The key to knowing your motorcycle helmet fits you properly is to make sure it feels snug and solid but not uncomfortable when you put it on.
If your helmet is loose, it could come off or twist around on your head in a serious crash. And wind flowing from underneath when you ride can force it up and strain your neck.
A tight helmet will pinch your ears and press against your forehead. It will cause headaches and distract you from your ride and from surrounding traffic.
When you try on helmets before you buy, remember these key points…
- A helmet that fits you properly will require some force to put on. It may seem tight as it slides over your head because of the inside padding causing resistance.
- If a helmet slides too easily over your head, it will not be snug enough to remain properly positioned or to prevent annoying wind noise from filling the helmet.
- You will know a helmet fits properly when all of its interior padding makes solid contact with your head. A helmet will become uncomfortable and not protect you adequately if it only makes contact on the top of your head.
- When you put on a full-face helmet, it should hold your cheeks and jaw firmly. It should make solid contact with the top and sides of your head. Many full-face helmets offer removable/interchangeable cheek pads. Different size pads can create the best helmet fit.
- Your helmet should surround and “hug” your head with even pressure throughout. It shouldn’t create “hot spots” due to uneven pressure points. It should not press uncomfortably against your temples, forehead or cheeks.
- The padding inside a helmet that is comfortably snug will compress and remain firm as it molds to your head.
- A helmet with padding that creates a seal around your ears will block wind noise and protect your hearing. It will not block out important sounds such a voices or car horns.
- Your helmet should not move when you shake your head forcefully up and down or from side-to-side.
- Your nose or chin should not touch the faceshield.
- A full-face helmet’s faceshield should seal the eye port.
- A faceshield should move smoothly and easily and stay up when you raise it.
- A faceshield should not distort your view — anywhere.
Do the “roll-ff” test to make sure a helmet will stay on when you need it
No helmet can protect you if will not stay on in an accident. So try this simple “roll-off” test before you buy or use a particular helmet. Pull on the helmet and snug down the chin strap. Grab the helmet’s rear edge where it contacts the back of your neck. Then try to lift and roll the helmet forward off your head. Give it a good tug, even if the pressure is uncomfortable. If the helmet slides forward and off, you know you should continue to look for one that stays on through this test.
Does the helmet you are considering give you the features you want most?
When you know a helmet fits comfortably and passes the “roll-off” test, see that it has all other features you want.
Such comfort features include…
- Lots of snug padding around your head
- A snug seal surrounding — but not touching — your ears
- A thick, padded roll hugging the back of your head and neck
- No protrusions poking or pressing against your head or face
One final test before you take it home…
- Put on the helmet, tighten the chinstrap and keep it on for it for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- Get used to how it feels and let it settle in.
After a while, if the helmet makes you uncomfortable by — for example — pressing against your forehead or the top of your head or pinching an ear, try cheek-pads that are sized differently. If that does not do the trick, let that particular helmet go. Continue the procedure with another “perfect prospect” until you find the one that satisfies you completely.