While it’s always worthwhile to invest in a good pair of biking boots, there’s no more important piece of biking equipment than a properly fitted helmet. A motorcycle helmet can save your life in the case of a crash, so it is critical that you wear one anytime you ride.
Your new motorcycle helmet can only do so much if it does not fit you properly. To prevent sizing problems, read on through this guide to learn about the keys of motorcycle helmet fitment and sizing.
When many bikers pick out their first helmet, they are focused on style. However, such aesthetic considerations pale in comparison to the importance of proper fitment. You should pick the helmet that fits you properly rather than the one that looks the most stylish.
This is because a properly fitted helmet can protect your sensitive skull from hard impacts in the case of a crash. Though it goes without saying, such protection could save your life. Also, a properly fitted helmet can keep you comfy during an extended ride. This is because many modern models feature air vents that draw out inter-helmet condensation.
What are the Risks of Ill-Fitting Helmets?
Ill-fitting helmets are a considerable risk to their wearer. This is because the internal mechanics of a modern helmet – which includes multiple layers of interlocking materials – are only made to properly cradle a head of a specific size. If your head is too large or small for those protections, your impacts upon falling from your bike will be much more severe.
Also, a loose or tight helmet tends to be outright uncomfortable. For example, a loose helmet will jostle around during a ride due to the air pressure and vibrations of movement. A tight helmet, meanwhile, will leave your heat hot and sweaty almost every time.
Motorcycle Helmet Sizing Guide
Choose a Helmet Style
There are several different motorcycle helmet types available today, each offering trade-offs when it comes to comfort and protection. On the more protective end of the spectrum, full face and modular helmets are readily available and used by most routine motorcycle riders. Meanwhile, half style and open face helmets offer more airflow while in use, but also provide less head coverage.
You’ll need to choose which of these styles best suits you. This guide can also help explain more of their differences.
Determine Head Shape
After picking a style, you’ll need to determine your own head shape. Specifically, you'll need to determine if your head's shape falls into the round, intermediate, or long oval category.
These differences may appear subtle but make a big difference when it comes to tightly your chosen helmet rests on the front and back of your skull. A motorcycle gear specialist can appraise your head shape during the next step.
Measure Head Size
Next, you’ll need to measure your head’s circumference and compare that to a standardized helmet sizing chart. This can be done using the method shown in this video. With this information, you can select a few helmets models that fit your head size and shape.
Helmet Fit Test
After you've followed each of these steps, you should consult with a motorcycle gear expert to perform a fit test -- a particular set of simulated tests that looks for spots of discomfort or ineffectiveness before you invest in that helmet. This test is especially important if this is your first-ever motorcycle helmet.
Helmet Retention System
These will differ from helmet to helmet. In any case, these straps are used to keep your helmet squarely on your head while you ride. Ideally, they should not dig into your skin or cause irritation.
Your helmet’s tightening system should be easy to use so that you can readjust your helmet properly every time you put it on. However, this mechanism should not be so easy that it loosens during a regular ride.
Always check for pressure points during a fit test. These can cause irritation if they go unaddressed, especially during the longer ride.
Some helmet models include sunglasses to increase on-road visibility. These don’t tend to impact fitment unless you wear standard eyeglasses.
Kid’s Motorcycle Helmets
Kids motorcycle helmets tend to come in a wider variety of sizes. It is critical to find one that is age-appropriate for your child based upon their current size.
Motorcycle Helmet Care
There’s a lot that you can do to keep your new motorcycle helmet in good condition. This includes routinely cleaning your helmet both inside and out.
This guide (with a demonstration video) will teach you how to do that and provide other insights into helmet maintenance.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do you know if a helmet fits?
A properly fitting helmet will be comfortable on your head, without any pressure points. Also, a properly fitted helmet should allow airflow through the interior (if it includes vents, that is). However, only a certified fit test can ensure that your fitment is correct.
Why does my motorcycle helmet hurt my head?
Chances are that your chosen helmet is too small. This can occur because of slight changes in your head size as you grow older. This can lead to pressure points that cause your head to hurt. Pressure points can also be a sure sign that your helmet was not a proper fit in the first place.
Do helmets need breaking in?
Technically, a motorcycle helmet is good to go right out of the box. However, like a new shoe, you’ll find that helmets will “mold” to your head slightly over time. This will allow for a more comfortable fitment that would not have been apparent during your fit test.
Should a motorcycle helmet squeeze your cheeks?
Ideally, no. Instead, your cheeks should be able to move freely within a properly fitted helmet. If your helmet moves about with your cheeks, then there’s a chance that it is too tight.
Do more expensive helmets fit better?
Not necessarily. If anything, pricy helmets tend to include more special features, such as compatibility with electronics. Only a proper sizing can ensure a better fit, regardless of price.
When you get down to, a motorcycle helmet is perhaps the most crucial piece of biking equipment you can own. Don’t just buy any old helmet off the shelf, though. Instead, you need to take the time necessary to find a proper fitment that will keep you safe on the open road.