How to find a helmet that fits

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  • Different brands of helmet seem to fit different shapes of head, and there’s little to be gained from splashing out on the latest top-end race rep if your head is going to rattle around in it. Follow our guide to finding a lid that fits and you’ll be safe and secure.

    • Measure your head with a piece of string just about above the ears and eyebrows. Then lay the string along a tape measure to get your head circumference in centimetres (this measurement is given on the back of lids, so will assist you in narrowing down your size)


    • Make sure you try on as many different brands of helmet to find the one that suits your head shape


    • Ensure the helmet is a snug fit, but not too tight. The lining should have a bit of give at all the points at which it comes into contact with your forehead and cheeks. This will give with time, so it’s important that it’s tight to begin with, otherwise a lid that felt fine in the shop can move on your head three months down the line. Make sure the fit isn’t so tight that it’s uncomfortable, though.


    • If you’re buying from a website, read the small print. Make sure you can return the helmet if it doesn’t fit. There’s no substitute for visiting a dealer and trying on as many as you can.


    • Tailor the fit. Many manufacturers produce different sized cheek pads and head linings so you can tune the fit of your helmet to perfection.


    • Make sure your mouth or chin doesn’t touch the chin bar. If you can’t grit your teeth without feeling uncomfortable pressure then the helmet is probably too small.


    • Try helmets with different fasteners. Not everyone gets on with the double-D-style closure that comes with most top-line lids. You’ll also find helmets with seatbelt-style closures.


    • Don’t listen to your friends! A helmet they say is the best they’ve ever had might not suit your head shape. The golden rule is try for yourself.

    1. If the helmet can be rolled forward (or backward) once it’s fastened, it’s too big.

    2. Equally, any movement from side-to-side indicates an ill-fitting lid

    3. The helmet should slide on snugly if you pull the straps lightly to the side. Hold the chin bar and roll your head in.

      Marc Abbott

      By Marc Abbott