Finding the right helmet fit is not as easy as one might think. Many people make the mistake of approaching it as if they are simply purchasing a hat. This is also why first-time ATV owners tend to make the mistake of buying a helmet that matches their hat size, or even worse, they don’t even try to measure their head and they simply guess the size.
With that said, starting from the size of your hat is indeed a good beginning. The important thing here is not to use the hat size as the only criteria for your purchase. You should take the time to measure your head at its largest circumference, namely above your eyebrows in the front, over the eyes, and around the back of the head.
You’ll need to do that a couple of times to make sure that you’ve gotten the largest numbers so that you don’t end with a size that will make it uncomfortable and unsafe to wear your new ATV helmet.
If your head size ends up being a few millimeters different each time you measure it, you should use the larger size. Next, you should compare your head size to the size of the helmet you are interested in purchasing.
Most models on the market are sold as S, M, L, or XL, and if the manufacturer does not have a size equivalent for them, you should contact them for more information. This is an important step because the helmet sizes can vary quite a bit among manufacturers and even among different models from the same brand.
Many people make the mistake of getting a helmet that is too large, especially when buying youth-size helmets since many parents that want to be mindful of how they use their budget tend to over-size their children’s helmets so that they can get a few extra years of wear. This is a very dangerous practice which is why we urge you never to do it.
A proper fit does not only make the helmet more comfortable to wear for extended periods, but it is also crucial to maximizing protection. If the helmet is too large then the purpose of having a helmet on is defeated entirely.
Helmets that are too large are very noisy due to the increased wind resistance, and since they are more likely to wobble from one side to another, they will tire the rider physically since he or she will keep fidgeting trying to keep the helmet in place.
While this is extremely uncomfortable, it can also be very dangerous since your mind will be focused on these unpleasant sensations instead of being where it should be, namely paying attention to what is ahead of you on the road.
Trying the helmet on
As soon as you’ve found the helmet that matches your head circumference, there is still the process of trying it out since even if the numbers all match, there is still a slim chance that something might not fit properly. In this case, you will need to return the helmet and try another size.
The best way to try on the helmet is to hold it by the chin straps and to make sure that the bottom of it faces you with the front pointing down. Now gently place both your thumbs on the inside of the straps, and balance the helmet with the help of your fingertips. Finally, spread the sides apart slightly and slip the helmet down your head with the help of the chin straps.
The helmet should now fit snugly on your head and there is no need to worry if it feels a bit too tight now, since that can happen until you place it correctly. Make sure that it is placed squarely on your head. It is not a hat, so it should not be titled back on your head.
Once you have the helmet securely on, there are a few additional checks that you can make before fastening the strap. You should make sure that there are no gaps between the brow pads and the temples, and check the cheek pads to ensure that they touch the cheeks without pressing on them too much in a way that is uncomfortable.
If you’ve purchased a model that comes with a neck roll, you should make sure that it does not provide too much pressure on the back of your neck. In the case of full-face helmets, the face shield should be quite far away from your nose and chin so that it does not touch them. If it does, it will become very uncomfortable at high speed from the wind pressure.
Now is the time to feel the fit of the helmet properly, and you can do that after you have fastened the straps securely. Begin by moving it from side to side and up and down with your hands. A good fit is very easy to notice since your skin will move at the same time with the helmet.
You’ll feel this as a slight even pressure that is exerted on the entire surface of your head. Because all helmets tend to loosen up as the comfort liner gets compressed through use, a new helmet should be as tight as you can wear it without feeling discomfort.
If the helmet is too large, then there are a few things that might occur. It could move around up and down on your head, or worse, even come off. A helmet that fits properly shouldn’t be able to be pulled off, and if you can do that, then it is too big for you.
After you’ve had it on your head for some time, you can take it off and wait a bit too see if there are any pressure points on your forehead or face since these can cause a headache after long rides. If there are some, you will need to choose the next largest size, or you can try another model or brand.
Even if you have purchased your helmet off the internet, you shouldn’t second guess yourself and refuse to return the product if it does not fit right. Returning a product and waiting for a refund or replacement is not always pleasant, but trust us when we say that once you’ve found the helmet that is just right for you, you won’t regret the extra wait.
Getting the right helmet style
When choosing an ATV helmet, most riders recommend an “off-road” or “motocross” style over the standard motorcycle helmet since the other two come with unique features specifically for off-road riding.
With that said, the decision is only yours to make, and this is why we have described the three primary styles of helmets below so that you can choose the one that works best for you.
Full-face helmets offer great protection since they have built-in face shields. Furthermore, they extend over your mouth and chin for even better protection. Open-face helmets, on the other hand, are less constrictive but they do have the disadvantage of providing less protection, especially on the chin and mouth area.
Motocross and off-road helmets are the recommended choice for ATV riders, especially those who ride aggressively. They cover most of the face and they are different from regular full-face models since they provide better ventilation, they have a face shield, a flip-up visor, and many other beneficial features for off-road riding.