First Look Review : Pete’s Specialized Camber Helmet.

While at the entry-level point of Specialized’s new trail helmet range, the Camber sports plenty of features to keep you safe and comfy.

With five shell sizes, an impressive size range covering kids to large-domed adults, five star Virginia Tech rating and MIPS, have Specialized raised the bar for entry-level MTB helmets with the Camber?

Photos by Pete Scullion.

Key features:

  • MIPS equipped
  • Headset SX dial fit system
  • Tri-Fix web splitters
  • ANGi ready
  • Five Star Virginia Tech® Helmet Rating™
  • £70.00 RRP

While it might be the entry point for Specialized’s updated trail helmet range, the Camber is far from skimpy on the features and tech. With the ventilation being the key starting block for the new range, the Camber doesn’t look any bit the cheaper younger brother to the Ambush, but a very capable helmet that covers everyone from kids all the way up to adults with large heads.

Seventy pounds certainly isn’t an insignificant quantity of money, but it seems that we’re well beyond the realms of entry level helmets being flimsy bits of polystyrene that simply tighten around a human skull.

It’s great to see features like MIPS moving their way down to helmets like the Camber and that Virginia Tech rating is a helpful sign that the marketing is backed up with some actual third-party testing outwith the normal ‘standard’ testing. You can put the Camber on your head and feel confident that, should you need to use all its features, then it’ll do you a solid in that eventuality.

Fit is crucial to getting on with anything like a helmet, and it’s important to be aware of that. Like with the other Specialized helmets, I found myself in the middle of the Camber sizes, despite being an L/XL all my life with a healthy 60.5cm melon atop my shoulders. Not only that, but my head is pretty square and find my head doesn’t fit into the upper reaches of the inner shell as it might want to. I suspect someone with a more rounded head would suit the Specialized offerings a touch better.

That’s not to say I found the Camber uncomfortable, it’s just there are likely better fits for my head in the world of helmets. Getting the fit was easy thanks to the Headset SX dial, which lacks the finesse of the fit system on the updated Ambush and Tactic, but otherwise does a solid job of tightening against your head without crushing your skull.

On the trail, the Camber doesn’t cover the quantity of your skull like its bigger brothers, but then you have to find some compromise with coverage and features, and for an entry-level helmet, I think the Big S have chosen the right mix. Anyone experienced enough to want more coverage is likely to look higher in any range of helmets anyway. That said, the coverage offered on the Camber meant I could still feel like I could crack on.

You can tell that the ventilation on this range of helmets has been a key component of the design, with the Camber doing a solid job of keeping the sweaty brow at bay even on some humid hill days. The only thing that the Camber, like its brethren lacks, is a central point to mount a light like an small Exposure unit, but if you’re picking a helmet based on night rides alone, you may well be an owl and that would be a very niche complaint indeed.

Thankfully I haven’t had to test the safety features of the Camber, and I hope that continues. Should it take a dive into the dirt, I shall keep you updated.

What do we think?

Looking past the fit and sizing to the features the Camber comes laden with, and it’s hard not to be impressed by how good Specialized have made their entry-level MTB helmet.

If you can get one on your head before you buy, then the Camber will serve you well.

We love:

  • Feature laden
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Great-looking helmet

Could do better:

  • Try before you buy sizing

You can check out the new Specialized Camber on their website here.