How to Size a Motorcycle Helmet (Head Shape for You)

Choosing a helmet & know how to size a motorcycle helmet, and especially when it involves one meant for motorcycle riders, isn’t as simple as people often think.
Usually, riders make the mistake of buying any helmet as long as they fit and have a paint job that is favorable to their taste.
What they don’t realize is that while the size might be important, they need to find a helmet that would actually work to protect their heads in case of accidents. And for that, you should start by knowing how to size a motorcycle helmet.

How to Size a Motorcycle Helmet

What is Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is a protective headgear worn by motorcyclists to protect their head and brain from injuries during a crash or an impact. It consists of an outer shell made of various materials like fiberglass, polycarbonate, or carbon fiber and an inner liner made of expanded polystyrene foam that absorbs the energy of impact.

The helmet is designed to cover the entire head and often features a chin strap to secure it in place. It also has a visor that protects the rider’s eyes from wind, dust, and debris. Motorcycle helmets come in various shapes, sizes, and styles, and they must comply with specific safety standards established by regulatory bodies such as the Department of Transportation (DOT) or the European Union’s Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).

Why do I Need a Good-Fitting Helmet?

Just because a helmet fits your head, doesn’t mean that it’s the right size for you because it might end up being too wide or narrow for your head and thus doesn’t provide the best safety measures.

The best helmet that would ultimately provide maximum head protection would be the one that is compatible with your head dimensions and figuring this out is a crucial step to finding one.

Whenever the helmet is subjected to an impact, the impact-absorbing liner is designed to withstand such forces.

However, if the gap between the helmet and your head is big, your own safety gear could be a hazard to you as it would hit you hard in case of an impact.

On the other hand, if the helmet is too tight, the gap between it and your head could be at its minimum making the entire system uncomfortable.

Eventually, you wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the road because your helmet serves as a distraction as you’re trying to adjust it.

A good-fitting helmet would prevent the above problems from occurring, thus, giving the safety device ample space to provide maximum protection on the road. Therefore, you are required to choose the right helmet and the first step would be to figure out how to size a motorcycle helmet appropriately.

It’s not as hard as you may think because, with the right steps, one can find the best helmet that is specifically suitable for their heads.

The Following are Steps on How to Size a Motorcycle Helmet

We also have a detailed review on how to measure head for a helmet in case if you want to check that out!

Step #1: Choose Your Helmet Style

There are many options when it comes to motorcycle helmets and these can be overwhelming for a rider looking for the perfect solution.

However, one should know that there are usually five basic types of motorcycle helmets available.  The following is a brief introduction to these various types of motorcycle helmets.

Open Face Helmets

These types of helmets are considered the least restrictive as well as the least protective motorcycle helmets in the market.

The name was derived from the design of the helmet because the shell doesn’t cover the riders face nor chin and, thus, allowing a significant amount of airflow onto the rider’s face.

It could also be half the normal helmet which only covers the top of your skull and is held onto the head by straps. Similarly, it can also be a helmet that covers every other part of the head except for the face of the rider.

Normally, these helmets tend to be less expensive than other types of helmets and carry fewer features with them. They are typically worn by riders on retros, classics, or even cruisers.

Full Face Helmets

These types of helmets are entirely different to open face helmets as they cover the rider’s face completely.

They serve as a face shield protecting every part of the rider’s face like the nose, mouth, and eyes. There is even an extension of the shell known as the chin-bar that covers the chin or bottom of the rider’s face.

However, full-face helmets tend to be poorly ventilated, but also the most protective helmets available. They also eliminate all the background noise as well as the one from the bike making it the most silent helmet around.

This feature allows the rider to concentrate on the road without any noise as a distraction. You would find full-face helmets around many race tracks as well as every kind of street bike.

ADV Dual Sport/Adventure Helmet

On the other hand, if your motorcycle takes you on and off the road, then you would have to consider the ADV Dual Sport or Adventure helmet.

These helmets combine features that are suitable for riders on the streets who also maneuver off-road to the trail in a single ride.

When on the street the ADV helmet provides an effective face shield as well as street-legal safety on the highway and a sufficient mask for the eyes on dirt roads. They also come installed with lots of ventilation and compatibility with goggles.

If your motorcycle adventures are based on both the road and dirt, then there may not be a worthy helmet as compared to the ADV Dual Sport helmet. It offers maximum protection in various environments that your bike can run on.

Modular Helmets

Modular helmets are a sub-type of full-face helmets that use a hinged mechanism in order to swing the chin bar and face shield out whenever the rider hits the release button and the helmet would be transformed from a full face to an open-face one.

Such modularity is what gave the helmet the name. Modular helmets allow the rider to choose between the open face and full-face helmets.

This way, they can enjoy the benefits and protection of both helmet types depending on their preference and the road they’re using. They are especially popular with the commuter and touring crowds.

