A lot of riders like to focus on the styling, functionality, construction, safety ratings and features of a helmet, but the biggest thing people tend to undervalue is the importance of fit. Simply put, a helmet that doesn’t fit, doesn’t work. So we put together this guide to help you find the right size helmet and understand what a good fit actually means.
Your first step in finding the right size motorcycle helmet is getting your actual measurements. Using a soft measuring tape, measure the crown of your head just above your brow. It’s important to make sure the tape stays level, remaining on the widest part of your head. If you don’t have a soft tailor’s tape, you can use a shoe string or piece of string and compare it to a standard measuring tape later.
Once you have this measurement, you’re ready to find the size helmet you’ll need. Most brands provide sizing charts (found on each helmet page) that will tell you what size you are. It’s important to note that not all helmet brands fit the same. For example, a large Shoei may not be the same as a large Bell. If you fall between one size or another, it’s safe to go up or down to the closest size, which direction is personal preference. Some riders prefer a snugger feel, and go down to the closest size, others like a little more room. The most important part is to try the helmet on first before you ride.
One factor that can affect the fit and comfort of a helmet is head shape. There are three primary shapes helmets come in: long oval (longer front-to-back than side-to-side), intermediate oval (slightly longer front-to-back than side-to-side) and round oval (equally long front-to-back and side-to-side). Most riders fall somewhere near the intermediate oval head shape, but it is important to understand where you lie because a too narrow helmet will cause pressure points, and a too round helmet may not fit as snug as you’d like. Lastly, don’t forget to read up on the rider reviews and watch our product videos, there is a ton of great feedback on how a particular helmet fits!
You’ve done all your homework, you’ve got your measurements, but the real test starts when you put the helmet on for the first time. The biggest mistake riders make with helmets is not understanding how a helmet should fit and how to test that fit before they ride. Here are a few tests to run through to ensure you’ve got a properly fitted helmet.
Even though fit and safety are paramount, don’t think comfort isn’t important either; after all, you’re going to be wearing the whole time you ride! The best way to figure out how comfortable your helmet will be is to wear the helmet a bit before you actually get on the bike. This may look dorky, and the UPS or milk man might think you’re a wanna-be storm trooper, but this allows you to find any pressure points/hotspots, and identify any discomfort. Keep in mind, the helmet comfort liner, cheek pads and the actual EPS liner itself will contour and break in over the first few rides. So don’t be turned away from a helmet if it feels snug, but it shouldn’t be so tight there is significant discomfort.
A helmet is a crucial investment, and if you want to find out more about check out our motorcycle helmets buyer’s guide. Remember a properly fitting helmet is a safe helmet!