If you are on the hunt for a light, safe and comfortable helmet in the mid $100 USD range, take a quick look at this Giro Montaro helmet review.
We have had this helmet for around 2 years now, and it isn’t the latest model, but we will explain where the new helmet has been improved. So we will look into where the helmet excels, how it compares with similar helmets, and whether it is right for you.
If you want to know what makes a good helmet, have a look at this post, but if you already know what you want- let’s dive right into the Giro Montaro.
Giro Montaro Helmet Review
Intended Use: Trail to Enduro riders. Good for someone who rides longer distances, or does enough climbing in their ride to get quite warm. Pretty much good for anything a half-shell helmet is good for!
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.
- Moderately priced
- Good ventilation
- Cool colorways
- Not super lightweight
- Sizes run small
- Limited rear coverage
The helmet has reasonably minimal padding, but it is well placed and quite plush, making it a super comfortable helmet. The padding in the latest model claims to absorb 10 times its weight in water, helping manage your sweat while riding. In both models, the padding is antimicrobial which prevents the helmet from smelling too much. You can also take the padding out to wash occasionally too.
Ventilation in the Montaro isn’t bad, but isn’t anything to write home about either. With 16 vents and internal channeling, one would be excused for thinking it would have pretty flash ventilation. The vents are pretty small, which I have assumed is due to having to work around the internal roll cage (described below).
The visor has three set positions, with the highest being able to store goggles or glasses when they aren’t in use.
The straps are pretty basic. A classic plastic buckle (no Fidlock magnetic system sorry), and plastic adjustable strap holders beneath the ears.
First and foremost, the helmet has MIPS. This anti-rotational technology is something we just simply wouldn’t ride without. It significantly reduces the chances of permanent brain injury by absorbing rotational energy from a crash.
You can see the MIPS liner when looking inside the helmet. It allows the outer shell to move independently to your head, so the outer shell takes the brunt of the rotational impact, and doesn’t get transferred to your head. If you want to read more on MIPS and other anti-rotational technology, see here.
The second really cool thing that the Montaro features is the roll cage. The roll cage is a super lightweight structure embedded in the EPS foam. It provides a bit more rigidity to the foam, again working to keep your head safe. You won’t really ever notice the roll cage (unless you have a big incident), but it is reassuring to know it is there!
The helmet has pretty good coverage of the sides of the head, but the shell doesn’t quite come down as low on the back of the head as many other helmets. Looking at the Giro Source next to the Montaro, you can see the coverage just isn’t quite there.
The Giro Montaro has 4 sizes (S, M, L, XL), with plenty of adjustability within these ranges.
|Head Circumference (cm)
From my experience, the sizes do run a little small. I usually wear a size small helmet, but couldn’t fit my head into the size small Montaro and have had to upsize to a medium.
The dial at the rear of the head and the retention system, referred to as the Roc Loc 5 Air, really fine tune the fit. The adjustment tightens around the head evenly, meaning no pinch points and a really good fit every time. The dial is large too, which allows you to change the tightness on the go (even with large fingers and with gloves on).
The cradle can be adjusted up and down too. So if you want the helmet sitting closer to your forehead, or sitting further down the back of the head, you can change this. Personally, I never have never changed this setting from the stock standard- but a good feature to have if you need!
On top of the features we have listed already…
- Antimicrobial and highly absorbent padding
- Internal air channeling
- Adjustable Visor
- Goggle and glasses storage
- Internal roll cage
There are also some other cool features,
Integrated breakaway camera (or light) mount. I use the light mount a fair bit for night riding here in Nelson (New Zealand). Firstly, it is really handy to be able to have the helmet mount so easily. No velcro strapping to the helmet- which is super uncomfortable, super loose, and straight up not safe. The integrated break away mount allows the mount to be sacrificed in a crash- rather than your neck.
Integrated Goggle Grippers. These hold your straps in place so you don’t lose your eyewear mid-run. You won’t fully appreciate the value of these until you have a helmet without!
Comparison and Value
In the Giro Range, you have the Giro Merit which sits above the Montaro in the pecking order, and the Giro Source just beneath. The Merit offers more protection in the form of MIPS Spherical (a supposedly improved MIPS protection system), more rear coverage, much better ventilation, and a few other features. It does step up quite quickly in price though.
The Source on the other hand, is another one of my favorites. It doesn’t have the roll cage reinforcement that he Montaro has, nor the compatibility with goggles, but is slightly lighter weight, and has more coverage around the back of the head. It feels super secure and is again very comfortable, but… it is not as well ventilated as the Merit! I would seriously consider the Source if you don’t wear goggles or glasses while riding. See our comparison of the Source and Montaro here.
A few other helmets worth considering in a similar in price are the Bell Sixer, Smith Session, and the Troy Lee Designs SE MIPS. The Giro Montaro comes out on top of the Smith Session and TLD SE MIPS due to the weight, ventilation and fit just being a bit more refined.
The Bell Sixer, however, is certainly one to consider, and it may just be up to personal preference on fit and feel of the lid if you are able to try it on. The Sixer does weigh about 40g more than the Montaro, if weight is a deciding factor for you!
For an excellent performing trail / enduro / all mountain lid, the Montaro is a helmet you won’t regret buying. It has all the safety features you need, plus the the roll cage for additional structural support. The features on the helmet are pretty significant, with breakaway light or camera mounts, goggle grippers, sweat absorbing padding and much more. If you aren’t too phased on not having the lightest of helmets, nor the greatest ventilation, you will be getting an excellent helmet for a very reasonble price!