Fitting a Motorcycle Helmet (Same Process as MotoGP Racers)

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Find the perfect size helmet for your head from all the popular brands with the tool below. Beats a motorcycle helmet size chart! 

Are we missing a manufacturer? Leave a comment and we’ll add it.

Finding that Perfect Fit

Finding the perfect motorcycle helmet is like finding your soulmate. That perfect fit is crucial for your comfort and enjoyment riding, and even more important for safety than who you pick as your soulmate (unless you’re dating a woman in South America). So buckle up, buttercup, we’re about to dive into the world of head measuring and helmet shapes to help you find that dreamy helmet.

This follows the same process MotoGP racers use to fit their own helmets – you know, the guys blasting 200 mph down a track and touching knees in every corner? Those nutcases. 

How to Measure Your Head for a Motorcycle Helmet

Let’s get one thing straight: For a helmet to work its magic, it needs to be snug. Snuggier than you think. Remember, helmets only get looser with time, so tighter beats looser off the rack. Plus, who wants a loose, noisy, drafty helmet ruining their ride? 

As someone who knows a thing or two about motorcycle gear, I can tell you that a loose helmet is risky business. A snug fit is crucial to prevent your brain from bouncing around like a pinball in an arcade game.

Unfortunately, most people buy helmets too big for their head. Because they haven’t read this article. Don’t be that person. 

Get your Measuring Tape – We’re Starting

Alright, champ, time to break out the measuring tape. If you don’t have a tailor’s measuring tape, a piece of string and a standard tape measure will do the trick. Grab a friend (preferably one with a steady hand) and have them measure around the crown of your head. 

Start just above your eyebrows and go just above the tops of your ears. This is where your head is widest, and that’s the magic number we’re after. Forget about the cheeks – they don’t count here.

This number, in centimeters or inches, is what you’ll put in the calculator above. 

On to head shape. 

What Shape is my Head? 

Unfortunately “round” won’t cut it here. Believe it or not, heads come in different shapes. 

When it comes to helmets, we’ve got three main contenders:

  1. Intermediate Oval: The most common in the USA, UK, and Australia, this head shape features a slightly longer front-to-back measurement than side-to-side.
  2. Long Oval: Designed for the elongated head that’s longer from front to back than from side to side.
  3. Round Oval: Made for the melon with nearly identical side-to-side and front-to-back measurements.

To find out which category you belong to, grab that friend again. Have them take a photo of the top of your head, with the camera pointing straight down. Flatten your hair as much as possible.

Next, compare your headshot with pictures on websites like Revzilla, which show helmet shape compatibility. 

Tip: You can filter helmets by head shape on Revzilla. Quick links for your convenience: Intermediate Oval, Long Oval,Round. Pick your head shape and shop to your heart’s content, knowing you’re browsing the right lids.

The Real Helmet Test: Trying it On

So, you’ve measured your head, determined your shape, and picked out a helmet that looks right. But now, it’s time for the real test: trying it on. Let’s make sure that dreamy helmet is also a dream fit.

Slide that baby on and secure the chinstrap. You can pull the chin straps wider to fit your head in, but it should be a bit of a struggle to get on. Don’t worry, the padding will soften over time.

You should feel firm, even pressure around your head without any pain or uneven pressure points. Remember, helmets only get looser, not tighter. Here are some tests to check the fit:

Finger Test: Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to slip a finger between your forehead and the padding. But, if you push the helmet forward with one hand on the back, you should be able to slide a pinky up about a half inch (1 cm) – no more!

Mirror Test: Check yourself out in the mirror. Your eyes should be right in the middle of the eye port. Eyes are too high? Helmet is too big. Too low? Helmet is too small. Adjust the helmet size accordingly.

Movement Test: Forget grabbing the chin bar and yanking; that’s not realistic. Instead, clasp the helmet over your ears and try to move your head around. Your cheeks should stay locked into the pads, and you shouldn’t be able to move much. If you can get an eye to the edge of the eye port, that helmet is too big!

Time Test: If you had the helmet delivered to you, wear it around the house for 30 minutes to see if any pressure points or pain develop. If you’re in a store, browse other gear with the helmet on to get a feel for the fit. If the staff doesn’t let you do this, it might be time to find a new store.

