Helmets protect your most valuable asset-your head. When you’re riding a bike, motorcycle, or scooter it’s important to have the right helmet size and fit for your needs. This blog post will help you measure your head and find the right-sized helmets for all of your biking adventures! 

 

Why should I choose the right helmet?

Safety: By wearing a helmet you drastically reduce your chance of getting seriously hurt or killed while riding. Helmet’s save lives! 

Protection: Wearing the right kind of helmet makes it more difficult to injure your head in an accident. 

Comfort: The best helmets are made with lightweight materials that help make the ride more comfortable (especially when you’re sweating) as well as offer better ventilation and protection from heavy winds.

To choose the right one, think about where you’re going to be using it most often and then choose a product that is designed specifically for that purpose – or at least makes some concessions when it comes to multi-sport use. 

For example, if you plan on doing a lot of adventuring off-road then it might be in your best interest to get a helmet specifically designed for that purpose. This will help keep you safe and also ensure that you don’t break the bank when making your choice.

How to find the right size helmet

Most important: You must try on a bicycle helmet before you buy it! Helmet sizing is unique for each brand, model, and even color within the same brand/model. The only way to know if a particular helmet will fit is to try it on your head.

There are a few different ways to measure the right size for you:

* Using a flexible tape measure, wrap it around your head at the widest point of your forehead (right above or in front of the ears) and note where the tape meets itself on the back of your head, this is usually between 18″ and 22″. This will be used to compare against each manufacturer’s sizing chart

* Using a soft ruler, place it flat across your forehead, about an inch above your eyebrows; if you can’t see its markings then hold it up further until you can. Measure from each side across the top of your skull just above the eyebrows to find out how wide your head is. 

* For most helmets available today, you’ll also see a size range for the helmet’s built-in sizing pads. These can be adjusted inside the helmet to give it a better fit. The larger your head measurement, the more you will want to adjust your fit with these pads.

How should a motorcycle helmet fit?

A helmet must fit snugly on your head. It should be smooth across your forehead and the cheek pads should press against your cheeks without pinching them. The area around your ears, jawbone, and back of your neck should have firm pressure applied to it from the inside of the helmet. If any part of the liner is wrinkled, pushed inwards, or has extra space, then you need a smaller size or different model.

If the chin strap seems too loose, tighten it by pulling it out at either end until it’s adjusted properly. When it’s correctly adjusted (at eyebrow level) pull on both ends again equally to remove any slack in the strapping system that might allow for rotation around your chin with road vibrations.

The wind will cause the collar of your jacket to push up against a correctly fitted helmet. This is normal and if you like, you can use a finger to funnel some air into the gap between your neck and the top of your jacket before tying the sleeves around your waist or tucking them in at the front. Manufacturers don’t make this area aerodynamic because they want to maximize peripheral vision…and they know most riders wear their jackets open while riding anyway.

You should feel comfortable wearing a motorcycle helmet. If it feels like it’s sitting on an invisible box midway between your eyebrows and hairline, then that’s probably where you need to put it down for a minute, take a break & think about switching models instead of trying to fix what isn’t broken. As a side note, after you wear one for a while, your forehead may be sore for 2-3 hours afterward. This is because the part of the helmet that sits on your forehead is designed to protect from skull fractures (or at least reduce those injuries to skull bruises) and has been tested by impact with a steel anvil with weights usually around 4-5 kg falling onto it…this concentrated force on such a small area will cause pain but doesn’t mean you’ve made a bad choice in helmets or that it fits poorly.

In general, terms, if any parts of the liner seem as though they’re going to rub on any spots such as your ears, eyebrows, or even top lip when closed, then that helmet is not for you. For example, the helmets made by HJC (a well-known helmet maker) tend to fit very similar to each other in sizing and shape regardless of price range…however they all have different shell shapes so the liner will be thicker or thinner in certain spots depending on the model. You can try putting a finger under the front lip of your helmet while it’s securely fastened to make sure there isn’t any skin being pulled underneath it before it’s buckled uptight. If there is, put down that HJC and think about another brand or model instead…this usually means that part of your head would be exposed when wearing it which defeats the purpose of wearing a safety device in the first place.

One of the most important points to consider regarding sizing is that if any part of your skin is being pulled inwards by too much pressure from the liner, then it will reduce blood circulation and cause numbness in hands and feet (if you’re riding long distances) as well as making it feel like your ears are trapped inside the helmet because they can’t pop due to the pressure around them. If this happens, take off the lid and try a larger size or another model instead, or go for thinner cheek pads. This is why it recommended you be able to return/exchange helmets (even if new) before buying them…aside from actually trying several out on, all helmets should have removable pads so you should be able to fix small sizing issues if you’re careful not to damage them while doing so.

