giro-manifest-cam2.jpg
Product Introduction

Giro Manifest Helmet Ridden - with Ball and Socket Tech

Words Cam McRae
Photos Pete Roggeman (other than studio shots)
Date May 7, 2020
Reading time

MIPS is probably the most significant helmet technology introduced in the last ten years. But it sort of sucks. It requires a plastic hairnet that resides between your head and your helmet and multiple tethers inside the shell. It impedes airflow. The plastic can be uncomfortable against your scalp, and fit always seems compromised for me. The first MIPS helmet I tried was a POC Trabec. The non-MIPS version fit me perfectly, but the MIPS version did not, and that has been the case with virtually every MIPS helmet I've had since. Some are better than others, but none are as nice on the head as MIPS-less brain protectors.

giro-manifest-11.jpg

MIPS spherical, which is exclusive to GIRO/Bell, is two shells acting as a ball and socket joint. The outer shell moves independently of the inner upon impact.

giro-manifest-13.jpg

For some reason GIRO decided not to produce this colour combo. Photos - Giro

MIPS spherical isn't entirely new for Giro; it began in snow sports, moved to road with the Aether and then to the open face Giro Tyrant, which is worn by Josh Bryceland and his 50:01 compadres. The Manifest is the first mountain bike helmet with general appeal that features MIPS spherical protection (edit - the Bell Super has a version of MIPS spherical as well). Because of this I hadn't paid much attention previously and I was caught off guard by the simplicity and elegance of the system. In most MIPS helmets, you could also say there is a ball and socket joint at work, but the ball is your head because it, along with the MIPS slip plane and the helmet liner, is the object about which the helmet rotates. For MIPS spherical, the helmet is fashioned from two shells, and inner shell that forms the ball of the joint and an outer that forms the socket.

giro-manifest-9.jpg

The Manifest manages to look less like a planetoid than any helmet I've worn. I'm wearing a medium.

giro-manifest-8.jpg

The absence of the plastic hairnet contributes to the excellent fit of this helmet. There are no rough edges to dig in to your scalp.

We're getting a little ahead of ourselves here though. Or maybe a little behind, because Giro has decided to re-brand this system, calling it simply Spherical Technology. Dain Zaffke, Giro's head of marketing, felt that having MIPS in the name made people overlook this unique interpretation of slip plane protection. "We found that a lot of riders, they hear MIPS and they go, yup, got it. Know all about it. They know the story and then they stop listening. And that's doing it a little bit of a disservice because this spherical technology is distinctly different than the plastic slip plane."

giro-manifest-6-tall.jpg

Plentiful huge vents and inner air channels provide class-leading ventilation. the two transparent members spanning the top vents are the exposed portion of the Aura reinforcing arch. This actually runs through the entire helmet apparently but is only visible here.

The joint itself works very smoothly and doesn't have to deal with hair or sweat or padding or retention systems. It also enabled Giro to produce a helmet with two layers of foam with different densities. Kali Helmets' Brad Waldron has been declaring that most bike helmets are too hard for years and has been producing helmets with dual-density foam layers to protect against lower intensity impacts. Giro is jumping on that train, saying that progressive layering will protect riders from a wider variety of crashes, ostensibly reducing injury* in the process.

*there is an absence of data showing that wearing helmets reduces concussion despite this being the main reason we all wear them

giro-manifest-3.jpg

Photographers always pester me for having a visor that isn't straight. This one stays well-aligned, is easily adjusted in small increments and leaves room for goggles underneath.

giro-manifest-5.jpg

The lower shell appears to be foam but that is actually a paint finish applied to make it look that way. To me this makes the helmet look cheap and I much prefer the colour combos that are solid.

Foam density exposes a problem with helmet testing and certification. Zaffke told me, "you can use the same firmer EPS throughout and it's going to pass testing." This is also a way to make a very light helmet, but perhaps not the way to address the range of impacts mountain bikers generally encounter. The harder the liner, the more shock gets transmitted to your brain.

While the absence of a plastic slip-plane gets some credit for the increased ventilation, the Aura reinforcing arch gets another large portion. Venting would be restricted without this technology. As Zaffke told me; "without that reinforcing arch, these vents would probably be about, 25 to 30% smaller. So we're able to really open those up without compromising any structural integrity, because we add this material that's virtually unbreakable."

giro-manifest-1.jpg

I don't mind the olive, but I don't like the speckled styrofoam look of the lower shell.

