A question that many people ask when coming in-store to try on helmets is whether or not the helmet looks like a good fit. Sometimes the question is “Is it supposed to be this tight?” or “Is it supposed to be this loose?” and in such cases the answer is obvious. But sometimes it’s a little harder to tell and people who have their helmets delivered to them at home don’t have the staff from Ghostbikes.com there to help out. So I thought I should make a blog post that can help people know if the fit of their helmet is right for them or even how to pick a helmet size if they’re unsure.
First of all- what size are you? If you’ve been a biker a while or worn helmets before, chances are that you’ve already got a pretty good idea. If you’ve no clue- no worries! All you need is a tape measure or a piece of string long enough to measure around your head. If you’re using the tape, simply measure around your head and see how many centimeters you get. If you’re using string, you can measure around your head the same way, mark or cut the string to length, lay it out flat and measure it with a ruler. Once you have your measurement in centimeters you can see the above chart to find out what size helmet you should be. But do keep in mind- this is just a guide.
Helmets are like any other piece of bike gear when it comes to sizes. Your size can go up or even down depending on the brand or style of the helmet. You may find you’re a medium like me in the Agrius Helmets but find that the HJC Helmets are very tight and you need to move up to a large. It’s because all the brands use different shell shapes, padding, foams, fastenings, materials and mechanisms for things like visors. Lots of little details that can sometimes add up to a big difference. But at least by following a size chart you have a good idea to start from.
When you’ve selected a helmet and slipped it on it’s time to judge the fit. Firstly- The helmet should be a little tight. Not face-crushingly constricting but just a bit. People have shopped with us the the past and turned down helmets for being slightly snug and opted for larger helmets when that slightly snug feeling is exactly what you need. There should be some pressure on your cheeks from the cheek padding but not so much that it’s forcing your face and lips into an expression like a fish in a vice. You should be able to feel the helmet all the way around the crown of your head. It needs to be comfortable though with no painful pressure, especially around the forehead and temples as this could lead to headaches while riding.
If you’ve found a helmet with good snugness on the cheeks, a full and comfortable fit around the crown of your head, then it’s time for a slip test. Fasten the helmet up and try to keep your head held facing straight forward while gently trying to move the helmet. If the helmet is a good fit it will cling to your skin and want to move your head with it. If you’re slipping around in the helmet at this phase- it may be a bit too loose. If you’ve found a helmet that meets all of these criteria but is just a tiny bit snug- this is a good thing. Your helmet is brand new and will naturally feel a slight bit tighter. But as you wear it for a while the padding and foams will wear in, forming to the shape of your head to give you that little bit more room for comfort.
There are many reasons you don’t want a helmet that fits too loose or too tightly. A loose helmet can shift, twist and even smash against your head in an unfortunate impact which will minimize it’s ability to do it’s job. If it’s really loose- it may even slip off. A tight helmet, while it will likely stay on your head and also protect you in a crash- it could be what caused you to crash in the first place. A tight helmet can bring on headaches that can lead to other symptoms like neck, shoulder and eye strain. It affects your ability to control the bike, your reaction times and your concentration. And you need those on the road, especially when your ride only has two wheels [maybe three] and no nice metal box around you to protect you. When choosing your helmet, be picky, be fussy, be selective and be certain. It’s your head after all.
Thanks for reading everybody, I hope this helps anyone that has been having trouble with helmets and sizes
Until next time!
-MattW at Ghostbikes.com