Consider the shape
One aspect that many people often forgo when choosing a motorcycle helmet is its shape. The shape will determine how comfortable and fit it will be just as much as the overall size. You may not realize it, but the shape of your head is slightly different than that of other people. The three main types of motorcycle helmet shapes are round oval, intermediate oval, and long oval.
The long oval helmet is shaped for heads that are longer from front to back than from side to side.
Intermediate oval helmets are shaped for heads that are only slightly longer from front to back than from side to side. Chances are that most motorcycle helmets you’ll encounter in a store or online are of this type.
Round oval helmets are shaped for heads that have basically the same length from front to back as they do from side to side.
Get a friend to measure your head from front to back and from side to side to determine which helmet shape is best for you. This is the most basic step to determining the size of the helmet.
Measuring the right size for a motorcycle helmet is just as easy as measuring the correct size for a hat. All you need is a tailor’s tape or seamstress for this type of measurement. These tools are flexible enough to go from one end of your head to another, as well as going around your forehead and back of your head.
Write down every measurement, especially the one around your head horizontally, one inch above the eyebrows. Then look for each brand’s size chart to determine what size is best for you. If you have the possibility, test it out before buying, or check to see if they offer a money-back guarantee in case it doesn’t fit properly.
Fitting the helmet
We said earlier that the helmet shouldn’t be either too tight or too loose. However, at first, even a helmet that fits properly feels a little tighter. Its interior should come in contact with most of your head, but the sensation shouldn’t cause pain. As a comparison, think of it the same way you’d think of surgical gloves or a mask.
The helmet shouldn’t put pressure on certain parts of your skull. Just like shoes shouldn’t put pressure on your little toe or the side of your foot. In time, the helmet will adjust itself to the shape of your head and you won’t feel absolutely any discomfort. As long as you took the measurements correctly and paired them against the company’s size chart, it should be ok.
One more trick you can try to see if the helmet is good for you is to insert a finger between your head and the helmet when it’s on your head. If the finger fits easily inside, it’s usually a sign that the helmet isn’t tight enough.
However, some models have replaceable padding on the cheek section to make their interior last longer. You should also take this into consideration when checking the fit.
Why getting the right helmet is crucial
Getting the right fit for your helmet is as important as, well, getting a helmet. In case you take a fall, it will protect your head more efficiently and most likely save your life. According to the National Safety Council, more than 25000 lives have been saved by a motorcycle helmet from 2002 to 2018 – and that’s just in the USA alone.
If every motorcycle rider would wear a helmet, more than 800 lives could be saved every single year.
If your helmet is too tight and you fall, your head will absorb more impact. Likewise, if your helmet is too loose, your head will bounce around in it when you take a fall, yet again increasing your chances of injury. This is why getting the right size is important. You want to hit that sweet spot that will keep you safe in most scenarios.
How much is a good motorcycle helmet?
Like with motorcycles themselves, helmets vary in price, quality, and style. It’s up to you to do your research and figure out which one you should buy depending on your budget and the style you want. We recommend getting a full face or modular motorcycle helmet since half-face or open face helmets leave a lot of areas exposed.
Your jaw, nose, and eyes are front and center just waiting to be destroyed at the first sign of danger. And we’re not talking about regular accidents either. Let’s say you’re traveling down a highway and a bird flies right into your face. You can imagine the rest of the scenario. Also, you have to deal with the wind that might carry dust particles that inhibit your vision.
Some people might consider themselves rebels and not wear protective gear under any circumstances, but they don’t realize the danger they are in. Even if you were a better driver than any other person on the planet, your chances of getting into an accident on a motorcycle are far higher than that of people who ride cars.
Let’s say an inattentive driver hits you by accident. Their car will be wrecked a little, sure, but you? You’ll be in far worse condition when you fall off your bike and hit a wall, vehicle, lamp post, etc.
Even if you hit the slightest pothole at great speeds, chances are you’ll fall off your motorcycle. What’s next? Everyone knows. You’ll hit hard concrete and get bruises all over your body if you don’t have a protective jacket. But far worse is hitting your head, as that means you’ll probably be dead in a few minutes. And it’s not a pleasant death either.
Think of your family and friends. You’d be putting them in such unimaginable pain that they might fall into a heavy depression. If you don’t care about yourself, at least show some love for the people who have supported you throughout the years.
Motorcycle helmet standards
The US Department of Transportation issues a DOT Certification, whilst the Snell Memorial Foundation and other private entities issue a Snell Certification, and both of these are the most common safety standards found on motorcycle helmets throughout the USA. ECE and JIS, respectively, are issued within Europe and Japan.
Another respected safety standard is MIPS, which is given for helmets that provide a low-friction layer between liners that allows a certain level of friction between your head and your motorcycle helmet during impact coming from any direction.
Regardless of which safety standard you choose, it is important to get an approved motorcycle helmet that meets these requirements. If you get a non-licensed helmet, you risk leaving out all of the safety procedures imposed by states and authorities. Whilst not all unlicensed helmets might be hazardous, it’s still a risk that can cost you your life.
Combine the usefulness of these standards with a motorcycle helmet that fits your head properly and you’ve got yourself a great deal. You’ll be able to ride your motorcycle without the fear of dying at any moment from the smallest possible impact.
And, as such, you also have the peace of mind that your friends and family won’t be grieving just because you chose to partake in your favorite hobby.
Motorcycle helmets are here to stay, and they’re not going anywhere soon. Unless someone discovers in the future a type of motorcycle that can prevent 100% of accidents, you will always need a helmet to stay safe.
Getting the right size is just as important as having a helmet in the first place since you never know what you’ll encounter on those old town roads or rugged highways.