First Look: Giro's New Merit Helmet

Feb 22, 2022
by Mike Kazimer  

The Merit is the latest addition to Giro's helmet lineup, aimed at trail riders who are looking for a well-ventilated option that's packed with the latest safety features. Considering the fact that it's equipped with Giro's Spherical technology, it has an impressively low profile shape. Even with two separate layers of foam it's not overly bulky, and the 360 gram weight is very reasonable.

The Merit is priced at $220, and the men's version is available in sizes small, medium, and large, with six different colors to choose from. The women's version is available in sizes small and medium in three different colors.
Giro Merit Details
• 15 vents
• Mips Spherical
• Dual density foam liner
• Roc-Loc Trail Air fit system
• Ionic+ antimicrobial padding
• Weight: 360 grams (medium, actual)
• Sizes: S, M, L
• Six different colorways
• MSRP: $220 USD

The two layers that make up the Spherical system are joined with elastomers.
There's a generous amount of ventilation to help keep air flowing, even at slower speeds.

For those who aren't familiar with the concept, the Spherical design is essentially a helmet within a helmet – two separate EPS (expanded polystyrene) portions are joined with elastomers, which allows the outer layer to move in the event of a crash. A slip plane is mounted to the top of the inner layer to reduce the friction between the two layers. Different densities of foam are used to absorb different impact levels – softer foam helps with slower speed events, and harder foam helps with the higher speed hits.

Other features include an adjustable visor, a grippy material at the back of the helmet to keep goggle straps from slipping, and a ratcheting dial to fine tune the fit. There are a total of 15 vents spread over the helmet, along with channels in the foam to help keep air flowing.

A strip of textured rubber helps keep goggle straps from slipping off.
Giro's Roc-Loc system uses a ratcheting dial to adjust the fit.

Photo: Giro


  • 48 5
 I'm getting back into motorbikes after a 30 year hiatus. Its staggering how hefty and primitive a motorbike feels compared to me "heavy" enduro bike. That said, what is even more staggering is the rip off that is the pedal cycle industry when it comes to parts and kit. Decent approved helmets are available for far less than this Giro and they have 2 visors and can fit goggles. Brake pads costs the same or less and a good tyre costs less than a 2.5 Assegai and will last 10x as long. I know its apples and oranges but it still blows me away.
  • 13 6
 Economies of scale
  • 21 0
 @honda50r: you think there are more dirt bike riders than mountain bikers???
  • 4 4
 @unrooted: Where did he say he was riding dirtbikes lol
  • 8 0
 @honda50r: its not economies of scale. There are way more cyclists than motorcyclists but equally big bikes are very distinct in their categories like cycling. I can go buy two Mitas e07+ tyres for my adventure bike for a similar price to what shops are selling two Minions for. Rest assured, its a faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar higher number using Minions than e07+ motorcycle tyres.
  • 7 0
 @nskerb: He did say helmets with visors and goggles, seems to indicate adventure, dual sport, or dirt bikes
  • 14 0
 Agreed. Cycling is turning into golf.
  • 1 1
 My 250 2 stroke doesn’t feel much heavier when riding it. It weighs six times as much as a enduro bicycle but sure doesn’t feel like it.
  • 3 0
 Part of it is just the way the bicycle industry is structured. Pedal bike shops can't charge $80/hr for bike repairs because "it's just a bicycle" (I don't know what a motorcycle shop charges for labor, so i made up a number). Since pedal bike shops can't make money off labor, they have to make it off the goods. That means that just about everything you see in a bike shop is marked up about 150-250% so the shop can make money.

That's also why LBS are getting killed by the internet. Unless a particular product is protected by MAP pricing, it's pretty easy for some dude on the internet running a shop out of his basement to undercut the prices you see at a brick-and-mortar shop.
  • 2 0
 @robertg620: you mean uphill, right? :-D Because log bunnyhop or downhilling between trees is easier on my mtb then my 450F
  • 1 0
 You can also buy different bike helmets for much cheaper than this. Or, conversely, you can buy motorcycle helmets that are much more expensive. I think the trick is everyone seems to want the best for their bike, but is okay with the mid level or lower stuff on motorbikes and then goes and makes this comparison. You're not comparing the same tier of equipment.
  • 1 0
 @ungod: We dream of paying "only" 80USD an hour here in Switzerland
  • 4 0
 Already made the lip!
Bought a 2nd bike, at really good price. Needed tyres, bought Mitas EFs... costing less than Maxxis!
Needed front pads, same price as bikes...
New transmission, around 130euros, and that was it!
Oil changes iaw engine manual, several air filters placing new one every 2 rides.

Rode for 2 years, sold it for more than I paid (BTW: used market is nuts at the moment!), bought a new bike, 0 kms and have been riding ever since, no problemo at all!

Didn't quit mtb, just stopped being so nerd about the sport, and stopped paying so much money... if ain't broke, just ride the hell out of it!

