HOW TO PROPERLY FIT A MOTORCYCLE HELMET
A helmet is to a motorcycle rider as a seat belt is to a vehicle driver. Motorcycle helmets are an important piece of safety equipment that could help protect and/or possibly save a motorcycle rider's life. Finding a helmet is more than just a matter of buying one that fits your head size--finding the right fit is most important. Follow these instructions to learn how to get the best fit for your motorcycle helmet. Please note that motorcycle helmets are intended for motorcycle and ATV use only.
Cycle Gear believes that a properly fit helmet is so important to the safety of every rider that we have a 7 Day No Hassle Helmet Exchange Policy.
1. Use your hat size or an old helmet size as a starting point to properly fit a helmet.
If a hat size or a prior helmet size is unknown, measuring the head can be an alternative starting point to the helmet sizing process. Due to varying shapes, heads that are apparently the same size when measured by a tape may not necessarily fit the same size motorcycle helmet. So remember, this is a rough guide, a starting point, and depending upon your head shape, this step alone may not provide a perfect fit. The goal is to measure the largest circumference of your head. Start about 1” above your eyebrows in front, and at a point in the back of the head that results in the largest possible measurement. Take several measurements, to make sure you have the largest one then consult the following chart as a guideline. Each brand of helmets will have their own fitment charts, which may vary slightly from brand to brand.
ADULT (excluding Shorty and Drifter)
Note: Measuring your head for fit is only a starting point and by itself will not provide a proper fit. The actual fit of the helmet is critically important and is described in great detail in the steps below.
2. Try your helmet on. Hold the helmet in front of you. The helmet bottom should face you with the front pointing down. Hold the inside of the straps with your thumbs and balance the helmet on your fingertips. Slightly spread the sides of the helmet apart as you slip it over your head.
3. Make sure the helmet sits squarely on your head. There should be no movement.
4. Give your head a shake to ensure that the helmet does not shift around or slide off your head.
5. If you wear glasses while riding, make sure the helmet fits properly over and around them.
6. If there is a gap between the inside ceiling of the helmet and the top of your head or if there are “pressure points”, the helmet is too small.
7. Fasten the straps securely. Your helmet should fit snugly on your head. The helmet may even feel too tight until it is in place correctly on your head.
8. Check to make sure the cheek pads touch your cheeks but are not pressing uncomfortably.
9. Check to make sure that there are no gaps between your temples and brow pads.
10. If your helmet has a neck roll, make sure that it does not push the helmet away from the back of your neck. Make sure the neck roll is not pushing the helmet away at the rear, causing it to roll down over your eyes in front. The helmet should make contact with your neck.
11. For a full-coverage helmet, press on the chin piece. The helmet or face shield should not touch your nose or chin, as the wind pressure from the ride will do the same. This may cause discomfort and can compromise your safety.
Check Horizontal and Vertical Movement
12. Once you've ensured the proper fit, move the helmet from side to side and up and down using your hands. Hold your head steady while you do this. You should feel a gentle, uniform pressure all over your head from the helmet. Note any movement of the skin while doing this, as well as the amount of resistance to movement.
Note: A properly fitted motorcycle helmet will cause the skin to move as the helmet moves. And, it will feel to the wearer as if evenly distributed pressure is being continuously exerted around the head.
13. Note that this test may be a little uncomfortable, but it is a very important one. Keep your head straight and steady with the chin strap tightly fastened. Reach over the top of the helmet, grabbing the bottom edge with your fingers. Then try to roll the helmet off your head. If it comes off, it is undoubtedly too large. Try the same thing from the front by putting your hands on the chin bar and try to roll the helmet over your head. If the helmet starts to come off in either direction, try a smaller size.
Note: Do not use a helmet that can be rolled off the head with the strap fastened! Try not to cause severe pain, but do give a good, strong pull on the helmet. THIS TEST IS VERY IMPORTANT!!
Confirm Proper Fit
14. Take off your helmet. Check to see if there are any sore or red spots on your head. These are indicative of “pressure points” caused by the helmet's fit, which can be uncomfortable and cause headaches while riding. If you find any, this is not the right helmet for you. If there are “pressure points”, try the next helmet size up or a different brand.
Note: Helmets are like shoes, in that they do break in a little. For this reason, the best attitude to have when fitting is that the helmet should be as tight fitting as possible – taking into consideration the length of time it will be worn.
15. One way to confirm your evaluation of proper fit is to try on motorcycle helmets that are one size larger and one size smaller than the one you think is right. Keep in mind that people gravitate towards larger sizes, so don’t be afraid to go smaller and snugger as long as the helmet is comfortable and fits the type of riding you do.
16. Wear the helmet around the store or your home a while and see how comfortable it is over time. A properly fitting helmet is critical to your safety!
