Giro Merit Spherical Open Face Helmet

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International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Giro’s New Half Shell: Vital Reviews the Merit
All the features in a compact yet comprehensive package - Giro's new half shell hits the nail on the head.
Vital Review
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Protection against the effects of rotational forces on the brain has become pretty much the norm in high-end helmets, but there are several ways to go about designing this feature. Bell and Giro have pushed the concept further than many others with their Spherical Technology powered by MIPS, and the release of their latest open face helmet for mountain biking was a good opportunity for us to take a closer look at it. Keep reading to find out how we’ve been getting on!



  • Loaded with safety features
  • Comfortable
  • Great ventilation
  • Deep, extended coverage
  • High quality finish, resistant to scuffing
  • Pricey
  • No extras included in the box

Giro Merit Highlights

  • Impact Management: Spherical Technology, Powered by MIPS
  • In-mold polycarbonate shell with EPS liner, full lower hardbody coverage, progressive layering
  • Adjustable moto-style screw-in visor
  • Wind tunnel vents with internal channeling
  • Roc Loc trail air
  • Weight: 358g (size M, verified)
  • CE EN1078 / US CPSC certification
  • MSRP: $220 USD

Initial Impressions

Developed by Bell and Giro together with MIPS, Spherical Technology is based on a ball-and-socket design that combines two foam shells with a slip-plane between them. This allows the two layers to rotate against each other in any direction, which helps to reduce the transmission of rotational forces to the brain in case of an off-axis impact to the head. The two layers also provide a convenient way of using different types of impact foam in each of the layers respectively – this provides the added benefit of offering specific protection against both high- and low-speed crashes.

The Merit features a rounded shape that is fairly compact in appearance but really reaches around and down the back of the head for extended protection. To ensure good airflow, there are 15 large vents right along the entire length of the outer shell – the vents traverse both impact foam layers and line up perfectly with each other.

In terms of comfort, the Merit utilizes Giro’s Roc Loc harness which is easy to adjust both in height and circumference. The Ionic+ comfort liner is made up of several independent elements that sit in between the vents, and they all feature an antimicrobial treatment to prevent the development of unpleasant odors.

The straps are relatively thin and can be adjusted to sit in the perfect spot around your ears, and the visor is also adjustable. The addition of a long rubber strap around the back of the helmet to aid in securing a goggle strap shows that Giro really sweated the details is designing this new helmet. Perhaps the only item that looks slightly out of place at this price point is the classic snap-in strap buckle, we were sort of expecting to find the near-ubiquitous Fidlock here.

On The Trail

We tested the size M, which covers head circumferences from 55 to 59 centimeters. This tester’s head measures in at 58.5 cm, and with just a couple of clicks to spare on the adjustable internal harness the helmet was a perfect fit. The level of comfort is very high, right up there with the most comfortable helmets we’ve tested recently, and the Merit also feels like it really wraps around your head thanks to a particularly generous amount of rear coverage.

Dialing in the straps to fit your anatomy is easy, the adjustments cover both fore-to-aft positioning as well as the overall strap length. We tested with a range of riding glasses and there is just enough room around the temple area to accommodate them all. The helmet also works well with a goggle, although it’s not particularly easy to store the goggle on the front of the helmet during climbing due to the limited range of visor adjustability. We do like the addition of the rubber grip strip out back, it does a great job of securing your goggle strap in action.

On the trail, the Merit is both comfortable and confidence-inspiring. Spherical MIPS is nearly silent in action, with none of those annoying creaks that can sometimes plague regular MIPS helmets. The fit is very secure and the helmet stays in place also during rougher descents. The airflow generated by the 15 large vents is impressive, you can really feel the helmet cool down as soon as you start moving. For a helmet that offers this much comfort and that really wraps around your head, the amount of ventilation is extra impressive - definitely one to consider in warmer climates.

Comparing the Merit to the TLD A3, another high-end half shell helmet, the Merit will offer a better fit for rounder head shapes while the A3 fits like a glove if you have a more oval melon. Both helmets offer similar amounts of comfort although the padding is more generous on the A3 (note that the liner was made to be easily customizable on the A3 by cutting various bits off as required/wanted). The A3 retails for $10 more, but it comes with more accessories like a spare liner, visor hardware and a soft helmet bag. 

Things That Could Be Improved

We’ve not got a lot to offer here, except maybe to point out that the price tag is at the top end of the scale and that we’d like to see at least an extra liner included in the box at this level. 

Long Term Durability

We’ve had the Merit out on the trail for three months now, including a few trips to the desert where the dust and grit tend to quickly highlight any quality issues, and the helmet is holding up just fine. The liner is still intact, and the finish is free of any major scuffs. We've not taken any spills while testing, so we can't comment on real-life crash performance, but in every other aspect the Merit certainly seems ready for the long haul.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Giro’s new Merit hits the nail on the head, if you pardon the pun. It is very well made and it packs a lot of technology into a compact yet comprehensive shape. The ventilation is excellent and the comfort is right up there with the best as well. In action, the Merit quickly made itself forgotten which is really what you would ask a helmet to do, until the day that it needs to fulfil its primary function – and with all the safety features Giro added to the Merit, we feel good about meeting that day head on as well, if it comes to that.

More information at:

About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 49 // Years Riding MTB: 17 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord


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Giro Merit Spherical Open Face Helmet
Riding Type
Enduro / All-Mountain
Number of Vents
15 Wind Tunnel vents with internal channeling
• Spherical Technology (ball-and-socket design powered by MIPS) helps redirect impact forces away from the brain by allowing the outer liner to rotate around the inner liner during a crash
• In-Mold polycarbonate shell
• EPS outer liner, EPP inner liner
• Full lower Hardbody coverage
• Progressive layering dual-density inner and outer layers of foam help manage high- and low-speed impacts
• MIPS equipped to reduce the amount of rotational force that may be transferred to the rider's brain in certain impacts
Adjustable Padding
Ionic+ padding provides exceptional sweat absorption while combating odor with permanent antimicrobial performance
S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-63cm)
Matte Portaro Grey, Matte Black, Matte Harbor Blue, Matte Metallic Black/Ano Lime, Matte White/Black
CE certified: 0 lb 12.3 oz (350 g)
CPSC certified: 0 lb 12.7 oz (360 g)
• Roc Loc Trail Air fit system
• Adjustable moto-style screw-in visor
• Goggle gripper and integrated eyewear grippers
• Lightweight webbing
• European price: 199.99 EUR
• UK price: 189 GBP
• Australian price: 329.99 AUS
What do you think?
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
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