Giro Manifest vs Giro Montaro – A Head to Head Comparison

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. We look into the Giro Manifest vs Giro Montaro in depth to find out all the details you need to know.

Giro Manifest Mini Review

Giro Manifest Spherical Mountain Bike Helmet

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.

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Pros

  • MIPS Spherical
  • Goggle Compatibility
  • Adjustable Visor
  • Lightweight
  • Well Ventilated

Cons

  • Expensive

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

Giro Montaro MIPS Mountain Bike Helmet

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.

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Pros

  • MIPS
  • Goggle Compatibility
  • Adjustable Visor
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Ventilation isn’t Great

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 been limited only by its ventilation which wasn’t as good as its counterparts, such as the Specialized Ambush and the Fox Speedframe Pro.

Otherwise, the Montaro MIPS Helmet is a fantastic all-round helmet. It suits the majority of riders who wanted a comfortable helmet to take out on the trails all day.

Design and Construction Comparison

A lot of the Giro range look pretty similar. However, the Manifest design has been completely redone. It looks more like a road cycling helmet with a visor than a mountain bike helmet.

From the front, it looks very similar to the Giro Aether- Giro’s premium road helmet. But Giro has reshaped it a little and put a visor on the front. It even features the Aura reinforcing arch which originally featured in the Aether. It is a great feature as it improves the structural integrity of the helmet following an impact.

Unlike many other mountain bike helmets, ventilation is no after thought. The Manifest has ventilation at the centre of the design. The ventilation of the Manifest is very impressive, and is further explained below.  

The Montaro has a very similar design to the other helmets in Giro’s MIPS equipped range. It has slightly less coverage than the Chronicle, and is fully wrapped at the base (see the photo below). If you want more information on the Giro Chronicle vs Giro Montaro, see here.

The Montaro also features a roll cage, increasing the structural integrity of the helmet. It is made of a light and tough web of reinforcing.

The Manifest has dual-density foam liners (both Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)). This 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 your head. The Montaro has a single EPS liner which reduces the energy from direct impacts.

Safety Comparison

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 liner in between.

This works like the standard MIPS plane, by allowing the outer layer to rotate. It effectively reduces the rotational energy transferred from the impact through to the rider’s head. A MIPS liner 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 fit system, Roc Loc Trail Air, means that the helmet sits slightly above your skull. This allows the air to pass closely over your head, cooling your head down in the process.

The helmets are is very durable, claiming to resist abrasion, scratches and UV rays making your helmet last longer!

The Giro Montaro MIPS helmet has slightly fewer vents at 16. But it also has internal air channelling which again helps with ventilation. It features the slightly older Roc Loc fit system, the Roc Loc 5 Air. It still allows the air to pass over the head, and really has no real difference to the Roc Loc Trail.

The Roc Loc adjustment system on both helmets have very small notches. This allows you to get an ideal fit every time. And they are both 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 to prevent sweat from getting in your eyewear. It is also antimicrobial to prevent odour from building up in the helmet. 

Giro Montaro MIPS

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 was heavier!

Features Comparison

As far as features go, the two helmets are effectively the same. The Montaro was originally designed 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 a goggle strap gripper on the rear of the helmet- which is a very premium feature.

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 and doesn’t impair the safety of a helmet. So it likely that this isn’t the reason for not including it.

Both the helmets are well and truly kitted out, and there is no real winner in terms of features. This is unless you were looking for an integrated camera mount. In which case the Montaro is the way to go!

Conclusion

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 head protection, performance and style are all still incredible on the Montaro. And for a significantly lower cost, it is more than competitive!

Giro Montaro MIPS Helmet Review

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 an excellent 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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