Giro Insurgent Spherical helmet review – a full-face helmet for the toughest rides

Giro's Insurgent Spherical is designed to deliver top protection and comfort. We inadvertently put it to the test in a real-life crash situation

A rider wearing a Giro Insurgent Spherical full-face helmet with bike park backdrop
(Image: © Janine Begley)

BikePerfect Verdict

Designed to handle the toughest rides, Giro's Insurgent is a standout choice for riders seeking uncompromising protection and performance on their mountain biking adventures.

Pros

  • +

    Spherical technology

  • +

    MIPS protection system

  • +

    Reasonable airflow despite minimal visible vents

  • +

    Two sets of cheek pads

Cons

  • -

    Getting used to the D-ring fastening 

  • -

    High price point

  • -

    Only three sizes

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We'll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

As mountain bikers, we all know that safety is paramount, especially when taking on the most challenging trails. Finding a reliable and high-performance full-face mountain bike helmet is essential for any rider seeking both protection and comfort. In this review, I aim to see if the Giro Insurgent Spherical full-face helmet lives up to its reputation. From its design specifications to its real-world performance, let’s see the potential of this helmet and determine if it's up to the task of handling the toughest rides.

Giro Insurgent Spherical full-face helmet sitting on a wall with countryside backdrop

The outer shell is constructed using a durable polycarbonate material, which provides excellent impact protection (Image credit: Janine Begley)

Design and specifications

The Giro Insurgent Spherical impresses right out of the box with its sleek and aggressive design. It's evident that Giro has paid attention to both form and function, creating a helmet that not only looks great but also boasts impressive build quality. The helmet's outer shell is constructed using a durable polycarbonate material, which provides excellent impact protection. Additionally, the in-mold construction technique seamlessly fuses the outer shell with the EPS foam liner, ensuring a sturdy structure that weighs in at 1,040g in M/L size – which is a tad lighter than many rival full-faces. The Troy Lee Designs D4 Composite comes in at 1,050g, while the Bell Full-9 Fusion weighs 1,080g.

While the technology has been around for a while now, the integrated Spherical MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology is a significant game-changer. Movable internal layers allow the helmet to take the brunt of rotational forces, minimizing the risk of brain injury in angled impacts.

The helmet comes with two sets of cheek pads that are in different thicknesses. This helps get the best fit and with the directional snap system that secures them, they are easily removable in the event of a crash. Alongside them, there is a soft, lightweight brow pad which helps to keep sweat away from the eyes. 

Another welcome feature is a patented ‘Flex Gasket’ along the lower edge of the helmet which has been designed to reduce the role a helmet can play in certain collarbone impacts. 

Beyond its core protective capabilities, the Insurgent Spherical boasts a range of additional features. The visor is adjustable, allowing riders to fine-tune their field of vision according to weather conditions and personal preferences. The helmet also includes an integrated camera mount for capturing ride footage without the need for additional accessories. These details make it a versatile helmet that caters to the needs of modern mountain bikers.

Side view of rider wearing a Giro Insurgent Spherical full-face helmet with countryside backdrop

The Insurgent has an adjustable visor and includes an integrated camera mount (Image credit: Janine Begley)

Performance

The design specifications are carefully crafted to aid riders in various scenarios, providing enhanced safety and usability such as the D-Ring fastening. I had confidence that if I were to crash, the fastening would hold firm and the helmet would stay right where it's supposed to be. The only downside that I personally experience with this is that I have Raynaud's syndrome and so often my first couple of runs on a colder day result in me having numb fingers, making it difficult to fasten a D-Ring. Despite taking a bit longer to sort, I liked having the extra confidence knowing the helmet wouldn’t be going anywhere in a crash situation. 

The Insurgent is a good fit for my head and feels more secure and stable than others that I have tried, such as the Troy Lee Designs Stage. The helmet's extended coverage offers extra protection for the sides and back of the head, reducing the risk of injury during falls or impacts. The helmet seats goggles really well also. I find this one of the most difficult things to achieve comfort with and I often default to riding without goggles as I find they press too firmly against my nose. But I didn’t experience this issue to the same degree with the Insurgent Spherical.

With regard to vision, there is nothing that obstructs a clear view and the visor which I tend to wear at its highest point, is well out of my eye line.

Now, let me share this story that of inadvertently putting the Giro Insurgent Spherical to the test. Picture this – I'm tearing down the trails at Dirt Farm in Abergavenny, Wales, feeling invincible. As I approach a table top jump with the confidence of a pro (which I most definitely am not), I misjudge my speed and overshoot the landing. Before I know it, I've crashed head-on into a tree. While I may have suffered a cracked rib and a bit of a twisted knee from the impact, I'm relieved to report that my head remained fully protected and unscathed, thanks to the Insurgent. It turns out that on this occasion my taste for adrenaline exceeded my jumping skills, but at least I can laugh it off knowing my noggin is safe! As for the helmet, it is showing no signs of construction damage other than a few scrapes on the outer hard shell, although it is recommended by Giro that I have the helmet inspected or replace it immediately to ensure protection isn’t compromised. 

Giro does offer a crash replacement service in which you may be eligible for a discounted replacement or a new helmet. There are clear instructions on their website on how to go about this if necessary.

Verdict

The Giro Insurgent Spherical helmet truly lives up to the hype. From its sleek and aggressive design to its excellent construction, this helmet is a testament to Giro's commitment to rider safety. The Insurgent's design specifications, including extended coverage and MIPS technology, provide exceptional protection without compromising comfort. There is no compromising on safety with this lid and it has its place firmly at the top of my choice of full-faces. With its adjustable visor and integrated camera mount, it also offers added versatility to capture and enhance your riding experiences.

Tech specs: Giro Insurgent Spherical helmet

  • Price: $350.00 / £349.99 / €336.70
  • Weight: 1,040g (size M/L tested)
  • Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/2XL
  • Colors: Matte Harbor Blue, Matte Black/Gloss Black, Matte Black/Ano Lime, Matte White/Ano Blue
Janine Begley
Freelance writer

Janine has always had a deep love of bikes which stemmed from BMX and now focuses on MTB. She jumped back into her passion of riding bikes wholeheartedly in the summer of 2021 and has been frequenting bike parks and trail centers as much as possible since then. She is happy to attack all kinds of trails but her heart lies with air time on flow and jump lines. With wishing she had more confidence when younger to do more within the BMX scene that she grew up immersed in, she has found now that fear has left the building and demonstrates a serious ‘it’s now or never’ attitude to her riding. 


Rides: Airdrop Edit 2022 and DMR Sect 2021

Height: 5ft 9in (175cm)

Weight: 9st (57.2kg)