One last note on sizing: if your ears are exposed outside the helmet after it’s buckled uptight, then it’s too big for you…there will be exceptions here and there but as a general rule of thumb, this is what you should expect with any brand or model.

If your helmet feels like it’s sitting too high on your head, or worse yet wobbling side-to-side from front-to-back when you shake it, don’t even bother riding with it because it’s not in the right position on your head. The only time a DOT-certified helmet should ever move freely from front to back (even slightly) is when it’s not securely fastened.

Don’t be fooled by the many brands who claim to have a “noise-reducing” helmet: most of those are just very slim fitting (or have thicker cheek-pads) which will reduce noise slightly but in general terms, there isn’t much you can do about road noise from your helmet muffling wind-noise. If any part of your skin is exposed because the pads aren’t thick enough or it’s too small then that will increase wind noise instead of decreasing it…so if this is your only complaint with a particular model then you’re better off replacing pads and/or sizing first before buying something else.

If you tend to wear sunglasses when riding, check to see how well they fit under your helmet: you may need to remove them first or have some of your cheek-pads removed to get it closed tightly because those pads will push the arms of glasses against your face if they’re too thick. Be careful not to scratch lenses when removing sunglasses as well.

In general terms, you should check for any exposed parts on the liner that might irritate the skin over long periods (like seams) or cause a headache from pressure points. Helmets with removable liners are easier to clean than non-removable ones which is also an important consideration because sweat and dirt can break down padding and decrease comfort…however helmets with replaceable padding tend to be more expensive so its a trade-off either way. You can always remove and machine-wash the entire outer shell of a helmet but it’s much harder to clean an inner liner that might be permanently sealed in place.

Although not all helmets have adjustable nose-guards, at least one helmet that I’ve tried has them situated too far back so the bottom of the guard sits on the bridge of my nose and irritates it after only about an hour or two…so make sure its placement won’t cause you to discomfort if you’re planning on wearing it for long periods. For example, some models may rest against your upper lip instead which is just as bad because then your lower lip will feel pressure from both sides (plus fumes) if you ride with your mouth open.

Another common complaint among riders who wear glasses is that the eye-port (opening) of their helmets allows too much wind directly into their faces when it’s really cold or there’s not enough ventilation so try to find a helmet with a larger opening if you’re in these types of conditions.

However, this also means that it will let more dust and rain inside during wet weather but it’s something you’ll have to accept as an unavoidable fact because some vents are useful for certain climates while others are not. If your neck gets cold easily then make sure your helmet has at least one vent situated to blow air on your neck area (most do) but only open them up about halfway because any more can cause whistling from wind which might be annoying if you don’t expect it.

If it’s too loose and moves around on your head when you shake from side to side then it doesn’t fit snugly but if it’s too tight and/or sits high up on your head then that’s another sign of a bad fit. A good way to find out for sure is to bring the chin strap along with you when trying helmets on because there should be at least two fingers of space between the strap’s buckle and your chin…also, make sure it is not so loose that it covers your eyes or gets in the way when looking forward.

There are several tricks I know which help determine whether or not a helmet will work well for you: first, try holding one finger inside the front using just enough pressure so that it doesn’t fall out but not enough to make it uncomfortable and if you can do this without issue then it means the opening is large enough that your finger won’t interfere with wind pressure when riding.

Another important thing I look for is whether or not my nose would touch the inside of the eye-port if I open my mouth all the way because that’s a sign of poor fitting in most cases even though helmets are tested to meet minimum standards before going on sale so try holding your breath while looking forward if there isn’t room between your face and the chin guard then its too tight for you. You may also want to check around where the nose guard touches (if any) because these spots might be pressure points that will cause discomfort after long periods.

The chin strap should be at least three fingers wide and the buckle shouldn’t pinch or cause other parts of your face to bulge in an abnormal way…the straps should also feel padded enough that their edges don’t dig into your cheeks because it will start hurting after a few hours. Make sure its length is adjustable enough so you can tighten it enough so that when you open your mouth all the way, the helmet doesn’t pull away from your head (if the strap’s too long then tying a knot on one end can fix this temporarily). The section connecting the two chin straps should “hug” near the bottom of the tip of your throat before leading back to either side of your ears and make sure those sections aren’t loose at the ends.

Some helmets have speakers installed in them for communication devices but they shouldn’t touch your ears because it’s very uncomfortable and also can cause hearing interference if you wear earplugs so make sure there’s space between the bottom of your chin guard and your upper lip to avoid this. Also, pay attention to where other parts are situated as well like when wearing goggles with a visor because it may hit against the top of the eye-port which is another annoyance that’s hard to ignore.

