First Ride Review: Giro Manifest Spherical Helmet
The Giro Manifest helmet, in our eyes, might just be the best mountain bike helmet Giro has ever made. Consider it a combination of versatility, breathability, features, and safety courtesy of what the brand calls Spherical. What is Spherical? Call it the crux of the Manifest, or a serious advancement from just about every MIPS helmet we have in the shop. For those not in the know, MIPS is essentially a slip plane that lets the helmet slide around relative to the helmet. The slip plane is usually a conspicuous yellow piece of plastic that, while beneficial in reducing rotation forces to the brain, does a great job of getting caught in long hair and limiting breathability. Most every helmet we have here at the shop has MIPS in some form, and while many are better than they ever had been. The new Giro Manifest helmet, which offers the latest generation of what they call Spherical MIPS, makes it feel like a helmet ought to in the best way possible.
Spherical, or MIPS Spherical is what makes the myriad features of the Manifest possible. Rather than plastic moving against EPS foam, there are two parts: a lower, stationary part, and a mobile, sliding piece above it. The sound of the pieces moving past one another is the same (but without the squeaks!) as is the resistance between the two pieces. The difference here is that if you crash, you’ll catch the outside part first, rotating and deflecting the force your head might feel in other directions. Further, the pieces of foam are different densities to try and deflect forces accordingly to address both high and low-speed crashes. Giro’s data claims that this is an excellent helmet in regards to force dissipation. Like anything else, we are typically skeptical about safety system claims without testing and data to accompany the claims. But their claims in regards to cooling, comfort, and overall performance are justifiable, and in most cases completely valid.
Spherical meant that Giro needed to create a polycarbonate reinforcing arch that wraps through the center of the helmet called AURA. It provides strength to the helmet, but importantly it allows for a well-ventilated design, with myriad air channels inside that promote airflow over the head. Giro claims that the Manifest is seven percent cooler than the stalwart Montaro MIPS helmet that is beloved by so many in the shop. It's even nearly as well ventilated as the Giro Aether (review HERE) that uses the same Spherical design, albeit in a lower profile road bike-specific shape. Giro loaded the Manifest helmet with features. There are grippers inside of the helmet to stow away your glasses, a rubber pad on the back of the helmet to keep a goggle strap in place. The visor adjusts 15 degrees to accommodate goggles. It does so without premade detents, which doesn’t sound like anything special but it feels great in practice.
The Manifest uses a FidLoc connector which allows you to secure and undo the buckle with one hand. The straps stay nice and flush with the skin, meaning they stay nice and quiet when it's windy out. There is also Giro’s Roc Loc Trail Air fit retention system, which provides a 3mm gap between the helmet and forehead, again a nod to increased ventilation. You’ll appreciate it, regardless of whether you’re going 25 mph on the descents or 3 mph through a technical climb. Ezra was able to get out with the new Giro Manifest helmet a bit before its release for some testing and opinions. His thoughts:
“More than any other helmet I’ve tried, the Giro manifest fits like a hat. It feels and looks low profile, though helmet looks are always subjective. Overall fit is great, though the helmet manages to go down quite a bit farther than I thought it would. Wearing glasses can be a problem sometimes if the shell goes down low enough to rub, but the helmet is notched around the temples and it had plenty of coverage without messing with my glasses.” “Colors are important, and in the black that I have it in, the helmet looks great. I would say it looks better still in the olive colorway, but each color looks good in my eyes. And regardless of color, you get reflective details that are nicely integrated into the design and color scheme. I’d love something with more purple, but these work well.”
“I have long hair, but I think the helmet does a good job. I’ve never thought about how hot I was, and in my eyes, that is a win against sweat and overheating. Climbs are a good time to stow away glasses, and I thought the rubber bumpers held in my glasses admirably. I wish more helmets had this, and it is something I would look for in any future helmet purchase.” “Perhaps what was most impressive was that despite all of the advanced features here, it felt like a helmet without distraction. The Manifest is lightweight, breathes well, and does everything I could want from a helmet. The added level of our new MIPS makes these advancements all the better.”
Have any questions about the Giro Manifest helmet? Give us a call during business hours or send us an email to email@example.com.
Words by Alvin Holbrook and Ezra Jefferies. Photos by Rennon Kiefer.