Safety comes first and cannot be taken lightly under any circumstances. The same rule applies for when riding a motorcycle; the helmet is deemed crucial. A helmet needs to fit the head properly; otherwise, it will not only be uncomfortable and hard to adjust but also very dangerous. So one may ask how do you determine your helmet size?
How to Size a Motorcycle Helmet?
In order to determine your helmet size, you first need to measure your head. This could be done using a soft measuring tape. Go around your head to measure the circumference above the eyebrows and ears, and the back of the head. The measurement in centimeters from the measuring tape would be the size of your helmet.
How do You Determine Your Helmet Size?
To get the perfect and most fitted size, the following steps should be followed. A helmet should sit comfortably on the head. It should neither be too tight nor too loose such that it pops off upon impact.
Determine Helmet Type and Shape
The first thing to do is to decide upon the helmet type. The following are the main types of helmets for motorcyclists.
The full-face helmet, as the name suggests, covers the entire face. It has a chin guard, which most other helmets lack. The chin guard provides extra protection and could prove to be lifesaving in case of accidents. It protects the chin and the jaw. The slit for the eye may be covered with thick glass that slides down if the rider wants to shut the helmet fully.
The full-face helmet has further variations. High-speed bike riders prefer a full-face helmet with a higher chin guard. Such a helmet does not lift at higher speeds and is more fitted on the head. Those who do not ride at very high speeds opt for a lower chin guard.
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The flip-up helmet has a visor and a chin guard that can open up. They are very similar to full-face helmets, with the exception of the openable front. There are fissures attached that allow for the visor and the chin guards to open up.
In addition to the openable visor, the flip-up helmets also have an internal visor that provides protection against sunlight. The chin guard is positioned lower. These helmets weigh lighter than full-face helmets and are not used for high-speed riding.
An open-face helmet is completely without a chin guard. It covers the back and the sides of the head but leaves the chin and the jaw area exposed. Due to the absence of the chin guard, they weigh slightly less. Open-face helmets may support a partial or full-face visor. The partial one does not go all the way down to below the chin while the full visor does.
An open-face helmet, too, is not used for extreme sport or for riding a bike at a very high speed. Since there is no chin guard, the helmet is more prone to lifting and toppling off the head in case of high-speed riding. Additionally, they do not protect the face from weather conditions such as rain/hail or from road debris like small stones or sand.
Half helmets provide the least protection of all discussed options. These only go around the top of the head above the ears and the brows and the back. Some designs may fully cover the side and the back of the head, but usually, they don’t. Even though the airflow with these helmets is great, the protection is minimized. They usually lack a visor, and the rider needs to buy eye safety in the form of goggles or glasses separately.
All of these helmets are usually used for on-road adventures like touring and adventure riding. The positioning of the chin bar plays a crucial role in determining which helmet is suited to which journey. High chin guard helmets should be worn when riding a motorcycle at high speed. Meanwhile, low-positioned chin bars are used for city travel at city limit speeds.
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Measure Your Head
Once you have decided upon which helmet would serve your purpose, the next thing to do is to measure your head. The head needs to be measured properly because any mistakes here might lead you to buying the wrong size. The wrong size would be uncomfortable, useless, and hence a waste of money.
It is very easy to measure the head. You may require the assistance of a friend, but you can do it on yourself as well. All you will need is a measuring tape. Take the measuring tape and wrap it around your head so that it stays at a level above the eyebrows and the ears. The measurements are then usually taken in centimeters. If the tape measures at 58cm, then the size of your helmet is 58cm.
The size should also be communicated in numeric as large, medium, and small sizes may differ from one brand to the other. One brand may have a wider ‘medium’ size than the other; hence, to make sure you get the right size, the size should always be communicated in numerical values.
It should be kept in mind that the padding inside the helmet would eventually become flat after constant use. This would make the helmet loose. A new helmet should be bought as soon as possible in such a case. While buying the helmet, the compressing of the inside paddings should be considered.
Ask a friend to observe the shape of your head by looking at it from above. The shape of your head will be a big consideration in finding you a helmet.
Try The Helmet
Trying the helmet is extremely important to make sure it fits your head and does not cause any discomfort. Once you have decided on the size and type of helmet and you have it in front of you, wear it.
After wearing it, shake your head a little to see if the helmet sits firmly on your head. The shaking should not make the helmet lose and come off. Next, put the straps and buckles in place. Make sure the helmet at this point is not too tight to cause any pains.
From the front side, push the helmet upwards. The helmet should not move from its place. Repeat the procedure at the back of your head too.
To check for cheek plate fittings, take your index and middle fingers and put them together. Now try to slide the two between your cheek and the helmet. If the fingers slide in, then the helmet might be too big. To check if it’s too small, try to talk with the helmet on. A tight helmet would not make it easy for the wearer to talk. If talking causes any pains or too much pressure on the face, then the helmet might be too tight.
Keep wearing the helmet for some time to make sure it is comfortable. A helmet should let the wearer talk and not cause any headaches. It should also let the wearer see clearly and breathe freely. Moreover, the buckles and the straps should not be pinching against the skin, making it painful to wear them. If any of this happens, then you should try another helmet.
Check The Fit
A fitting helmet would only slightly make you feel as if your head is under slight and very mild, evenly distributed pressure. It should neither be tight enough to cause any pains nor too loose that it wobbles on the head. Keeping this in mind, check the fit of your helmet. Make sure that it moves with your head and does not restrict any movements.
Wear The Helmet for Half an Hour
Give yourself half an hour with the helmet on your head before you buy it. In half an hour, you would be well aware if it is suitable for your needs. Change the helmet if it does not fit or if it is too tight around your head. Make sure it is very comfortable to wear despite the slight pressure from wearing something on your head. The helmet should also not feel too heavy on your head, or it would tire you out after some time.
Go For a Ride
The last thing to do before sealing the deal is to go for a ride. A test ride with the helmet would be the ultimate test of its suitability. With the ride, you would be able to tell if you can move your head around easily in the helmet while riding.
Moreover, it would also help you decide if you need a partial or full-face visor. You would be able to assess whether the helmet is appropriate for the road conditions you ride on. In case the road is smooth, you won’t expect a lot of debris, and you might go with glasses/goggles and opt for a visorless helmet. In case the roads are a little bumpy or have debris lying around, then your decision might change.
The drive would also help you decide whether you want the helmet with a low chin guard or a high chin guard, depending upon your speed.
You might encounter a few problems while looking for the perfect helmet. These are commonly faced and can be worked around easily.
Wearing Glasses and Helmet Together
A lot of riders might wear glasses for eyesight or for protection from the sun. This should not be a problem as most helmets have enough space to easily accommodate glasses.
Ears Fold while Wearing The Helmet
It is common that your ears fold while you put the helmet on. However, the ears need to regain their shape once your helmet is in position. If that is the case, then you need not worry. If your ears are still folded or pressed tightly against your head after you have worn the helmet, then you need to look for some other design.
If your protection pads or liners are not the best-suited, you might get them changed and customized. The problem with the pad may be that you might be allergic to the material or that the padding does not fit quite right to your head. Not all helmets allow making changes to the pads, but some do.
Road safety is not a trivial matter. Safety gear is necessary for riding a bike by law. The most important part of the gear is a helmet. It should be of the right size and appropriate fit. It should neither be too tight to cause pains and headaches nor too loose to topple off. It should be capable of providing protection under your intended use as well.