We have had the pleasure of reviewing lots of kit from this brand over the years—but it's my first look at Giro. I have used their funky goggles before (and appreciated them) and I am very happy with the Giro Manifest Spherical Helmet.
First off, I have to admit that I thought Giro was an Italian company; perhaps because of their design sense (this is a compliment by the way). Giro, truth be told, kicked off in Santa Cruz California in 1985. The company's first product was an aerodynamic bike helmet designed for use in the new-to-the-world sport of triathlon. Judging from the timeline on their site, they got into ski equipment in 1999.
Looks like they might have more bike than ski SKUs--which bodes well for the top-o-the-line Manifest Spherical helmet we are about to talk about. If you'd like to read a review of another Giro helmet (and shoes) we reviewed a while back, check out the Giro Aspect helmet and Republic shoes. To get the full review, click on the arrow in the orange bar below the image.
Here is the Giro Manifest Spherical in situ. It's a beefy helmet that is surprisingly light for all the protection it offers.
View from the side. I'm not a big fan of the graphics above the ear but there are many colours (with and without graphics) from which to choose.
The Giro Manifest Spherical Helmet is a radical upgrade from the Louis Garneau Edge helmet I wore into the ground recently. The MIPS technology is relatively new to market—and entirely new to me. A number of other features make the Manifest package pretty darn impressive.
What is MIPS?
MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is found in Giro’s top of the line helmets. MIPS is essentially a low-friction liner that helps reduce the impact of rotational energy to the brain in an angled impact. The MIPS System allows the helmet to rotate independently around your head, redirecting impact energy and providing more protection.
In addition to this, the spherical technology allows the outer liner to rotate around the inner liner during a crash and also eliminates contact with a hard-plastic slip-plane. Looking at it, it seems like there is an outer and inner helmet—two helmets in one. Good news for the noggin.
The 10 Wind Tunnel vents keep things very cool. If you want to go for an even cooler helmet (temp-wise) consider a lighter colour
The ROC LOC trail air fit system means you are able to dial in the perfect fit. It feels snug but not tight.
The other side of the Roc Loc is a Boa-style dial that enables dialing-in your fit.
The Ionic and antimicrobial padding means that things don't get stinky. On a hot day, you'll still experience the occasional droplet of sweat in your eye—but that just means you are working hard!
One of my favourite features is the Fidlock magnetic buckle. It makes one-handed opening and closing of the buckle a reality. It takes a little getting used to—then it's the easiest thing ever. Simple one-handed release is a great feature on a bike helmet. No problem, even with full-fingered gloves on.
I am also a big fan of the adjustable visor. Depending on sun, you can tilt it up or down. It also accommodates goggles if you get into DH mode. The visor can be cranked down with a hex head bolt if you want it stationary. There's a close-up of the bolt ni the second pic below.
If you are more of a sunglasses person and your want to park your shades for a climb, these little gripper pads inside the helmet make that a snap.
The Manifest Spherical is Giro's top of the line bike helmet and that's apparent after wearing it a lot over the last two months. I am a gravel biker and wanted to opt for something on the safe side. My gravel rides take me on asphalt, gravel roads, single or double track and the occasional mountain bike trail (sans wet roots and baby's heads SVP). There are quite a few bells and whistles on this helmet, and, as with any well-designed piece of gear, they are barely noticeable.
I really appreciate the fit, which is easily dialled in (literally) with the Roc Loc Trail Air fit system. It feels solid on your head and is highly adjustable. I got a size medium at first and had to swap it out for a large. Though there's a good range of adjustment options, it still makes sense to try on the helmet (yes, at an actual bricks and mortar retailer) before dropping the $$. Especially at this price point. The Ionic antimicrobial padding holds up well to high heat, keeping me cool and comfy. It doesn't stink either, which is nice. I don't think I'll risk taking out the padding for a wash. As with any helmet, it can be a challenge getting the padding back into place after you take it out. Your call.
As I mentioned up top, my last helmet was several years past its prime. I don't need the latest and greatest of everything all the time, but in this case, I got it. The Giro Spherical Manifest features more than just the MIPS technology—which already amps up the safety factor—it also features spherical technology. The best way to understand this is to think of it as a ball and socket. There are, in effect, two helmets, one inside the other. As this Giro people say, it: "redirects impact forces, bringing market-leading design, performance and brain protection together without compromising comfort, ventilation, weight or style." In my own words, it makes me feel safe. For me, a good helmet is like a good avalanche transceiver. It's a key piece of equipment that you shouldn't skimp on. If you like to ride hard and off the beaten track, I'd consider making the investment in this helmet.
Price: $369CAN / $260US
Weight: 370g / 14oz
Colours: Matte Black Hypnotic, Matte Black, Blue Midnight, Matte Grey Green, Matte Olive, Matte Portaro Grey, Matte White
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.
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