The Giro Insurgent is a Lightweight Full Face Helmet Perfect for Bike Park Days [Review]

The Giro Insurgent full face mountain bike helmet breathes well, though it's not as lightweight as some competitors.
Giro Insurgent full face mountain bike helmet

Gone are the days of dense, heavy, and windless full face helmets. With options like the Smith Mainline, Bell Full-9, and now the Giro Insurgent, there are plenty of options for light and breathable full-pro lids.

The Giro Insurgent debuted in late spring as a lighter and more breathable answer to the brand’s Disciple helmet with a 50% improvement in cooling efficiency and a 200g drop in weight.

The Insurgent features an in-mold construction and a pre-preg fiberglass shell, an adjustable breakaway visor, 20 total vents with internal channeling and optimized airflow, two different cheek pad sizes, a D-ring buckle (sorry Fidlock lovers), and an array of safety certifications. A size medium weighs 1,040g. Buyers get four different color choices and three sizes: XS/S, M/L, and XL/XXL.

Oh, lastly, the Insugent uses MIPS Spherical, which Giro first used on their Manifest helmets — one of my favorite half-shells in recent years. MIPS Spherical acts similarly to MIPS, but instead of using the familiar yellow plastic sheet, Spherical uses a separate layer of the helmet to manage rotational protection. Put simply, there’s an outer layer handling the linear impacts and protecting your skull and the inner layer — if you reach inside and wiggle the ceiling of the helmet around — rotates to protect your brain from concussion risks. MIPS Spherical doesn’t claim to be safer than a traditional MIPS liner, but in my experience, it’s more comfortable.

Giro Insurgent ride impressions

Photo: Jace Jackson

It should be apparent that the Insurgent and Smith’s new Mainline are toe-to-toe competitors. They look similar to one another and have similar intentions as lightweight, enduro-worthy helmets. The Insurgent immediately reminded me of riding in the Mainline last year and got me excited to spend some time lapping the bike park in the Insurgent.

The Insurgent has a really secure feel. Another word for it might be tight. I don’t feel like the size medium was too tight for me, but it could have just a little more room, even with the smaller cheek pads in place. I noticed some squeezing on my face earlier in the day, but I stopped noticing after an hour or so. Then, I just focused on nailing the lines in the park.

By now, there are a lot of helmets out there using Fidlock buckles instead of a D-ring, even some full-face helmets. Still, on something I’m going to wear over high-speed jumps and waterfall-like rock gardens, I like the security of a D-ring. It might take an extra minute to secure or remove, and gloves only make the job harder, but it feels more appropriate for this style of riding.

Inside view of the Giro Insurgent helmet

At this point in the summer, the temperatures have cooled down quite a bit, but a full-face is still a full-face. The Insurgent does a good job of importing air inside the helmet, mitigating heat and sweat. I wore the Insurgent for just under three hours on a day of testing and easily could have kept it on for another hour or two without being all that bothered.

The aesthetics on the Insurgent are easy to get along with and remind me of a blended street and dirt moto helmet. The chinbar is shortened and subdued but the visor is better for long days in the sun and slower speeds. The colors aren’t too exciting, but they aren’t polarizing either. There should be something for everyone. At $350, it’s not exactly an entry-level full-face helmet, but that seems the price range for high-quality protection these days.

Closing thoughts

Giro has done a great job progressing their full-face helmet option, making the Insurgent lighter and more vented than its predecessor, the Disciple. At over 1,000g for the size medium, it’s not as light as some of its competitors, but it’s still light and comfortable enough to wear for hours.

Party laps

  • Light for a DH helmet
  • Breathes well
  • Good aesthetics

Pros and cons of the Giro Insurgent full-face helmet

Dirt naps

  • Pricey
  • Not the lightest

Check out our mountain bike helmet buyers guide and our picks for the best mountain bike helmets.