Getting a helmet that fits properly is crucial.
Experts on impact protection will tell you it’ll be able to do a better job in an accident if it fits properly – but that’s just one reason why you should get it right.
Among other things, a helmet that fits well will be more comfortable, less distracting, give you a better view of what’s going on around you and will also reduce fatigue over distance.
So getting it right will make you less likely to have an accident, and will also give you a better chance of walking away from one if it does happen.
Here’s our guide to getting the right fit…
Tale of the tape
The starting point is your head size in centimetres. Measure the circumference of your head, using a fabric tape measure wrapped around a point 1cm above your eyebrows. Check the helmet manufacturer’s guide to see which size covers this measurement. The numbers listed after a helmet’s size on the Sportsbikeshop dropdown menu show the relevant centimetre range for that size.
The try on
In theory, measuring your bonce means you should be able to plonk the right-size lid on and it’ll fit. But life isn’t a theory. Slight differences in size and shape mean you might need a different size, model or even a different manufacturer. You can only find out by putting it on and trying. Pull the lid over the top of your head, making sure your ears aren’t folded over. If this is your first motorcycle helmet and it feels as though the lid isn’t going to fit on your head, keep going. The more snugly a helmet fits the better, as long as it’s not too tight.
Once the lid is on, fasten the strap. If it secures by D-rings, feed the loose end through both rings and then loop it back under the farthest ring before feeding it back through the nearest ring and pulling tight. If the helmet fastener is a micrometric buckle then feed the toothed slider into the clasp until the strap is secure under your chin. You may need to adjust the tension using the additional adjuster to get the fit right. The strap should be tight enough that you can only just squeeze two fingers between your chin and the strap.
Snug, not tight
You want the fit to create even pressure around your whole head. It should feel as though the helmet is gripping your head firmly without feeling as though it’s clamped against you like a vice. If a particular area is pressing against your skull harder than the rest then you need to decide if that will cause discomfort while riding your bike. If you think it will, consider another helmet.
With the helmet still on and fastened under your chin, grip the chinbar on a full-face helmet and hold it in place while you try to turn your head to each side inside the helmet. If the helmet lining moves with your head then it fits, but if it rotates inside the helmet it’s too big.
Up, not over
Repeat this technique but attempting to move your head up and down, to see if it moves unduly within the lid. The nature of the chinstrap will allow a certain amount of movement, but if the lid comes down over your eyes then it’s too big.
To check the helmet sits properly on your head, look in the mirror. Make sure your eyes sit clearly in the visor aperture with room between them and both the chinbar and the upper rim of the aperture. This will make sure you have good vision for the road or track when riding.
Test of time
If you’ve bought the helmet online, wear it while you sit and watch TV for half an hour or so. Sometimes an over-tight fit reveals itself over this sort of timespan. If you feel pressure points and discomfort developing, consider a different helmet.
Reputable online retailers will always accept a returned helmet, provided it has not been used on a bike and still has all tags and labels attached. If a helmet doesn’t fit, send it back and request a different size or a different helmet.
Watch our video below to see how we suggest making sure you get the correct fit for you...