As you saw on the last page, motorbike helmets come in many different shapes and sizes; now that you have chosen a style of helmet, you need to know how to get the right fit. Fitting a helmet well is essential for your safety; an ill fitting helmet can easily come off in the even of an accident, and even if it doesn’t, your head will not be adequately protected if it’s allowed to rattle about the inside.

This page will offer guidance to fitting a bike helmet, whether you plan on purchasing from a dealer or ordering online.

 

Fitting at a dealer

Fitting at a physical shop is the best option for getting a clear picture of the size and shape of helmet you need, even if you want to make your purchase online. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying on helmets at a dealer:

  • Try a few different brands – Every manufacturer shapes and sizes their helmets differently, so one manufacturer’s  ‘medium’ could be another manufacturer’s ‘large’.
  • Get your head measured – The staff in physical shops know exactly how to fit a helmet properly. They will measure your head and recommend a brand for you to try in your size, often offering up several different models to get a more accurate idea of your head shape.
  • Pay particular attention to the fit around the crown of your head when trying on a helmet – A helmet that is too tall will leave an air gap above your head, reducing your protection in the event of a collision.
  • Try rotating the helmet side to side on your head – If your head moves easily inside the helmet, the helmet is too large. Try the same for up and down movements. If the helmet can be lifted off by pulling the helmet up from the back while you head is tilted downwards, even with the strap fastened, it’s clearly too big.
  • Try to push four of your fingers in-between your cheeks and the cheek liner – If you can, the helmet is too big. The same goes for between your forehead and the head liner.
  • Once you have found a well fitting helmet you think you might want to buy, put it on and wear it for a good 15 minutes if possible. This will give you an idea of the comfort of the helmet when worn on longer trips.

If you wear glasses, ensure that you can wear them without them being bent or otherwise distorted, and that they are comfortable when being worn with a helmet.

 

Buying a helmet online

Buying online can get you a great deal on motorcycle helmets, but if you don’t have the luxury of trying out a helmet before you buy it, it can be a bit of a gamble as to whether or not the helmet will fit you properly. There are however a number of things you can do to reduce this risk and end up with a good value, well fitting helmet.

 

  •  Measure your head properly – Have someone else use measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head at its widest point. This will correspond to a helmet size. Consult the general helmet size chart below to find a general helmet size. For more specific helmet sizes, the helmet manufacturer’s website should have their own chart.
SizecmInches
S55 - 5621½ - 22
M57 - 5822¼ - 22¾
L59 - 6023 - 23½
XL61 - 6223¾ - 24¼
XXL63 - 6424¾ - 25
  • Know your head shape – Higher end manufacturers produce helmets tailored to specific head shapes, while more middle of the road brands make helmets to fit all head shapes using thicker lining. There are three head shapes:
    • Oval – This is the most common type.
    • Round – Like the oval, but wider in the middle, near the temples
    • Egg – The least common head shape, wider at the top of the head, narrower towards the bottom, near the chin.
  • Do plenty of research – Little things like clasp mechanism and lining thickness may not be immediately obvious on the website you are buying from, so you won’t notice something you don’t like until your receive your helmet.
  • Make sure the vendor has a refund policy –  This will prevent you from running into issues trying to return an ill-fitting helmet.
  • Read customer reviews – Reviews often have a great wealth of information about your chosen helmet that the manufacturer may not mention on their product description.
  • Resist the temptation to buy a second hand helmet – Used helmets may be cheap but you have no idea how the helmet has been treated; even if a helmet looks to be in pristine condition, it could have been dropped. Once a helmet is dropped, its protective shell is compromised, making it illegal to use and potentially unsafe.

On the next page we will move onto the second most important item of motorcycling gear: the jacket.

Gearing up – The Motorcycle Jacket >