Bikes are stupidly expensive at the moment!
  • 1 0
 @jaredmh: That is true - I wasn't looking at Shoei or Arai - they are much more. I would dispute that this Giro is somehow an upper tier helmet or if it is that the manufacturing or materials justify the price. The adventure helmets are bigger, thicker, have quick release padding, 2 visors like I said and in some cases a flip up front and adjustable air vents. Some of these helmets test to the same standards as the much more expensive ones. .
  • 26 1
 "equipped with Giro's Spherical technology"

Had to read the article to work out it's their version of MIPS, I first thought they'd only just worked out how to fit a helmet onto a head
  • 27 1
 They have worked out how to fit a helmet to a fucking orange
  • 10 1
 @browner: Or a Karl Pilkington.
  • 1 0
 I like oranges. In all seriousness I think the idea behind spherical design is that the helmet is less oval and protruding so that when you crash there are less things to catch on the ground/materials creating more damage to your brain. In a full face helmet this makes a lot of sense. The chin bar is closer to the face and less like a crank for your head/jaw. In a half shell, Im not sure if it matters too much.
  • 23 2
 if only there was an organization that independently tested helmets and compared their safety ratings!

oh wait there is.... Virginia Tech

please pinkbike... call out helmets which haven't been submitted to be tested
  • 4 1
 This a thousand times
  • 2 0
 Well said, didn’t realise that existed
  • 2 0
 wow that's interesting stuff. Especially as there is a real range within manufacturers for performance. So, Specialized for instance have the #1 safest helmet, but also the 73rd and 83rd
  • 6 0
 I was a Giro stalwart until I bought a Montaro MIPS. The adjuster dial was tiny and stiff, a visor screw came loose, the lining started to detach, and the plastic strap that wraps around the back of the skull broke. I emailed Giro about these problems but got no response. I’m the happy owner of a Specialized Ambush now.
  • 1 0
 Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but I have had really good luck with my Montaro. It is four years old now and it sees really heavy use. I am probably going to replace it with an Ambush, but the Montaro has been good enough for me to forget I'm wearing it most of the time. I do wish the visor was a bit shorter.
  • 2 0
 Similar experiences with my Montaro, I was a big fan of Giro helmets, way back I had an PG switchblade. In my past experience, Giro had excellent customer service. My most recent experience has been less than satisfactory.
  • 1 0
 i am on my second montaro mips. the first one is still going strong as my commuter helmet after the visor broke off after a mtb crash. i bought replacement liners after 3 or 4 years and it was like new. it simply fits me the best and price is ok when you buy it at sale. never needed the giro warranty department but i like my montaro very much. the ambush is also a very good helmet.
  • 1 0
 interesting. I've emailed them in the past about worn out liners / broken adjusters and they've sent me new parts free.
  • 1 0
 I’m on my third montaro and touchwood haven’t had any issues with them. They’re one of the few helmets that fit me. I have a giro fixture in use too, I do think I like it better than the montaro.
  • 5 0
 So, why should I buy this $220 helmet over their $130 MIPS "Source" helmet? This article doesn't provide much more than what is already on their website.
  • 3 0
 @pixelguru: The Source is hot as balls. The venting sucks and it’s a bulky feeling helmet. Great for cold winter rides but can’t hang in the warmer climates.
  • 1 1
 @Chondog94: Agreed. For me it also drains all my sweat into my eyes.
Plus the Roc-Loc's edges were so sharp they actually cut into me on my first long ride and I had to sand them to take the edge off.
I liked my switchblade but the Source was a disappointment for me.
  • 4 0
 @Chondog94: You've just provided more helpful information than this article ;-)
  • 3 0
 Do you know what would make this advertisement actually informative to potential buyers? Telling us what the sizes are in numbers, you know, something that we are all able to measure. Letters for helmets are arbitrary and completely meaningless. Very often they are inconsistent between similar helmets from the same manufacturer let alone between manufacturers.
  • 2 0
 The dual density foam thing is well overdue. Most mountain bike crashes don't happen at car-hitting-a-cyclist levels of force, which is what bike helmets have been traditionally designed for. Those lower force crashes will still mess up your brain though. Hope this feature comes down in price, fast.
  • 2 0
 This is a promising design, but Pinkbike did a lazy job of explaining why. The helmet looks like a solid option for a trail rider whose top priority is reducing concussion risk. The main concussion-risk-reducing feature here is mips spherical, which is a completely different technology than the visible-yellow-liner mips people are more familiar with. My keyboard-warrior opinion is that mips spherical is substantially likelier than regular mips to provide an actual, real-world difference in a crash. In part because the whole inner shell rotates, not just a plastic liner or a pad that may or may not be what your head smashes into. This helmet offers spherical in a less-big-looking, less enduro-bro-styled, and less-heavy option than Bell's Super Air (but without fullface convertibility.) On top of the mips spherical, other features are designed to reduce concussion risk further. Dual density foam is one he mentioned. But also the shell design itself--rounder, smaller, lighter. It's not an attention-grabbing design, and it ain't cheap (none of the max-safety options are), but it looks to me like an option worth a serious look if your priority is avoiding concussions.
