How do I know my helmet size?

A motorcycle helmet is one of the most critical safety components that riders can wear to prevent injury in the event of a spill. They are a legal requirement in Australia.

There are a wide range of helmets available and it can be daunting to navigate if you are new to riding. They all vary in size and fit. Even for experienced riders, purchasing a helmet is usually only every so often. We are here to help get the right helmet for your head! Please read below and also get in touch with us if you have any questions at all.

Buying a motorcycle helmet online?

First and foremost, buying a helmet online is going to be more difficult than going into your local motorcycle store and purchasing one off the shelf. Physically trying on helmets is going to be the most accurate way of determining the best size and fit for you. Obviously this cannot be done online. We hope that after reading this article you will have some knowledge to make a judgment on which helmet to go for!

Helmet Sizing

Helmets are graded in size using alpha sizing. ie. Extra Small(XS), Small(S), Medium(M), Large(L) and Extra Large(XL). On the extreme ends, XXS and up to 6XL helmets are available. Many brands will make varying shell sizes to accomodate sizes. As the head gets larger, larger shell sizes will be available to accomodate but some sizes will overlap with the same shell size. The cushioning pads on the inside of the helmet is used to tune sizing for different head sizes.

How do I know my size?

Measure your head. To do this you will need someone to assist you with a soft measuring tape. Ask your assistant to measure the circumference of your head at the widest part. You want the measuring tape to wrap around your head at around 3 centimetres above your eyebrows.

Please note that the below is an example of helmet sizing. Most manufacturers will size based on the below table but some variations are possible.

53cm – 54cm 
55cm – 56 cm
57cm – 58cm
59cm – 60cm
61cm – 62cm
63cm – 64cm
65cm – 66cm
67cm – 68cm
69cm – 70cm 

What is helmet shape?

Now the difficult part. The size measurement you just did is an indication of the circumference of your head. It does not take into account the shape of your head. Humans come in all shapes and sizes, so the head follows suit. Two people could have a 56cm head size but may have drastically different shapes which will affect which helmet will fit. Each manufacturer and helmet model will have a particular shape and one may suit your head better than another. There are 3 main shapes. 

1. Round Oval

2. Intermediate Oval

3. Long Oval 

To determine your size, you will need to use your own judgement. Towards which shape head are you closer to? You can also ask someone to take a photo of your head from the top view so that you can get a better idea from that perspective. This is an important aspect of sizing to determine as getting the correct helmet shape for your head can dramatically improve comfort and safety.

Women/Female motorcycle helmet sizes?

The vast majority of motorcycle helmets are unisex. All of the above information on measuring and helmet shape are still applicable. In our experience, average women will fit a small or extra small helmet size. While this is very blanket statement, it may give you ladies out there some reference. We have very rarely needed to fit up ladies in a large or extra large helmet.

How should a well fitting helmet 'feel'?

When a helmet fits correctly, the top of the eye opening should naturally sit around 3cm above your eyebrows. If the helmet is too big, you will find the helmet will sit too low and this can affect your visibility in certain angles. You should never need to lift your head to improve visibility. 

When the helmet is too small, it will sit 'on top' of your head and you will not feel the head liner cupping your skull. You may also feel pressure points or 'hard bits' on certain parts of the your skull. Most commonly the sides above your ears and the front forehead. 

A good fitting helmet should feel snug everywhere. No part of the head should feel loose on the inside. When shifting the helmet around, you should feel your skin moving with the helmet rather than the internal pads moving independently across your face and head. Your cheeks being all squished up may not look cool but it is how it should be as long as it is not uncomfortable. You need to keep in mind that brand new helmets have not yet been broken in. They will compress and mould to your face with some time and fit even more comfortably in future. 

Leave them helmet on. Let it sit for a while and see if there are any pressure points. If not, it is fine. A good question to ask yourself: Can you imagine wearing the helmet for 2 hours when you go on a big ride? The helmet should be a nice firm fit but not uncomfortable.

Helmets are safety items so fit is very important. A cool looking helmet or one that you find at a great discounted price may be tempting but it would not be a wise decision to purchase solely based on those factors. Fit should be your priority. 

We are here to help. If you have any other questions about helmet fitment, just get in touch with us. Better yet, come into our Melbourne showroom and we will help determine the best size for you.