Chipmunk Cheeks Test: Open your mouth and slowly bite down again. If you’re not biting the inside of your cheeks just a little bit, that helmet (or just the cheek pads) is too loose. More on replacing cheek pads below. 

Now that’s a good fitting helmet. Chipmunk cheeks is what you want to see.

If you feel uneven pressure, you might need a different model or brand, not just a different size. For example, if you’re trying an intermediate oval helmet and feel more pressure on the front and back of your head, you might need a long oval. On the other hand, if the pressure is more on the sides, you might need a neutral or round shape. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands and models to find your perfect match. 

For less common head shapes: Check out Arai (like the Signet-X) or Icon for  long oval (all long oval lids here) and Biltwell or AGV for round helmets (all round lids here). 

Tip: See all the best helmets with built in communications and entertainment here.

Customizing Helmet Fit

There are a few ways to customize helmet fit if you’re 90% there with a lid you love. Just do not do this at home. Trust someone who does these mods every day, like the manufacturer or a retail store. Many will do this completely free of charge. 

Walk in to your local Cycle Gear or other gear shop and explain how the fit isn’t matching up. They’ll be able to help. 

Switching out cheek pads is even easier: Many helmet manufacturers sell cheek pads with less or more foam in them than is standard, so check Revzilla and pick up a new pair. Some brands – like Scorpion EXO – even sell cheek pads with air pumps giving a snug, custom fit even after pads soften over time. 

The cheekpads in my Shoei are showing their age and ready for replacement.

Motorcycle Helmet Size Chart

Looking for a size chart like below? I’ll do you one better. Use the tool at the top of this page to get your motorcycle helmet size no matter your age, region, or preferred brand. 

  • Motorcycle helmet size chart UK
  • Motorcycle helmet size chart US
  • Motorcycle helmet size chart Australia
  • Motorcycle helmet size chart by age
  • Motorcycle helmet size chart for Shoei
  • Motorcycle helmet size chart for Arai
  • Motorcycle helmet size chart for any brand…

Common Helmet Fit Problems and FAQs

Pain or redness at temples or forehead?

Experiencing pain or redness after wearing your helmet for just a few minutes? Hold up, partner! Pain is a no-go. While padding will wear in, pain likely comes from the EPS foam, which doesn’t soften. Go for snug, not painful.

Is the helmet too tight?

Pain and uneven pressure are red flags. If the helmet is too tight, try adjusting the padding or size. Remember, you want snug, but it should still be comfortable.

Is the helmet too loose?

No loosey-goosey helmets allowed! If your helmet is too big, size down. A properly fitting helmet is crucial for safety.

Can’t figure out your head shape?

Having trouble nailing down your head shape? Grab a friend, take a top-down photo of your head with your hair flattened, and compare it to reference images online. Once you’ve got your head shape figured out, shop for helmets designed for that specific shape on Revzilla: Intermediate Oval, Long Oval, Round

Struggling to put the helmet on?

Feels like you’re wrestling with your helmet to get it on? First, try opening up the neck roll by spreading the helmet wide using the chinstrap. If it still feels too small, consider sizing up.

My ears fold up inside the helmet!

Got your ears folded in your helmet like a piece of origami? Fret not! Adjust your helmet’s fit by gently pulling down the sides while putting it on. If that doesn’t work, consider trying a different model or brand with more room around the ears.

Do glasses or sunglasses affect helmet fit?

Absolutely! When trying on helmets, make sure to wear your glasses or sunglasses to ensure they fit comfortably with your helmet. Some models even have built-in grooves for eyewear.

Can you change the size of a motorcycle helmet?

Yes, many manufacturers and stores offer customization options, like thicker or thinner pads. Schuberth is known for offering a variety of different padding thicknesses as add-ons. Just don’t DIY cutting in to foam and whatnot – you could compromise the helmet’s safety.

Are motorcycle helmet sizes standard across brands?

Nope, sizes vary between brands. That’s why it’s essential to try on different models and use the fit calculator on this page to find the perfect helmet for your noggin no matter the brand.


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