Determining the Right Fit Motorcycle Helmet

When you buy a motorcycle helmet make sure that it fits properly. All helmets are not the same. Your head may fit a medium size helmet from one manufacturer or a large one from another Though it is the same size, one manufacturer calls it a medium while the other calls it large. For safety as well as comfort it is essential to have a right fitting helmet. It is after all, the most important part of your motorcycle gear.

Are you looking to buy a motorcycle helmet? This article will help. The labeled size of the manufacturer does not ensure that it will be the right for you. Here are some important steps you can take to determine the right size.

  1. A starting point for the whole helmet sizing process is to measure your head. Our head shape varies. When measured by a tape, a head may seem the same size as a motorcycle helmet but that does not necessarily mean it will fit. So keep in mind this is just a rough guide. Considering your head shape, only this step may not be sufficient to find the right fit.

a) It is best to use a cloth tape, though other tape measures will do.

b) Measure the circumference of your head starting from a point about one inch above your eyebrows and ending at a point back of your head so that you get the biggest measurement possible. Take a number of measurements to ensure you have the biggest one.

  1. The hat size is another way to determine the motorcycle helmet size.
  2. Based on the measured head and hat size, try on a motorcycle helmet. You will find the sizing tag or the hat size, or both printed on the inside diameter of most helmets.
  3. After putting on the helmet make a visual check.
    1. The eyes should be more or less in the center, the liner padding just above your eyebrows.
    2. After wearing the helmet look in the mirror to see how it fits. Check if the cheek pads make contact with the cheeks? Do you feel too much pressure on your cheeks? See if there are gaps between your temple and brow pad. If the helmet has a neck roll at the back, check if it makes contact with your neck. Does it even touch? Or does it push the helmet at the back making it roll down over your eyes?
  4. After the visual check is complete, hold the helmet with hands on either side and attempt to rotate it from side to side. While doing so, notice the movement of your skin and how much resistance there is to the movement. You need to keep your head steady to do this. Next try to move the helmet up and down, note again, any skin movement and the resistance. In each test if the skin movement was small or none, and the helmet could be moved quite easily then the size is too big. A right fitted helmet will cause your skin to move as it moves.
    Next check movement up and down, again noting skin movement and resistance. If in either test there was little or no skin movement, and/or the helmet moved very easily, the helmet is too large. A properly fitted motorcycle helmet will cause the skin to move as the helmet moves. The wearer will feel continuous uniform pressure around the head. Remember that helmets will get damaged over time. That is why it is best to choose a helmet that is very comfortable and take into account how often you will wear it.

For instance, a drag racer’s helmet is very tight but it is worn for a few minutes only. A police officer’s helmet on the other hand needs to be comfortable as it is worn for hours.

  1. Retention check- This is vital. To check this fasten the chin strap tightly, keep your head steady. This test can be a bit uncomfortable but very important, none the less. Extend your hand over the helmet to the back and hold the bottom edge. Then attempt to roll it off the head. If the helmet comes off, then it is surely too big. Never wear a helmet that can roll off your head with the strap tied. Find a smaller size and check again.
  2. Confirming Right Fit. To confirm you have the right fit, put on helmets which are one size bigger and smaller. Large helmets may look attractive but it is better to choose smaller if it fits you and you are comfortable in it.
  3. When shopping for motorcycle helmets online you should always buy from sites where sizing chart for the brand of helmet is available. Don’t depend on “catch-all” sizing chart as the size differs from one manufacturer to another. Things the chart should have are the head circumference, and related helmet size, and maybe a comparison of hat size. If you are unsure about the size you want to buy online, just visit your local motorcycle dealer and try it on first.
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