Not Quite a Medium, Not Quite a Large... (Helmet Q)

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by JRose, May 21, 2013.

  1. JRose

    JRose Been here awhile

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    Sep 11, 2011
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    647
    Location:
    Birmingham, 'Murica
    So what would some of you guys with more experience do...?

    I land slap in the middle of a Medium and Large helmet. It seems to be the same no matter what helmet I try (less an Arai I tried on today that was a absolutely perfect fitting Medium, but it is slightly out of budget, and had a few other features I didn't like).

    I've never minded a little snug of a helmet until I spent a week on my bike for 10-12 hours a day, and it really started to annoy. With my Variant I swapped the cheek pads out for smaller ones and that helped a lot. The Mediums usually fit me perfect in the skull cap, but are just a little tight on the cheeks/jaw. The Large seems to fit fine on the skull cap as well, but just a little loose.

    I don't think the large is so big that it would be a problem moving around, just question if it gives up a lot of the safety aspect.

    So do most of you inbetweeners go with a little tight, or a little loose?
    #1
  2. Mobiker

    Mobiker Long timer

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    Location:
    Missouri
    My head measures right at 58.5 cm. In most brands this is halfway between a medium and a large. I've always gone for mediums figuring that they will loosen slightly in time. If a helmet is loose, it will not protect you as well as a properly fitted helmet. My two shoeis, an RF200 and an RF1000 both fit great in medium. I had an AGV in medium that felt fine until I did a multi day ride. By the start of the third day the skin behind my ears was so tender from the pressure on my glasses frames that I couldn't hardly stand to put it on.

    All that said I just spent almost 3 hours trying on various shoeis and Arais today in both medium and large. I ended up with a large Shoei GT Air. I hope it does not loosen up, but it simply felt the best for the 15 miunutes or so I wore it around the shop. I also liked the Arai RX-Q. It sounds like these may be out of your price range so just data points.

    The fit around the crown of your head is more important that the fit of the cheekpads. The cheek pads in most helmets can be easily replaced with different sizes, albeit at additional cost (some Arai's have cheek pads which can be adjusted slightly). There isn't much you can do about a poor fit around the crown.

    Also helmets have different shell shapes that vary from round to long ovals and everything in between.

    There is no simple answer. For example the Arai in an RX-Q large felt pretty good. The Arai Signet in large was immediately noticeable as being too big. Also, although I've worn a medium in Shoei's before, the medium in a GT Air was way too tight.

    You really need to go somewhere and try a bunch of helmets on, preferably with a sales person who knows what they are talking about. That's what I did today. I could have not bought the helmet today and then ordered from an online retailer and saved around $40 (sales tax). I like saving money, but helmet fit is so crucial to safety and comfort that I didn't do that. The lady spent almost 3 hours with me and knew what she was doing. I figured that was well worth $40.


    BTW the shop is Motorcycle Closeouts in Smithville, MO. They have a website, but also a brick and mortar store. I don't recall the woman's name, but she was way patient, with no pressure while I tried on the GT, a neotec, Signet in L and M, RX-Q in L and M, vector and corsair. In other words I had her fetching a lot of helmets. She was simultaneously helping another cutomer try on multiple helmets. She was cute too :raabia
    #2
  3. Urban Toreador

    Urban Toreador Banned

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    May 6, 2013
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    In winter you can wear a wool cap and silk in summer.
    #3
  4. Lounge

    Lounge Been here awhile

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    With most modern helmets there are only 2 or 3 shell sizes with the actual size determined by the thickness of the foam inserts. My suggestion would be go to a shop, buy the larger helmet and replace the looser elements of the helmet with thicker factory foam inserts. It's a little more expensive to get a 'custom' fit helmet but what price can you put on a life saving piece of equipment. Any good helmet person can get you dialed in.

    Additionally, some of the newer style helmets actually come with layers of foam (in several mm increments) that you can peel off layers after uncovering the fabric tweaking the fit here and there. Again, any trained helmet fitment person can get you dialed in. Bottom line, have a trained professional help get you started for a proper fit.

    Well worth the $$$.

    An added benefit of a properly fitting helmet is reduced wind noise. It takes a little trial and error to get it tweaked just right but well worth the time and investment.

    Happy hunting.
    #4
  5. JRose

    JRose Been here awhile

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    Sep 11, 2011
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    Location:
    Birmingham, 'Murica
    Thanks for the replies.


