How should a motorcycle helmet fit? Comfort Is Important

black and orange helmet on black motorcycle

Motorcycle helmets are designed to provide protection and impact absorption. Still, no matter how well they’re designed and engineered, they become a pointless accessory on your head if they don’t fit properly. 

A motorcycle helmet aims to keep you safe and alive in the event of an accident. It’s not just there to look cool, so how should you pick the right one for you?

The Anatomy of a Good Fit

The skull is a hollow structure that houses the brain. It has a series of bony plates and can be divided into three parts. The skull’s most significant part is the calvarium, the bone that protects the brain.

The helmet should fit snugly against the calvarium and be the same size as the skull.  The helmet should fit snugly on your head and not move.

If you’re riding a motorcycle, you need to make sure that the helmet you choose fits your head. 

There are many different styles and sizes of motorcycle helmets, and they’re designed to fit a range of heads. The best motorcycle helmets fit so well they feel like they were custom-made for your head. 

So, if you’re considering getting a new helmet, make sure you know what size and form you’re wearing.

A good fit is better

Choosing a helmet is not just about figuring out your size and favorite color or decals. You have to buy a helmet that will actually work to protect your head in the event of an impact.

If you want to protect yourself from injury during a motorcycle accident, you need to make sure your helmet is properly fit for your head size. Your helmet protects your head in the event of an impact. The liner is designed to manage those forces. But if you have a big helmet gap, you may be hitting yourself with your own equipment. Also, some helmets have slip liners built-in, like Bell’s MIPS system, to reduce injuries from rotational forces.

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Choose a helmet style

There is always a trade-off between quality and quantity, as with everything else in life. The more choices you have, the more work it will be to choose the best option.

There are various kinds of helmets to choose from, and you must first decide what you want before deciding on a style. Do you need protection from the rain, sun, or both? What style is best for the terrain you are riding in?

  • Open Face Helmet – Of all the helmet classifications, the open face helmet offers the least protection. Here, the rider’s skull is protected. However, the face and chin are exposed. One of the benefits of this helmet is that it’s easy to remove or wear, and it offers excellent airflow. 
  • Modular Helmets – This helmet combines the full face and the half-face helmet. It uses a hinged mechanism that swings the chin bar and the face shield upward instantly converts the helmet into a half face.  Modular helmets may be convenient to use, but the trade-off here is that they are heavy, and just like open-face helmets, it’s noisy as well. 
  • ADV Helmets – is a combination of a dirt and street helmet, making it highly versatile, especially if you’re both on and off-road riding. 
  • Dirt Helmet – From the name itself, a dirt helmet is used for dirt bike riding. It has a lot of airflows, is not street-legal (no DOT certification), worn with goggles, and very light.

Checking your head size

A long oval, an intermediate oval, and a round one are the three head shapes that most people have. Ask a friend to take a picture of you from the top so you can see what your head looks like. Then try to flatten your hair down as much as possible so that you can see your head’s shape more clearly. Is your head long and thin, or almost round? You can see this in the picture. The most common shape is the intermediate oval.

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Now, find your helmet size. Helmet sizing is strange for most people since we don’t use head size as commonly as waist size, shirt size, or shoe size in everyday life. Luckily, it’s not hard to figure it out. Use a soft tape measure to check the circumference of your head. Run it along your eyebrows towards the back of your head. If you don’t have a soft tape measure, you can use a piece of string, run it around your head, and use a ruler to measure the length of the line, giving you an idea of the circumference.

Try it on

After getting your helmet size, the next step is to choose a brand and model of helmet. Grab both straps and see if it slides over your head. If it slips easily with room to move your head around, then the helmet isn’t a perfect fit. The helmet is not designed to be comfortable when on, so when you wear them, there will be some resistance while the head is passing through the pads. There are certain helmets where you need to adjust the placement of your earlobes; not doing so would be painful later. The priority here is to ensure that the helmet is a snug fit.

How does it feel?

If the helmet is a perfect fit, you will feel a little pressure on all sides; that’s normal. It should feel normal after a break-in period of 15 to 20 hours of riding.  However, if the fit becomes unbearable or painful, then that helmet might be a little too tight. If you’re trying a full-face helmet, you will fill the cushion against your cheek, and if you try to grab the chin bar and move it around, you will feel your cheek move, NOT the helmet. 

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Test the helmet for 30 minutes

Leave the helmet on for half an hour while you go about your usual business. Feel for any pressure points while you’re at it. If the tightness turns into pain, it may be too tight for you. 

Conclusion

Helmets are an essential aspect of motorcycle equipment. They can save your life if you are in an accident, but the more you know about them, the better you choose the proper one.

Further, if you have a helmet that is too tight, you will have an uncomfortable ride, and that’s not a good thing. 

Meanwhile, if the helmet is too loose, you won’t be able to get a good seal, and you’ll be at a higher risk of getting a concussion or other head injury.

Hopefully, you’re ready to take the next step and purchase your next helmet. 

Definitely, have fun and ride safe.