It's not hard to demonstrate how effectively the system operates. If you put your hand on top of the Manifest and move it fore and aft or left and right, it smoothly pivots independently of your head and the lower shell. The other features are even more easily noticed. The venting is world class, the Fidlock buckle is great, Roc Loc Trail does its job seamlessly, as does the visor and it's very light for the amount of coverage it provides.. There is much to like about Giro's new Manifest. Even more if I can get my hands on a different colour. The only (other) downside I've noticed thus far is the 260 USD price tag.

giro-manifest-10.jpg

Where is the purple and black?

Manifest Features

  • IN-MOLD SPHERICAL TECHNOLOGY
  • MIPS EQUIPPED
  • PROGRESSIVE LAYERING
  • MAXIMUM VENTILATION VIA 19 BIG VENTS AND DEEP INTERNAL CHANNELING
  • AURA REINFORCING ARCH
  • ADJUSTABLE MOTO-STYLE SCREW-IN VISOR
  • ROC LOC TRAIL AIR FIT SYSTEM
  • GOGGLE GRIPPER ON BACK OF HELMET
  • INTEGRATED EYEWEAR GRIPPERS
  • FIDLOCK MAGNETIC BUCKLE
  • XT2 ANTI-MICROBIAL PADDING
  • REFLECTIVE DECALS ON REAR OF HELMET
  • LIGHTWEIGHT WEBBING
  • 346 GRAMS SIZE MEDIUM (MONTARO MIPS 377 GRAMS)
  • AVAILABLE IN THREE SIZES: S, M, AND L

$260 USD / €270 / £250 UK AVAILABLE MID-MAY GLOBALLY

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

GladePlayboy
+2 Pete Roggeman Dan
Rob Gretchen  - May 7, 2020, 6:06 a.m.

Hey Cam... the Bell Super DH preceeded this helmet with MIPS spherical technology.   Only mentioning as its half-shell compatible.... and looks decent.

Reply

Jotegir
+3 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae danimaniac
Lu Kz  - May 7, 2020, 7:37 a.m.

OK, so it's exclusive to Vista Outdoors then. I'd have thought it would be weird for them to allow one of their brands to use it and not the other. 

PS - that black/purple is the single best colour of anything in this article. Too bad it's not real.

Reply

Giro_DainZ
+2 Dan Pete Roggeman
Giro_DainZ  - May 8, 2020, 8:12 a.m.

You're right that only Giro and Bell are using Spherical at this time. We agree hat the black/purple is a great colorway. Unfortunately the bean counters decided that seven options was enough for launch (after we photographed that one). We didn't mean to distribute images of a helmet that isn't available, but somewhere the wires got crossed and those images ended up getting out.

Reply

Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - May 7, 2020, 7:37 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Rob Gretchen
Cam McRae  - May 7, 2020, 1:22 p.m.

Good catch Rob. The worst part is that I have that helmet and I didn't realize it's the same tech. It's a different execution to be sure because there aren't two hard shells like the Manifest; the inner eps rotates within an outer foam liner and you can see the suspension system linkikng the two.

Reply

bogey
+1 Cam McRae
Bogey  - May 10, 2020, 8:42 p.m.

It’s the Bell Super Air (and Super Air R) that has the MIPS Spherical.  I bought the R version (removable chinbar) late last year and love it with and without the chinbar attached. It has very good coverage with excellent ventilation and fits my noggin perfectly.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+4 Sandy James Oates Pete Roggeman 4Runner1 Dan
Merwinn  - May 7, 2020, 7:29 a.m.

Yes, don't care for the two-tiered look of the lower section in contrast to the colouring of the upper section. Liked the Montaro though. $260 USD... so ~$320 CDN for a half-shell. Nope. Model 'price points I guess.

Reply

Jotegir
+1 Pete Roggeman
Lu Kz  - May 7, 2020, 7:39 a.m.

Meant to compete with Wavecel, the Forefront 2, and other similarly expensive helmets these days. I'd complain that gating safety behind high prices is shitty when it's already hard enough to get some people in a helmet that isn't gross and old (or at all?) but Giro also makes the Fixture Mips, which is one of the best bang for your buck helmets out there right now.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+1 Dan
Merwinn  - May 7, 2020, 4:31 p.m.