Cycle Gear Return Policy
17. Cycle Gear believes that a properly fit helmet is extremely important to the safety of every rider and to highlight that fact, Cycle Gear has a 7 Day No Hassle Helmet Exchange Policy. For 7 days after receipt, if for any reason you feel your helmet does not fit properly, return it to Cycle Gear.
To return your newly purchased helmet: simply bring the helmet in original condition and packaging to any Cycle Gear Store where our team members will gladly assist you. If you bought online and wish to return your helmet to cyclegear.com for an exchange, give us a call and we will provide you with a shipping label .
Ongoing Helmet Safety
The fit of your helmet will change over time, so you must regularly check that your helmet fits properly. Here are several things to look for:
- The foam lining will compact over time and may become loose. Periodically review steps 2-16 above to re-confirm the proper fit of your helmet.
- Hair style changes can also affect the fit of your helmet. If you significantly alter your hair style, you should review steps 2-16 to re-confirm the proper
fit of your helmet.
Wear and Tear: Over time, general wear and tear will eventually reduce your helmet’s ability to absorb impacts. Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet every 4-5 years.
Damage: Dropping or damaging a helmet in any way could make a helmet unsafe. The helmet is designed to absorb shock by partial destruction of the shell and/or liner. This damage may not be visible. Therefore, if subjected to a severe blow, the helmet should be replaced even if it is apparently undamaged. Your helmet should either be replaced or inspected by the helmet manufacturer under these conditions:
- If your helmet has been dropped or damaged
- If damage has penetrated the paint, graphics, or exterior coating
- The interior liner or retention system has become loose due to use or shows any sign of deterioration
- The EPS foam liner shows dents or scratches
Helmet Care and Maintenance
WARNING: Only use a cleaner designed for motorcycle helmets.
- Glass cleaners
- Paint thinner
- Bug repellant
- Acid-based, alkali-based or any other harsh cleaners or solvent
Keep helmet away from fumes of such products. Use of those or similar products and their fumes can cause damage to the helmet’s shell, visor, interior comfort liner, protective EPS foam and other components. This damage may not be visible. Wearing a damaged helmet may increase your risk of serious injury or death in an accident.
NEVER modify a helmet in any way. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Drilling holes
- Cutting the shell, liner or strap
- Modifying the retention system including adding a chin cup or quick release mechanism
- Removing parts
- Attaching accessories that are not made specifically for the make and model of helmet
- Cutting or removing rubber trim
- Removal or modification of the EPS foam
- Store helmet in a cool dry place
- Keep helmet away from pets and other animals
- Keep helmet away from heat in excess of 120° F
- Do not set on or near hot surfaces
Clean the face shield on a regular basis. It is best –and easiest- to remove bugs and dirt immediately after use. Remove the visor from the helmet before cleaning. Use a cleaner designed for use on helmet visors or use warm water, non-abrasive hand or dish soap and a clean soft cloth. Use only slight pressure to remove dirt. Blot dry. Do not use paper products or paper towels to clean or dry the face shield. Before reinstalling the face shield inspect the shield base plates. Clean and adjust as needed.
Interior Comfort Liner
Cleaning the helmet’s interior liner with motorcycle helmet cleaner can help reduce odor caused by bacteria and mildew as well as keep your helmet feeling and smelling fresh.
Be very careful when cleaning non-removable helmet liners. Improper cleaning may damage the adhesives that hold the liner in place. It is best to use a cleaner designed for washing motorcycle helmet liners. Thoroughly rinse any cleaning agent. Gently hand-wash the liner. Blot with a clean cloth or towel to absorb as much water as possible and then air dry.
Remove the liner from the helmet. Use a cleaner designed for washing motorcycle helmet liners or use a mild shampoo. Gently hand-wash the liner. Thoroughly rinse any cleaning agent. Blot with a clean cloth or towel to absorb as much water as possible and then air dry. Do not put liner in the dryer.
Interior safety EPS foam
Use extreme care cleaning this impact absorbing part of the helmet. The EPS foam can be easily damaged. Press very softly and use only warm water and a damp cloth. Blot dry with a soft cloth or towel. Never apply heat or solvents.
Exterior (outer) Shell
Use a cleaner designed for motorcycle helmet shells or use warm water, non-abrasive hand or dish soap and a clean soft cloth. Use only slight pressure to remove dirt. Blot dry. Do not use paper products to clean or dry.
Non-Gloss or Flat/Matte Finish
Use warm water, non-abrasive hand or dish soap and a clean soft cloth. Use only slight pressure to remove dirt. Blot dry. Do not use paper products or paper towels to clean or dry your helmet, as they will scratch it. Excessive pressure, using other cleaning agents, waxes or polish may alter the finish to look wet or glossy.
Dirt and debris can find its way into the venting of the helmet. Remove the interior liner if possible. Use a compressed air can typically used to clean computer keyboards. Do not use high-pressure air. The compressed air should blow the dirt and debris out of the vent.