Half Shell Helmets

These types of motorcycle helmets only cover the top of the rider’s head and area from their foreheads to the brows.

Some of them tend to offer a little more cover at the back of your neck as well as ears but leaves the rest of your face exposed.

They are also well ventilated but offer significantly less head protection as compared to full face or open face helmets.

Furthermore, most of these helmets don’t come with face shields and, thus, requiring you to buy your own goggles for eye protection.

Step #2: Determine Head Shape and Size

After knowing the type of environment you’ll be riding your motorcycle, you’d also figure out the perfect helmet suitable for you.

Therefore, you would now be required to find out your head shape. There are normally three basic head shapes in which almost everyone fits into and they include:

Long Oval

The shape of a long-oval head is usually longer front-to-back instead of side-to-side.

Intermediate Oval

The helmet with this kind of shape would be slightly longer from side-to-side rather than front-to-back and is usually the most common of shapes.

Round Oval

This head shape is almost equal side-to-side as it is front-to-back.

To find out your head shape, you could ask a friend to take a photo of it from above. You would.

However, need to flatten your hair as much as possible because this tends to obscure the original shape of your head. Before you move on to sizing, check carefully to be sure which shape your head falls into.

Once you’ve confirmed whether it’s long and thin, round, or somewhere in between, then you can move on to measuring its circumference appropriately.

Step #3: Determine the Circumference of Your Head

You can take a measuring tape, wrap it around your head just above your eyebrows ensuring that it lays flat against your head.

Doing this alone can be difficult at times and, thus, you are advised to let a friend or family member help out to make the results more accurate. You can also opt to use a mirror in case there is nobody around to assist with the task.

You should take more than one measurement and when it comes to decision making, always settle for the biggest value. This is because the biggest value would accommodate the best fit for a how-to size a motorcycle helmet.

Step #4: Trying on the Helmet

Once you’ve settled for the best helmet that meets your taste and serves your much-needed protection requirements, you should try it on and see if it fits comfortably.

This ensures that the helmet is capable of protecting all the vital organs on your head in case of an impact or accident. Put the helmet on and shake your head front as well as sideways.

If the helmet happens to wobble in either of the two directions, then it might not be the right one for you.

Also, try putting your hand on the helmet and twist it. If it happens to turn freely on your head even, then it might be loose. Remember, while fitting helmets, just because it’s tight, doesn’t mean that it is the best fit.

It might even cause more harm to you if there is entirely no space between your head and the shell of the helmet.


Q: Why is it important to wear a properly sized helmet while riding a motorcycle?

A: A properly sized helmet is crucial to your safety while riding a motorcycle. It is designed to absorb the impact of a crash, protecting your head and brain from serious injury. If your helmet is too loose or too tight, it will not be able to perform its intended function and may even increase your risk of injury in a crash.

Q: How do I determine the correct size of a motorcycle helmet?

A: To determine the correct size of a motorcycle helmet, you should measure your head circumference at its widest point, usually just above your eyebrows and ears. You can then compare your measurement to the size chart provided by the helmet manufacturer to find the appropriate size.

Q: Can I just buy a helmet based on my hat size?

A: No, you should not buy a helmet based on your hat size. Helmets are designed to fit differently than hats, and using your hat size as a reference can result in an improperly fitting helmet.

Q: Should I try on a helmet before buying it?

A: Yes, it is highly recommended that you try on a helmet before purchasing it. Even if you have measured your head circumference and found the appropriate size according to the size chart, different helmet models and brands may fit differently. Trying on a helmet will allow you to ensure a proper fit and determine whether the helmet is comfortable enough to wear for an extended period of time.

Q: How should a properly sized helmet fit?

A: A properly sized helmet should fit snugly on your head without being too tight. It should not move around on your head or shift when you move your head. The helmet should also be level and sit squarely on your head, with the chinstrap securely fastened.

Q: What if I am in between two helmet sizes?

A: If you are in between two helmet sizes, you should try on both sizes and choose the one that fits snugly without being too tight. If the smaller size feels too tight or uncomfortable, you should choose the larger size. It is important to remember that different helmet models and brands may fit differently, so you should always try on a helmet before purchasing it.

Q: Can I wear a helmet that is too big or too small?

A: No, you should not wear a helmet that is too big or too small. A helmet that is too big may shift or come off in a crash, while a helmet that is too small may be uncomfortable to wear and not provide adequate protection. It is important to find a helmet that fits properly to ensure your safety while riding a motorcycle.

Final Thoughts

Riding a motorcycle can be very exciting as it is exhilarating. However, it also carries with it many risks that you are required to protect yourself against and a helmet is the most recommended measure.

So take your time when it comes to finding out how to size a motorcycle helmet in order to get maximum protection out of your choice.

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