How to Measure Your Head for a Helmet

how to measure your head for a helmet

A helmet is the most important and most effective safety equipment you need to invest in as a biker. It could actually save your life. However, it can only provide that lifesaving benefit if it fits properly.

To get the best fitting for your helmet, you need to measure your head. This article will walk you through how to measure your head for a helmet and give you other tips to make sure your helmet fits properly.

How to Measure Your Head For A Helmet

Measuring your head for a helmet is a straightforward process. It is just like buying a perfectly fitted hat. The only difference is how the helmet fits.

The only tool you will need is a tape measure from a tailor or seamstress. Alternatively, you can use a cord or a non-elastic rope.

Step 1: Wrap The Head With Measuring Tape 

You will want to know the circumference of your head. Start by wrapping the measuring tape around the fullest part of your head, placing it flat half an inch above the eyebrows and ears — basically where the edge of your baseball cap would lie. Make sure the tape feels snug but not constricting.

Tip: Measure in centimeters, not in inches — smaller units means more accurate measurements.

meauring the head

head measurement

Step 2: Take Measurements to Determine Head Shape

head shapes

Measure your head length by bringing the measuring tape from your forehead to the fullest part of the back of your head. Then take your head width across the top of your head, from one ear to the other. The variance between the length and width of your head determines your head shape.

  1. The round oval is for a head that has an identical front-to-back side measurement. The side-to-side measurement is also the same.
  2. The long oval is shaped for a head that is longer from the forehead to the backside of the skull. The ear-to-ear length is not on the same level as the front to backside.
  3. Lastly, the intermediate oval is for a head that is slightly longer from the front to the back than it is from ear-to-ear. Most helmets fall into this category because it is one of the most popular head shapes. If the manufacturer does not specifically state the name, it is most likely an intermediate oval.

After determining the shape of the head, you can now filter the selections of motorcycle helmets and pick a more appropriate one.

Step 3: Compare The Result With The Sizes On The Manufacturer’s Site

Write down the exact measurement and compare it to the manufacturer’s size chart. Every manufacturer has a size chart so don’t assume it is a general chart. There may also be model-specific size charts. In most cases, there will be some variation between different models from one manufacturer.

How To Make a One-Size-Fits-All Helmet Fit Perfectly

Some helmet manufacturers claim to have helmets for all head sizes in one. It is usually larger rather than smaller, so you can adjust it to fit your head and face. Here are some tips to fit such a helmet.

Step 1: Adjust the Pads or Ring

Lots of helmets make use of a fitting ring instead of side pads to allow the rider to adjust it. These models for all head sizes require adjustment of the ring size. Others require a tighter ring for stability when it is placed on the head. Loosening the ring produces a sloppy fit, and you don’t want that.

There are helmets that fit with pads inside. They are designed with a set of foam fitting pads. If you have another set of thicker pads, you can use them to customize the shape of the helmet. For a start, you can remove the top pad or use the smallest ones. This reduces the weight of the helmet on your head and increases the protection on the sides. However, it may hinder the free flow of air a little, but it may not cause any discomfort.

Use thicker pads to adjust the fit pads on the side if you have a narrow head and there is space inside. You can also add thicker pads if you have a shorter head. It is possible to move pads around on the corners in both the back and front. This leaves some gaps to enhance airflow. The pad needs to touch all parts of your head evenly. After some time, the pads may begin to compress lightly, so just adjust accordingly

Your helmet should sit on the head and be well-balanced with the front above the eyebrows. This allows space for glasses if the rider uses them. It should also protect your face if you hit a wall. In this case, the helmet should receive the impact instead of your nose.

Step 2: Adjust The Helmet Straps

Place the helmet on and then ensure that the buckle is securely fastened. Also, make sure that the visor is at the front. Adjust it to the proper angle using the Eye-Ear-Mouth test. If you look up, you should be able to see the front rim clearly.

After positioning the helmet, adjust the rear strap length and the front straps. Adjust the chin strap length to make it comfortably snug. You should feel a stretch on the helmet if you open your mouth because the chin strap should be close to the chin. But if the strap cuts your chin, it means it is too tight — that’ll be uncomfortable.

Only a properly adjusted strap can help it stay on during a crash.

How To Check If Your Helmet Fits Properly

Before concluding that the helmet straps are properly fitted, shake your head to the sides violently. Place your palm under the helmet’s front edge and push it up and back.

Does the helmet move more than one inch from its place exposing your forehead? If it can move up, then you need to tighten the front ear straps. It may also help to loosen the strap in the rear behind the ear. The two straps must always meet below the ear. When this is done, reach again and attempt to grab the edge of the helmet. Does the helmet continue to move? If it does, tighten the rear strap.

The final check involves looking in the mirror or at the wearer if there is someone present to help. Push the helmet from one side to another and to the back. Watch the skin around your eyebrows to see if they move. Ideally, they should move slightly as the helmet moves. If the eyebrows do not move, it could mean that the fit pads are too thin either in the back or the front.

Why Should You Always Wear Helmets?

Motorcycles do not have any structural protection that cars and other vehicles do. There’s no frame to shield you, no airbags to cushion you, and no seat belts to keep you from flying through the air and crashing into something.

As a motorcyclist, you must take the necessary measures to protect yourself. The first way to do this is by protecting your head. The head, which houses your brain, is the most vulnerable part of the body during a crash. Riders wearing helmets can increase their chances of survival by simply using a helmet.

A full-face helmet also keeps the face and jaw safe from injuries. Even though facial injuries aren’t fatal, they can cause a lot of pain. They could also disfigure the rider and cost a lot of money to fix.

Understand the risk of riding your motorcycle without wearing a helmet: If you do not wear a helmet, you stand the risk of suffering traumatic brain injury if an accident occurs. Without adequate protection, the head is vulnerable to impact even at low speeds.

Final Thoughts

Wearing a helmet is a life-saving requirement and in some states, it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without them. But wearing a helmet won’t be of much use if it’s not the right size. On impact, the helmet could come loose and fly off if it is not your size.

This is why it’s extremely important to know how to measure your head for a helmet. That assessment of your head shape and measurement of your head circumference will go a long way in making sure your helmet fits well and does what it should.

    Joshua D. Mattie

    My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!

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