple of hundred grams and some airflow in the name of safety and confidence.

This helmet carries the ATSM F1952 DH certification as well as CPSC, CE EN1078, and ATSM F2032.

giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review - for a downhill helmet, the insurgent is quite reasonable at...
For a downhill helmet, the Insurgent is quite reasonable at 1042-grams.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Weight


Our medium/large Insurgent weighs 1042 grams or 36.7 ounces. This places it in an interesting position. It is heavier than the pure enduro-focused helmets by a couple of hundred grams and it is lighter than many of the burlier DH-focused helmets in this review.


On the trail, this middle-of-the-road theme persists. When ridden back-to-back with an enduro helmet, it feels heavier for sure, but it also feels pretty light for a proper downhill helmet.

giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review - with lots of padding and minimal vents, this helmet gets clammy on...
With lots of padding and minimal vents, this helmet gets clammy on warm days.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Ventilation


The Giro Insurgent posts a respectable score in terms of ventilation. Again, it can't match the airflow of the highly ventilated enduro lids, but it feels pretty good for a true downhill helmet.


The Insurgent has a total of 20 vents with internal airflow channels. On the chin bar, the main ventilation port is covered by a plastic material. There are two smaller vents on the outside of the chin bar near the cheeks that are not covered by mesh or plastic. When huffing and puffing on a pedal-y section of trail, the helmet breathes well enough but there is no mistaking it for a true enduro lid.

Above the brow, there are five intake ports. Three are oriented in a horizontal manner and positioned directly above the brow. There are two other vertical ports tucked under the visor. When you are hauling down a trail, you can feel air flowing through the vents. Internal channels are designed to allow the air to pass through to the rear of the helmet.

The biggest reason why this helmet only has decent ventilation is the heavily-padded feeling. The airiest helmets tend to have minimal material in them. This is a more substantial and bulky helmet that will inherently be a bit more clammy and warm. All of the padding can also get soggy pretty quickly when the mercury rises.

We think this lid breathes well enough for its intended application. If you are looking for a super breathable full-face helmet to wear for pedal-heavy rides, we suggest looking elsewhere.

giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review - the adjustable visor features breakaway screws that detach if you...
The adjustable visor features breakaway screws that detach if you crash onto the visor.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Visor


This helmet has a rock-solid adjustable visor. It is on the broad side of the spectrum and it measures approximately six inches wide at its furthest point. To adjust the visor, loosen the thumb screw underneath the center of the visor and push the visor into the desired position. Re-tighten the thumb screw and you're ready to rip. It's not quite as quick or easy to adjust as some other models, but it works well and feels quite secure.


The visor features breakaway screws. In the event you crash onto the visor, the breakaway screws allow the visor to detach. The idea is that eliminating the visor quickly can reduce any odd twisting or bending forces that might occur if the visor stayed in place.

giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review - this helmet is ready to rumble and should stand up well with heavy...
This helmet is ready to rumble and should stand up well with heavy use.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Durability


Throughout testing, we observed no signs of premature breakdown of materials or any failures.

We expect this helmet to have a long, healthy life. Should you break the visor off in an angled impact, Giro has replacements available.

Extras


This helmet comes with two sets of cheek pads. The 25mm pads are installed and an extra 30mm set is included in the box. Users can use the 30mm pads if they need to snug up the fit in the front of the helmet. This process is very simple as the pads simply snap into place.

The helmet also comes with a helmet bag.

Value


The Insurgent Spherical carries a slightly above-average price tag. We think the high comfort levels and versatility make this helmet a strong value. If you are on a tight budget, you can find a less expensive helmet that is totally functional, but we think this is a fantastic, high-quality lid.

Conclusion


The Giro Insurgent Spherical is a well-rounded helmet that is our Top Pick For Comfort. It is extremely pleasant on the head and has a well-rounded performance that we feel makes it a great choice for most gravity-fed situations. There are lighter and more breathable helmets available, but the Insurgent is a true DH helmet that boasts high levels of comfort and could work on an enduro course too.

giro insurgent spherical downhill helmet review - whether slaying berms at the bike park, boosting jumps or racing...
Whether slaying berms at the bike park, boosting jumps or racing, the Insurgent does it all.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Pat Donahue
 
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