    I felt the same way as Mobiker. After all my helmet trying today I was left really liking the Shoei GT Air, and the Arai Signet. The Arai is considerably more, but I really like some of the features of the GT Air. The face shield having the strong detents at multiple positions is nice because in Alabama it's more often than not that I like to crack my shield to some degree a lot. I like the integrated sunshield as well because A: I don't have to carry sunglasses, and B: With snug fitting helmets I also find the sunglasses to start getting a little painful after a few hours. I also prefer the simple push to close on the face shield vs that little slide lock thing on the Arai.

    Most of these are subtle petty nitpicks, but I feel that's what you do when you decide to step up to high dollar kit... Especially something like a helmet or gear that you plan to spend a lot of time in.

    Around the crown they both feel pretty good, it's just the cheeks. I feel a little silly for not just going with the Arai due to probably having the best fit I've ever felt on a helmet. I suppose proper fit should trump all other, but outside of fit I really do prefer the features and nuances of the Shoei.

    I also considered the aspect of room for layers too. I rarely experience cold weather much lower than the '30's, and have always only worn a neck warmer and Under Armour "ninja hood" which is pretty thin, and been comfortable. Point being that I don't think I'll often need anything thicker like wool.

    I'm off work again Friday. Maybe I should go back and try to swap the cheek pieces between the large and the medium around and try on both again to see if that helps.

    Thanks for the help though. Good info
    #5
  6. JustRon

    JustRon ex-broadwayron

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
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    1,354
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    I wear a small Large, and have found some of the European brands to work best. However, my head is long-oval, so that makes things much more difficult. The two helmets I currently have are Uvex and Airoh, and they both fit well.
    However, the ones I have are not DOT... sometimes the case for euro brands (not always, though).
    #6
  7. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Shoei makes cheek pieces in various in-between sizes. Get the one that fits best on top and change the cheek pieces to suit.

    I've had my Shoei Qwest for 25 months now and it still fits my cheeks pretty firmly.
    #7
  8. CordR

    CordR Been here awhile

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    This is me also. With what I would say a skull that is somewhere between oval an long oval.

    I had the same dilemma. I previously had a M Shoei Hornet, but also felt it was a little snug. For street, I have a M Shoei Multitec and I like the fit of it. Something about the flip up may make it just a tad bigger.

    This past summer, I decided to try on a bunch of DS helmets and I finally settled on the Arai XD 4 in Large. A bit out of my price range, but I wanted the most comfortable helmet I could get and that seemed to fit the bill (or the skull) for me. It's a better fit than the Shoei was for me, and while I wouldn't say that I have hundreds of hours in it yet, it did not loosen on me like I had feared it would.


    Good luck with the choice. I sympathize with a fellow 'tweener.


    C
    #8
  9. JRose

    JRose Been here awhile

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    Well shit... Went back today and he measured my dome at 55.5cm. He's convinced I should be in a small! I tried a small Arai on with the cheek pieces removed, and it fit right around the crown, but I can't imagine how a Shoei small would work. The Arai has adjustable pads, but the Shoei would squeeze my cheeks to death.
    #9
  10. Mutnik

    Mutnik nOObish

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    May 9, 2013
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    In my case I found that head shape has much to do with fit. I have a roundish noggin and found the "round-oval" shape of the (discontinued) Arai Quantum to be just right with none of the fore and aft slop I got with other makes when sized so as not to squeeze too much side to side.
    Like others have said its best to try many styles and makes to see what works and then don't be too upset when you end up shelling out the shekels. You'll be wearing it a lot so its best to be comfy and safe.
    #10
  11. RogerWilco

    RogerWilco Been here awhile

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    Oct 11, 2011
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    I have always worn a size Med in Shoei helmets, but have had to use thinner cheek pads on a couple of them. Then I tried on an Arai Signet Q and discovered I could wear a size Small, keep the stock pads (which are width-adjustable), and be comfortable all day.
    I had never realized just how much the Shoei helmets shifted around when I rotated my head to one side until I experienced the rock solid Signet. It is in contact everywhere, doesn't get slammed to the side, yet is very comfortable to wear. I am the classic long oval head shape.
    The salesman helping me stated that practically everyone with this head shape will drop down one helmet size when wearing the Arai.
    Also, I have never needed to lock the shield down with the little sliding tab, as it stays closed under all conditions I've encountered. My guess is it's a track-related item for a bit more insurance when traveling at speeds I'll never attain. However, even with no detents on the sides, the shield will stay put at any degree it is raised, even when riding at 80mph. I find it to be easier to operate than the Shoei, which is a pleasant surprise, as I assumed the Shoei's detent system would be much superior.
    The Arai was out of my intended price range but fit so well I bought it anyway and decided to eat out less often for a while. It was the smart move in my case.
    And lastly, it vents better than any other helmet of my experience.
    Good luck with your hunt.
    #11