How to measure a helmet to make sure you get the right size

It could be dangerous if you don’t choose a helmet that fits properly – this is an important topic that most sellers of motorcycle equipment are silent about. Ignorance of the main points on how to measure your head to ensure the correct helmet size and the pursuit of momentary savings often leads to loss of money. Let’s look in detail how not to lose money when buying a new helmet.

Most likely, the question of measuring the size of a helmet is of interest to a beginner who buys a helmet for the first time or perhaps you just have not bought a new helmet for a long time. In any case, it will be useful for you to familiarize yourself with the material below.

Method №1. We measure the circumference of the head and select the appropriate size according to the manufacturers’ tables.

Step 1. First, you should measure the circumference of the head with a sewing measuring tape or steel soft measuring tape.

This is done very simply: over the ears, we measure the circumference of the head at its widest part (if there is no measuring ruler, use a string or a rope around the head, and then measure the resulting length with a ruler or yardstick). As a rule, you need to measure the head circumference at a distance of 0.6-1 inch above the eyebrows, slightly above the ears and at the point on the back of the head that gives you the longest circumference. Measure your head several times to avoid mistakes and find the maximum circumference.

Step 2. Now compare your result with the helmet sizes shown in the summary tables below.

Each helmet size corresponds to a certain head circumference in centimeters or inches. Since different manufacturers produce hard shells of completely different shapes and sizes, they can classify the sizes of their helmets in different ways. Below are tables of the sizes of helmets and the length of the head circumference, depending on the brand of helmet and manufacturer. If you are firmly convinced that you want to buy a helmet of a particular brand, for example, Arai or Shoei, see the corresponding table (or read the recommendations on the manufacturer’s website).

Arai Helmet Sizing

SIZEHEAD (CM)HEAD (INCH)
2XS51-5220 -20 1/2
XS53-5420 7/8 - 21 1/4
SM55-5621 5/8 - 22
MD57-5822 1/2 - 22 7/8
LG59-6023 1/4 - 23 5/8
XL61-6224 - 24 3/8
2XL63-6424 3/4 - 25 1/8
3XL65-6625 5/8 - 26

Vega Helmet Sizing

SIZEHEAD (CM)HEAD (INCH)
S55-5721 5/8 - 22 1/2
M57-5922 1/2 - 23 1/4
L59-6123 1/4 - 24

Shoei Helmet Sizing

SIZEHAT SIZEHEAD (CM)HEAD (INCHES)
XS6 5/8 - 6 3/453-5420 7/8 - 21 1/4
SM6 7/8 - 755-5621 5/8 - 22
MD7 1/8 - 7 1/457-5822 1/2 - 22 7/8
LG7 3/8 - 7 1/259-6023 1/4 - 23 5/8
XL7 5/8 - 7 3/461-6224 - 24 3/8
2XL7 7/8 - 863-6424 3/4 - 25 1/8
3XL8 1/8 - 8 1/465-6625 5/8 - 26

Icon Helmet Sizing

SIZEHAT SIZEHEAD (CM)HEAD (INCHES)
2XS6 3/8 - 6 1/251-5220 1/8 - 20 1/2
XS6 5/8 - 6 3/453-5420 7/8 - 21 1/4
SM6 7/8 - 755-5621 5/8 - 22
MD7 1/8 - 7 1/457-5822 1/2 - 22 7/8
LG7 3/8 - 7 1/259-6023 1/4 - 23 5/8
XL7 5/8 - 7 3/461-6224 - 24 3/8
2XL7 7/8 - 863-6424 3/4 - 25 1/8
3XL8 1/8 - 8 1/465-6625 5/8 - 26

Step 3. If you see that two sizes of helmets may suit you, it is preferable to focus on a smaller size. Moreover, some of the inner linings of helmets tend to wear out a little over time.

Step 4.When placing an order, ask the consultant how closely the size chart matches the actual characteristics of the product.

Often, consultants have information on the features of a particular model or brand of helmet. Also, read reviews about the store and the specific products in this store. Ask about the possibility of a return or exchange

When you order a helmet online and measure its size in this way, take into account the risks – the helmet may turn out to be too big or small and simply will not work for you.

Reasons why the helmet may not match the circle in size:

  • the manufacturer does not adhere to its size grid (rarely, but this happens even inexpensive price segments);
  • the shape of the head does not always coincide with the shape of the helmet (heads with the same circumference may have different shapes, for example, the helmet may not fit in height).

Method 2. Measure the equipment of a comrade.

If you are a rider, then most likely you have acquaintances and friends who also ride on motorcycles.

If you like your friend’s helmet, try on it (on the balaclava). Does it fit? Find out the size and safely order the same online!

Method 3. Measure the helmet you like in the motorcycle equipment store.

The longest on time, but the most accurate way to guess the size is to go to the store and try on the helmet there. As a rule, on the Internet you can find exactly the same product, but cheaper. So you can find a helmet that fits your size in your local motorcycle store and then order it cheaper.

So what is the best way to try on a helmet in a store?

  • Firstly, when you put on a helmet and fasten it, try shaking your head with short sharp movements in different directions. If the helmet easily moves around, then you chose the wrong size. It is unsafe and uncomfortable due to wind blowing, whistling and noise.
  • Secondly, try to get a finger between the head and the helmet in the temple or frontal area. If you can do it, you should most likely choose a smaller size.
  • Thirdly, take a closed and fastened helmet with one hand on the back of the head and try to shake it up and down or pull it off your head through the front. If a helmet easily moves back and forth, then this is not your size.
  • Fourth, if you feel strong pressure in the forehead and discomfort, you need to try on a larger size.
  • And lastly, after putting on a helmet, walk in it for at least ten minutes to assess the level of comfort and to understand if it puts a lot of pressure on your head.
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