One would think simply installing MIPS should not jack the price that much... then again I know zilch about helmet manfacturing, or MIPS licensing costs. If it were a good-looking design, I might change my mind. But that odd two-tiered look is just plain FUGLY, IMO. Experienced (AKA greying) riders all know that what looks to be unprotected EPS foam (lower tier) does not age well even with mild abuse.

Reply

Jotegir
+1 Merwinn
Lu Kz  - May 7, 2020, 9:54 p.m.

I think Vista outdoors actually bought MIPS outright and licenses it to others. Practically speaking it seems to cost somewhere between 20 and 30 bucks per helmet retail.

Reply

Giro_DainZ
+2 Pete Roggeman Merwinn
Giro_DainZ  - May 8, 2020, 8:33 a.m.

Giro's previous owner, Easton Bell Sports, made a minority share investment in MIPS. Since Vista acquired Giro in 2016, our relationship with MIPS has been as a customer. We have no obligation or preferential pricing with MIPS. We believe that MIPS is the leading technology available in addressing rotational energy, but we've often said that if/when a better solution becomes available we'll choose that instead. The team at Giro truly feels a moral obligation to choose the best materials and technologies for our helmets and not to mention creating the best helmets is good for business as well.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Merwinn
Cam McRae  - May 7, 2020, 11:18 p.m.

That's a coated/painted surface Merwinn, but I had the same reaction. If you look at the other colour combos, only one shares that cosmetic detail while the others have solid contrasting colours, except for the white which is all white.

Reply

Timer
+3 Dan 4Runner1 Merwinn
Timer  - May 7, 2020, 11:50 p.m.

So they actively tried to make it look like raw EPS even though it isn't? That seems soo weird. I don't think anyone is hankering for the retro look of cheap helmets from before the in-mould era.

Reply

Giro_DainZ
+2 Dan Cam McRae
Giro_DainZ  - May 8, 2020, 8:37 a.m.

The intention with that speckled graphic on the lower wrap was to add a texture like stone. We all fell in love with that graphic and I can't speak for the designers, but I hadn't even considered that it would simply look like exposed EPS. Lesson learned, I guess! I'm still in love with this graphic, though, and this is the one that you'll see me wearing.

Giro_DainZ
+1 Cam McRae
Giro_DainZ  - May 8, 2020, 8:20 a.m.

Thanks for mentioning the Fixture MIPS helmet. That is a great helmet. With Manifest Spherical you're paying for more comfort, ventilation and the details specified in Cam's story. Some riders will continue to choose Fixture, others will appreciate the level of detail and attention on Manifest and step up to that. Spherical Technology performs very well in Giro's testing as well as third party tests, but considering Manifest Spherical and Fixture MIPS both exceed international standards (and the MIPS rotational standard), you're not compromising safety if you choose Fixture MIPS.

Reply

Brigham_Rupp
+4 Mammal Timer Dan 4Runner1
Brigham_Rupp  - May 7, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

Painted to look like foam? Weird.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+4 Mammal Sanesh Iyer Cr4w Dan
Andrew Major  - May 7, 2020, 9:29 a.m.

Cam, do they have a provision to mount a light to the helmet, or would it be moving all over the place with the extra weight mounted to the outer plane?

Reply

denomerdano
+2 Cam McRae Dan
Deniz Merdano  - May 7, 2020, 9:43 a.m.

Great question.. also, nice Rocky!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - May 7, 2020, 1:38 p.m.

I have seen no mention of a mount and one wasn't included in what we were sent. 

The outer shell requires some effort to move so I don't imagine it would be a problem having a light up there. It doesn't jiggle, rather it moves when a significant force is applied.

Reply

andyf
+1 Cam McRae
andyf  - May 7, 2020, 5:26 p.m.

The Bell Super Air also uses MIPS Spherical and comes with a GoPro mount. I haven't tried using it with a light or camera so no comment on it moving around but I did wonder the same thing about goggles. No issues there.

Reply

dan
+3 4Runner1 Cam McRae Merwinn
Dan  - May 8, 2020, 11:11 a.m.

Interesting technology. I've been wearing a Bell Super for a few seasons and don't have any ventilation concerns - though like many here I'm in the PNW and that's seldom a concern. Can't say the helmet-on-a-helmet appearance is catching my eye, and I'll add my dislike of the foam-look. I immediately flashed back to my Specialized Sub Six Pro from three decades ago. Yeesh.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.