Helmet Fitment

Hey guys, I’m James and welcome to Dime City garage.

Today I want to take a minute to talk about a rather serious topic that could save your life. Now, this is normally when I would insert a funny quip or a terrible pun, but I’ve been in the industry too long and I’ve seen the perils of someone who doesn’t take the gravity of helmet fitment to heart. First, we need to identify what kind of helmet that you want and here in order from better than nothing to as safe as you can be on two wheels we’ve got the half helmet, the three-quarter open face helmet and the safest, the full-face helmet.

The fitment requirements are relatively universal across the board, so for this video we’re going to focus on the full-face helmet while the three quarter is pretty cool for around town rides and offers a great esthetic that you can’t get with the other ones, the full-face is going to be the safest one. Now I’m a biker, not a judge and I’m always happy just to see a helmet on the rider’s head. With that said, the N.H.T.S.A. says that a full twenty percent of all motorcycle crashes involve the chin bar in some fashion. If I told you that you had a twenty percent chance of winning the lottery tonight how many tickets would you buy on the way home?

On to the fitment…. Why is it so important? For a helmet to do the best job that it can it needs to fit correctly. Not only does a proper fit ensure that the carefully designed impact areas stay where they’re supposed to do the most good, it also prevents buffeting at high speeds and possible visual impairment if the eye port is off center. A less technical but equally important benefit to a properly fitted helmet is simply that you’re going to want to wear it more if it feels good. A helmet can’t protect you if it’s not on your head.

We’re going to run with the safest option. The first step is to find out what size your head is. I use a sweet little retractable soft tape measure, but you can use a piece of string and measure that once you have your mark. When you have your number, usually in centimeters, you have a rough idea of your size. Helmet manufacturers don’t adhere to a standardized size range so just because you’re large in a Biltwell doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be large in a Bell. To confuse matters even more, size isn’t the only parameter to take into consideration, the shape of the shell and the number of available shell sizes also comes into play when finding a helmet that most comfortable for you.


Let’s say you’ve got a fifty-six-centimeter head like our mannequin here, you pick up a sweet helmet to try on. Your head goes inside so it fits – but does it really? Let’s look at a couple of easy tests you can perform to make sure that it’s a safe fit. The crown of the helmet should fit snugly but not create pressure points or hot spots. It should, however, attempt to stay on slightly when you try to lift the helmet off your head a little bit. Additionally, you want the eye port to sit just above the brow line that way you don’t get any sort of visual impedance up or down left or right. Finally, you want to make sure that there’s not much lateral movement. This is especially important to reduce buffeting at higher speeds which can really screw you up. An easy test too to make sure you’ve got the proper fit is to grab the chin bar with both hands and attempt to move your head left or right inside the helmet and again you want minimal lateral movement.

The cheek pads and to a lesser extent the helmet liner will break in a little bit after you’ve worn or for a while. In a new helmet you want the cheek pads to be snug. It should take a little bit of effort to chew gum in a brand-new helmet. If it’s loose when it’s new and comfortable it could be dangerous when it finally breaks in. If this is all new to you and your helmet has removable cheek pads, try taking them out. That way you can concentrate on the fit of the upper portion of the helmet and you can always reintroduce the cheek pads later to make a more informed decision on whether the helmet is right for you. This is where different sized liners come in handy. Some manufacturers offer a replacement liner, and this allows you to custom fit your helmet to a certain degree. Let’s say you’re a large but even after the break in period the cheek pads are still a little bit to snug. You can purchase a thinner set of cheek pads and maximize your comfort without compromising the fit.

Helmet technology has come a long way. You don’t need to spend a ton of money anymore to get a safe quality helmet. Just keep in mind that the hundred dollar special you might be looking at might not have all the amenities like removable cheek pads and washable liners that a higher end helmet might have. So, take your time, don’t be afraid to splurge a little bit, you’ve only got the one head and you’re worth it I promise. I want to thank you for watching, if you guys have suggestions for other videos you’d like to see be sure to drop us a line and we’ll see you next time in the Dime City garage.

(via Dime City Cycles)

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