The Specialized Ambush with ANGI is light and comfortable half-face mountain bike helmet that is forging ahead in terms of safety technology, giving us peace of mind that we don’t think we’d go without now when riding alone.
The 2019 Ambush mountain bike lid saw some big updates, including new proprietary MIPS-L liner and the g-force indicator, ANGI, added to the rear of the helmet. ANGI in conjunction with the smartphone ‘Ride’ app can detect the impact, as well as rotational and angular forces involved in a crash. Not only that, it can call home and can send out your location so help can get on the way to you in an emergency.
The helmet itself is very light (286g), one of the lightest we tested in fact, and it keeps the rider pretty cool in the heat of summer too, but it still suffers from some of the fit and spec niggles we’ve complained about during previous Ambush tests. The fit of the small lid is still pretty large and when the cradle is winched up tight on smaller heads the helmet sits quite proud at the rear of the head. The cradle itself is well designed, secure and comfortable but you can’t adjust the height of it. Neither can you adjust the length or height of the under-ear straps which seems a little cheap.
Should it fit though, the lid offers deep coverage, features a secure, adjustable peak and a MIPS-SL liner designed to integrate the protection system into the helmet padding providing 10-15mm of movement in every direction whilst increasing breathability by doing away with the plastic insert. It's a little hard to explain, the best way to see the movement is to watch the video below.
ANGI is a helmet mounted sensor that can detect g-forces associated with a crash via a gyro even if there is no actual impact on the helmet. The unit attaches to the rear of the helmet, in the case of the Ambush, directly above the cradle adjustment dial on the EPS foam. It pairs with a Smartphone app (IOS 10 / Android 7 or later) which is then used to contact your emergency number and send our location details. The battery life of the sensor is ok lasting 6 months with regular use, it is easy to replace with a 3V lithium battery (2032) once it's drained.
Simply shake the helmet to star up the sensor, 'start' the ride in the app and the ANGI unit will check in with the app every 5 minutes throughout the ride until you tell the app the ride is over. If during your ride a crash happens, detected through extreme g-forces, loss of speed or rotational forces, the sensor connects to the Ride App and sends a text alert to your emergency contact telling them you may have been in a crash. It also sends your GPS co-ordinates to all the contacts you have listed in the Ride App. There is a set time period in which you can cancel the call signal so if you have crashed but are OK, you can cancel the alert before it worries your contacts. I set mine to 45 seconds, figuring I need that long to get up off the floor, get into my pack and find the phone and remove it from the dry bag I usually carry it in.
We have tested this in the garden at home, rather than crashing, and it takes a swift swipe with the helmet in the air coming to an abrupt stop to set the ANGI sensor off. On setting the sensor off, your phone will display the below countdown and then alert your contact by text if you don’t stop it. It is pretty reassuring when riding alone, it's an unobtrusive safety feature that makes so much sense I’m not sure why you wouldn’t have one, especially when time could be crucial when medical attention is needed after a crash.
The Ride App allows you to set a time period for your ride, all you need to do is signal when you start your session. Then if you do not complete the ride within the given time the ANGi unit and app will send out a notification to your contacts with your last updated location, Spesh say this will happen whether you have phone signal or not. On being sent an email notification of a ride being started by another ANGI user who has your details as their emergency contact you can track their ride as they go, with the sensor recording location at 5 minute intervals. My husband used it the other day to find out when I might be home from my ride in order to get dinner ready – not the intended use but useful all the same!
In all seriousness though, the ANGI sensor and Ride app are a great use of technology to keep us safe. Hopefully, it will never be you or me but we have all heard of at least one person that has been stranded on a trail with no phone signal or not being able to alert friends or the emergency services to their whereabouts in an emergency. ANGI takes your safety and has your back in these situations. I always wear this helmet when riding along and am seriously considering buying an ANGI sensor for my other favourite helmet, at £40 for the standalone sensor, it's pretty cheap when you consider it’s uses and the implications of not having one when riding alone. At £130 with the ANGI sensor included the Ambush is good value, and its value is made even better by the fact that the Specialized Ride app is now free to use for life rather than bearing a £22 yearly subscription fee.
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