The Giro Manifest is Giro's latest and greatest helmet. It is stacked with features, and could possibly be one of the best trail helmets on the market. But, it does come with a hefty price tag.
Here we put the Manifest head to head with the Montaro to see what makes it such a special helmet and if the Montaro can compare.
Giro Manifest Mini Review
The new top of the line helmet from Giro. Has everything you need and more. Ideal for the rider who wants the best of the best trail helmet.
The Giro Manifest was released in May 2020, offering the best of safety, comfort and ventilation that a helmet could offer. A lot of design has gone into making sure the Manifest was done right, and the designers have spared no expense.
It features the new MIPS Spherical technology which, currently, is available only for Bell and Giro helmets. More on the Spherical technology will be explained in the safety section. It looks good, its light, and there have been no complaints as of yet.
Giro Montaro Mini Review
One of the top-of-the-line helmets from Giro, made for trail riders who want all the features and to look good while shredding up the trails.
The Montaro, up until May, had been Giro's premium trail helmet. It is an exceptional helmet, excelling in comfort, safety and design. It had only been limited by its ventilation which wasn't as good as its counterparts, such as the Specialized Ambush and the Fox Speedframe Pro.
Otherwise, the Montaro is a fantastic all-round helmet which suited the majority of riders who wanted a comfortable helmet to take out on the trails all day.
Design and Construction Comparison
The Manifest design has been completely redone, looking more like a road cycling helmet with a visor than a mountain bike helmet. From the front, it almost seems Giro has taken the Giro Aether road helmet, reshaped it a little and put a visor on the front. It even features the Aura reinforcing arch which originally featured in the Aether, improving the structural integrity of the helmet following an impact.
Unlike many other mountain bike helmets, where ventilation appears as an afterthought by shaping ventilation holes in the shell, the Manifest seems to have ventilation at the center of the design.
The Montaro has a very similar design to the other helmets in the Giro range, in particular the Chronicle, which is only differentiated by the lower rear of the helmet and the exposed EPS foam layer at the base.
The Montaro has a slightly higher cut than that of the Chronicle, and the outer polycarbonate shell wraps right around the EPS foam layer, so the foam is not exposed, increasing the durability of the helmet. The Montaro also features a roll cage, increasing the structural integrity of the helmet, made of a light, but tough, web of reinforcing.
The Manifest has dual-density foam liners (both Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)), which effectively means that your head will be protected from both high speed and low-speed crashes.
The progressive layering means that it can distribute the energy from the impact more efficiently, reducing the force transferred to the head. The Montaro has a single layer of EPS foam which reduces the energy from direct impacts.
The Manifest, as mentioned earlier, has MIPS Spherical which is currently exclusive to the Bell and Giro factory. It works similar to a ball and socket joint, with two layers of protective foam which can rotate relative to one another with an invisible MIPS layer in between. This works like the standard MIPS plane, by allowing the outer layer to rotate, which reduces the rotational energy transferred from the impact through to the rider's head. MIPS reduces the chances of acquiring brain damage in a collision.
There has been no definitive answer as to which MIPS technology works better, the spherical on the Manifest or the standard plastic slip-plane on the Montaro, but the MIPS spherical has the added advantage of having two layers of foam. The outer layer, of EPS foam, is a harder foam which is better at reducing faster, harder impacts, while the inner layer of EPP is a slightly softer foam which is more efficient at reducing slower impacts.
The combination of the two layers reduces the energy transferred to the rider's head over a larger range of energies than a standard EPS helmet. This gives the Manifest the advantage, safety-wise, over the Montaro.
Comfort, Ventilation and Weight Comparison
The Giro Manifest has 19 vents, with internal air channelling to keep the air flowing over your head. The Roc Loc Trail Air system means that the helmet sits slightly above your skull allowing the air to pass closely past your head. The system also is very durable, claiming to resist abrasion, scratches and UV rays making your helmet last longer!
The Giro Montaro has slightly fewer vents at 16 but also has internal air channelling. It features the slightly less advanced Roc Loc system, the Roc Loc 5 Air, which is similar to the original 5 but also sits slightly above the skull allowing air to pass through. The Roc Loc systems have very small notches, allowing you to get an ideal fit every time, and is also incredibly comfortable.
Both helmets have antimicrobial padding, but the Manifest has gone a little further in having pure silver in the pads. The silver provides natural permanent anti-odour protection which is incredibly cool. The Montaro doesn't trail far behind though! It has hydrophilic padding which works by absorbing the moisture while you are riding to prevent sweat from getting in your eyewear and then dries quickly. It is also antimicrobial to prevent odour from building up in the helmet.
The Manifest is ever so slightly lighter than the Montaro, weighing in at 346g and 370g respectively. This minor difference wouldn't really make a difference to your riding, but given that the Manifest is the premium helmet we would have been surprised if it were heavier!
As far as features go, the two helmets are effectively the same. The Montaro was designed initially as the top of the line helmet, so it has everything you could need. The Manifest, now taking the top of the line position, can't really add anything more to the spec'd out Montaro. Both are goggle compatible, with the visor lifting high enough to fit goggle beneath, and both feature goggle strap grippers on the rear of the helmet.
The only difference really is that the Montaro features an integrated breakaway camera mount, which the Manifest does not. We aren't sure if this is to do with safety reasons (the camera mount getting in the way), but Giro has previously stated that in their testing that a camera mount breaks away in a collision so does not impair the safety of a helmet, so it likely isn't.
Both the helmets are well and truly kitted out, and there is no real winner in terms of features unless you were looking for an integrated camera mount, in which case the Montaro is the way to go.
There is no doubt about it that the Manifest exceeds in terms of performance and design. It is an incredible helmet and wins over the Montaro in almost every way. So much thought has gone into the design that it is hard to criticize such a top of the line helmet. However, the price is the pinch point here. No expense has been spared on the Manifest, but that does cost the consumer a pretty penny. Whether or not it is worth it is completely up to the rider. The safety, performance and style are all still incredible on the Montaro, and for much less, it is more than competitive!
Personally, I love the Manifest but think that the cost is just a little too much for me. If I were to spend that amount, I would go for a more protective downhill helmet or the convertible Bell Super DH. The Montaro is still a very good helmet, and for trail riding would be all I would require in terms of safety, comfort and ventilation. But again, this is entirely up to the rider and their style of riding!
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