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Review: Giro Manifest Spherical Mountain Bike Helmet

Double shell helmets are nothing new and have been around for a while. The downside of them was, well, they looked like double shells and made you look like Big Helmet from Spaceballs. Now along comes the Giro Manifest Spherical with its N=Mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner, progressive layering and full lower hardbody coverage, and Big Helmet can remain firmly in the past.
Unlike skiing where helmets are considered optional for the skier and is an individual choice, that is not the case with mountain biking. When was the last time you saw a rider on the trails not wearing a helmet?* For some reason cyclists are smarter than skiers here. So, if you are wearing a helmet and you have an insurance deductible that is well into the 4 … or 5 figures, why not put that brain in the bucket that can provide an additional layer or shell of safety?

From Giro’s site:
Among the Manifest's extraordinary features is Spherical Technology, which utilizes a ball-and-socket design powered by Mips®, the market-leading brain protection system that helps to reduce rotational forces. 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. In addition to leading head protection, the Manifest offers wide-open airflow thanks to the AURA reinforcing arch, which bolsters structural integrity while allowing air to flow into the massive Wind Tunnel vents. You'll also get a comfortable, secure fit with the easy fit and positioning adjustments built in to the Roc Loc Trail Air fit system and plush, antimicrobial XT2 padding for exceptional sweat absorption.​

With Daron Rahlve's Atomic Ski on Peavine Mountain's Snowsports Bench.
With Daron Rahlve's Atomic ski on Peavine Mountain's snowsports bench.

Helmet reviews can be a slippery slope, we try to avoid using helmet tests in the articles because we are not testing the safety aspects of a helmet but more fit and to an extent confidence and will focusing on the features and comfort of the helmet. Recently, my Giro Montaro took a pretty good whack in a fall. While I didn’t see a crack in the structure to the Montaro, it had a pretty good dent on the outer glossy shell thus doing it's job for safety and has been retired as any helmet that sustains a significant crash should. This is when I reached out to Giro for a replacement.

What I immediately noticed and liked about the Spherical design of the Manifest was the weight. At 340 grams, it is actually 30 grams lighter the outgoing Montaro, even though there is an additional layer of safety added. The adjustable Roc Loc cranium cradle fit me well in the out-of-the-box configuration, but there are additional adjustments for someone that might have a pony tail. Even though Giro does not have their own glasses, the The Manifest’s integrated Eye Glass Gripper worked fine with my generic Tifosi glasses.

On my head and on the trail, as expected, the Manifest Spherical fit and felt great and what it does convey is an extra level or layer of confidence. The Manifest Spherical’s 19 vents with internal channeling helped keep my head as cool as can be expected in the 90+ degree Peavine heat. The venting worked two way, releasing heat from my head as well as cooling with the flow of air when riding. I did find it interesting that the Manifest incorporated an integrated goggle gripping pad, because the vast majority of goggle-wearing mountain bikers tend to wear a full face helmet … at least the ones I see on the trails. I would like to see a variation of this feature on Giro’s ski helmets.

  • Who is the Manifest Spherical for: Those who don’t want to choose comfort over safety. You can have both.
  • Who is the Manifest Spherical not for: Long-haired hippy people need not apply … if you want a ponytail slot.
  • Insider tip: In a day of varying shades of gray, you have a lot of flavor options with this Giro.
*Ironically, while this article was in the editing queue, @Andy Mink and I saw a rider out not wearing a helmet. He was on a 20 plus year old hardtail, wearing aviator sunglasses, gym shorts and Vans shoes.

Note: Giro is a paid advertiser and the Official Helmet of SkiTalk’s Test Team and this helmet was provided to us at no charge for review.
About author
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.


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