  • 3 0
 So where does this fit into the Giro range vs the Montaro? And that ugly helmet they released above it? Are those helmets staying in the range?
  • 10 0
 Other questions whilst comparing it to the Montaro:
* Do the pads last longer than a month?
* Is it hot and sweaty?
* Does the buckle manage to loosen continuously?
  • 3 0
 @korev: Giro seem to have improved the pads on the Montaro, I had to replace mine after cracking it on a concrete post. The second one was much better - the pads are still intact 3 years later.
  • 1 0
 @lewiscraik: Thanks, that's good to know
  • 4 1
 $220? Hahahahahahahahahhaahhahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahaha
  • 2 0
 I do like this new helmet, but I will wait for the long term reviews. Hopefully they’ve fixed the Montara pad failure problem.
  • 2 0
 I can already see these two stripes of dust on my forehead because of these vents Big Grin
  • 3 0
 "Competent manufacturer releases perfectly adequate product"
  • 2 0
 The Smith Engage is $110... it is lighter and still has mips. Why even look at this $220 lid?
  • 1 0
 Looks like it is MIPS as well as Spherical. Is anything attached to anything else anymore?
  • 1 0
 MIPS is nothing more than a certificate by now. look at POC‘s MIPS inerta in the 2022 range. same shit as last year when it was just called SPIN
  • 1 0
 Wait till you see MIPS AI that some road helmets use
  • 2 0
 Spherical is MIPS technology, just instead of the helmet rotating around your head, the helmet rotates around itself. The Bell Super Air uses the same tech.
  • 3 1
 Pretty ugly and takes too much hard-earned money.
  • 3 2
 To the people saying it's ugly: Can you name an mtb halfshell that is not ugly?
  • 2 2
 Old Bell Super?
  • 9 1
 Organic curves are so 2012 man. I need my industrial product to look like it shreds cheese as a secondary function. It also should only come in black, stolen valor green and clay colored stool (desert camo) brown.
  • 2 2
 @sonuvagun Agree. I'd welcome some suggestions. Such is my level of vanity that I wear a black skate lid instead for most rides.
  • 1 0
 @tremeer023: I remove the visor from mine unless for similar reasons.
  • 2 0
 @sonuvagun: to be fair, having an unrestricted view is another reason for it.
  • 2 0
 @gotohe11carolina: can I hire you to help me name product colors in the future? (or can I just steal these?)
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: lol, consider them public domain
  • 2 0
 Am I the only person to see the smiling face in the shot from behind?
  • 1 0
 DAMN YOU! Now I can't unsee that smiling face. On to the next helmet choice........
  • 2 2
 Curious about the value of the rubber on the back to keep goggles in place. I thought the goggle/half shell fad flew the coop like ten years ago?
  • 2 3
 I still see morons on the trails with goggles and a half shell.
  • 3 0
 @unrooted: idk, I’m 99% glasses with a half shell but the goggles are sometimes nice in the winter time.
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: Are you implying that's the preferred kit of a moron or that anyone that wears a half shell and goggles IS a moron?
  • 3 0
 I wear goggles with a half shell when descending when it’s extra cold or rainy. Makes a huge difference over sunglasses. Couldn’t care less about the style points.
  • 2 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: it doesn’t snow or rain where I live.
  • 1 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: I take the goggles when it's very wet / muddy as mud still gets under my glasses
  • 1 0
 “New” *helmet has virtually exact same aesthetic with painfully incremental changes or improvements
  • 3 0
 I see no Merit in this
  • 1 0
 I just wear my fullface overtop of my narrow roadie helmet, and goggles overtop of my POC Aspires
  • 1 0 is that r.i.p to the massive peak?
  • 2 0
 This is a trail helmet, only serious Enduro riders need the massive peak
  • 4 2
  • 3 3
 Just looked in the mirror, eh? Wink
  • 1 0
 a starbucks in a starbucks
  • 3 3
 That was a brief review. Guess I'll go to the Giro site to see the color choices.
  • 6 1
 Probably cos it’s not a review. It says “first look” right at the top of the page.

They’re literally spelling this stuff out and people are still mixing the two up. Has it gotten to the point now where people are looking for the slightest, most insignificant f*cking detail to have a moan about?

The comment section is turning into Twitter.
  • 1 1
 @ODubhslaine: Gotten to the point? I think we crossed that bridge 20 years ago
  • 1 1
 @drunknride: point taken but since the takeover it seems to have accelerated to ridiculous levels. People are taking any reason, real or imagined, to have a pop at PB.
  • 1 0
 First look for a helmet?!
  • 1 0
 Bleh, TLD and Fox look better...
  • 2 2
 Pretty good lookin helmet. Visor might actually do something.
  • 1 3
 Hello uci quit redbull for 23!!!!!!!
  • 3 0
 They should really have an article covering this, maybe call it something like "Discovery to Broadcast World Cup Coverage from 2023"
  • 2 0
 @mashrv1: Nah, that'd be too obvious

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