As for how high up on your head a CPSC or SNELL-approved helmet should sit, I’ve never seen an exact guideline but obviously, they can’t be too low otherwise it would interfere with vision and balance not to mention adding to neck injuries in a crash. Most people prefer them to sit high enough that a thin index finger can just barely fit between the bottom of the chin guard and your eyebrow but there’s always going to be some degree of personal preference involved here so try different levels and see which you prefer (I usually keep mine right around my forehead).

The most important factors when determining which helmet is best for you are safety ratings, comfort, color(s), special features if any, weight/bulkiness, cost, and availability…when choosing between models or manufacturers, however, I suggest focusing on how well they protect first because factoring in other variables like how it looks with goggles, vents/airflow or aerodynamics should come last for maximum protection.

There are so many brands and models available that it can get very overwhelming when choosing what to buy sometimes but I hope this article will help narrow down your choices if you’re in the market for a new one.

Earplugs should be worn during practice/training sessions, races, or whenever riding fast so wind noise doesn’t damage your hearing when speeds exceed 40mph (70km/h) even though white noise is still part of the training process because it helps develop “situational awareness”, anticipate obstacles and improve time management during laps without sacrificing safety provided you have an effective way of hearing course communication like using a headset system or having a coaching spot for you.

For race day, earplugs such as Etymotic Research’s ER-20 or Radians’ Raptor Series are commonly used but there are many others to choose from as well so you can find the most comfortable ones for you…of course, custom-molded plugs like those made by Earp films are best because they fit not only comfortable but also seal out all external noise for optimal protection.

How to ensure a snug fit

It is important to put on your helmet correctly because it can save you from serious injury. The best way to make sure the fit isn’t too tight or loose is by adjusting the interior of your child’s helmet after he puts it on his head. 

There are two major ways that this should be done and they involve either a spin dial fitting mechanism (which is only found in higher-end helmets) or sticky padding foam which adds bulk inside the helmet while still allowing for adjustment via an exterior knob with a rubber coating that ensures maximum comfort around all edges of one’s noggin!

When should I replace my helmet?

For your helmet to offer proper protection, it needs to be in good shape at all times – specifically, the outer shell must be intact and the lining has to stay dry. You can check both of these things by looking at the chinstrap buckle:

If your buckle looks like it could rust at any moment, then that’s an issue. You’ll also want to look for little tears or rips in your liner because this can lead to moisture build-up which can corrode the shell. Any helmet that has been dropped, even from a low height (like slipping off your bike rack), should be replaced immediately. In general, helmets have an average lifespan of 5 years but it is important to note that this is only a recommendation made by experts and may not be true for you!

If you always wear your helmet correctly and never put unnecessary stress on the materials then it could last much longer. As we mentioned earlier, if your helmet hasn’t done its job once or twice because of bad luck or factors beyond your control then don’t worry – just replace it!

How do I clean my helmet?

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how to go about cleaning your helmet. If there are a lot of long-term stains on the inside of your visor or if your foam is getting pretty gross then you might need to take it in for professional cleaning but the most part helmets can be cleaned rather easily.

If you get caught out on any ride with sweat dripping down into your eyes and don’t have time to find a washroom then wiping them directly with a damp rag or hand towel will do the trick. We also recommend using a chamois cloth which can be used again and again without losing its ability to absorb liquid! Just remember that they should never be washed – just wipe off excess dirt/sweat after use.

Other ways to keep you safe while driving

Wearing a well-fitting helmet is one of the best safety measures you can take to protect your head from injury. However, there are other things you can do while riding that will help as well:

Wear bright-colored/reflective gear: This will help drivers see you on the road! Be especially careful to choose colors that stand out at dawn and dusk because this makes it harder for others to see you. Get yourself some bright leg warmers, arm warmers, and reflective vests so you don’t get run over by a drunk driver in the dark. These items are also great when riding during inclement weather or low light conditions – and won’t cost an arm and a leg compared to cycling jackets with lights on them.

Safety in numbers: It’s always safer to ride with a group of friends because this gives you protection from the wind and cars. Plus, if something were to happen then there would be other people around to lend a helping hand! If you don’t have any friends that like riding then consider signing up for bike club or team – as these usually promote safety by holding regular group rides as well as offering great opportunities for training tips/advice. 

Bicycle lights: Not only do bike lights make it easier for others to see you but they also help make your ride more comfortable when out during darker hours. There are tons of options available online (Amazon has one of the best selections) and the prices can range from $5 to over $100. If you don’t already have any lights on your bike then I highly recommend that you consider getting some – especially if you’re going to be riding in dark conditions.

Conclusion 

We hope this post has given you a little more insight into how to measure for the perfect helmet. The best way to find the right fit is by measuring your head, using our guidelines, and taking advantage of our helpful sizing chart on each product page. Heading out with just an idea about what size should work? Let us know if we can help! 

One last thing – be sure to take care when handling your new lid so it lasts as long as possible. Stay safe out there!

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