Proper Helmet Fit

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by GTARob, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. GTARob

    GTARob n00b

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    Sorry if this has been posted before, but a search for "Helmet Fit" didn't yield much.

    I went to a local shop, recommended by a friend who rides. I was measured and tried on a few helmets.

    My headsize is 59cm. In the Arai helmets that means I am at the lower end of the spectrum for a size Large helmet. I tried on a size L XD3 and it felt .. bad. It was very tight. I only wore the helmet for a few minutes before taking it off due to a headache coming on. The cheek pads were very tight as well. I've seen photos of folks wearing the XD3 and XD4, and its pretty obvious that their faces are getting a good squeeze from the helmet, but beyond that, the cheekpads on the helmet I was trying were pushing in below my jaw line to the point of choking me. Think of how it feels when a doctor feels on your throat when you have swollen tonsils. Now imagine the doctor doesn't like you. That's how tight it was.

    How snug is "snug"? Should the helmet be uncomfortable when you first buy it and let it break in? Should it be "just right" on the day of purchase? I tried an Arai XD3, Icon Variant and a Scorpion street helmet. All of them felt to tight at my size per the helmet manufacturers listed size guides. I'm going to try and find a shop that carries AFX helmets so I can give their DS helmet a try.

    Thanks for any help and advice.
    #1
  2. August West

    August West Wharf Rat

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    Arai offers alternate size liners and cheekpads.

    FWIW the first XD3 I tried on left me feeling as you did. No way can I wear this. It felt like there was a golf ball under the liner over my forehead.

    I got some good advice that said to take the cheekpads out and see if the helmet fits your head. The thinking was the tight cheekpads in the Arai could mask improper head fit.

    I ended up ordering the same size helmet I tried on in the shop and a thinner liner. When the helmet arrived it fit much closer to perfect than the floor model I tried on. Long story short: The helmet felt very tight out of the box. I decided to wear it for a couple of days. After a short period the helmet, with standard liner, feels like an extension of my head. Perfect! It packed out a bit more than I expected. I sent the thinner liner back.
    YMMV.

    Hope this helps.
    #2
  3. moggi1964

    moggi1964 Tiger Keeper

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    Don't worry overly about the cheek pads as already mentioned. You'll only look like a Chipmunk for so long before they bed in.

    Head shape is much more important and comfort there is what counts (no hot spots).

    I'm a 58cm and the Medium Arai was the right size for me; the Signet Q the right shape. You need to find the shape that works for you and try it on in both M and L I would suggest.

    Good luck.
    #3
  4. Transient

    Transient Adventurer

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    Yep. Different models of helmets have different internal shapes - it's important that they fit the crown of your head properly. Arai has long oval shaped helmets, while other Arai models are intermediate ovals and even coming close to round. I just tried on the Bell Star and RS1 - the Star is certainly more round, and thus less comfortable for me.

    One test is pulling the cheek pads out and seeing how it fits the crown of your head. That or waiting for a headache.
    #4
  5. lucas123

    lucas123 Been here awhile

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    I don't think L is your size, despite the measurement.

    Try XL in all of those.
    #5
  6. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    As others have mentioned the shape can vary.

    Arai actually has a "long oval" (longer than it is wide) and "round" and a "short oval" (wider than it is long).

    The XD helmets are the "long oval" shape. Which just might not be the right shape for your head. You may need something more round or more wide.

    Shoei tends to be more round/wide than long. So give those a try if you want the "dual sport" style helmet.

    With the exception of Arai offing different lids in different shapes you will just have to find the brand that fits your head best. Ultimately the helmet should be snug but comfortable when new. If its not comfortable, it's the wrong helmet. Don't try to force fit a helmet just because you like a particular look. I'm often surprised how many people seem to have certain helmets, especially when a couple shows us with matching ones:huh
    #6
  7. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    If the measurement is correct for the size then the shape is off. I wouldn't try to cure a bad shape by going to a larger helmet that will be loose in some other dimension. A wobbly helmet can be dangerous, noisy and fatiguing.
    #7
  8. moggi1964

    moggi1964 Tiger Keeper

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    The guy from Arai at the IMS in NYC said the measured size IS THE ONLY INDICATOR OF HELMET SIZE everything else is just shape and padding.

    I think telling him to try an XL is bad advice given that 59 is just into the Large size in an Arai. That advice may be appropriate for other makes who size differently. Of course, no harm in trying an XL in any make so long as the person selling it is skilled in identifying a poor fitting helmet but how do we vouch for that?

    Perhaps this will be helpful for the OP
    #8
  9. txwanderer

    txwanderer Been here awhile

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    Size is one component. Internal shape around the top is second, followed by the top to bottom shape. this can be adjusted with cheek pads to a point.

    Bottom line is it sounds like the helmet just doesn't fit (and never will) or you really need to find someone who knows how to fit a helmet. That person is worth the hunt. You may have to come to the fact that Helmet XXX isn't for you even though you want it to be.

    Find a good shop, get fitted, and worry about the helmet and options later. If it doesn't fit, it will be misery to wear and could actually cause harm if used for its intended purpose.

    Happy Hunting
    #9
  10. high dangler

    high dangler Been here awhile

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    if you can not slide a pair of glasses on after the helmet is on your head then imo its to small.
    IShoot for snug but not too snug
    #10
  11. Hosebag

    Hosebag Difficult but Useful

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    Not neccessarily a plug and I am in no way affiliated with them, but talk to the peeps at the Service Pavillion.

    They are likely the most knowledgeable folks out there when it comes to helmet fit, particularly Arai.

    I bought an XD3 last year and it was a highly satisfying experience. :D
    #11
  12. T

    T --------------

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    I'm also a 59cm. I have a large Arai XD-3, and Astal (pre-Vector). They are both perfect. I also have a RX-Q in large. I had to "compress" the foam in the forehead area to make it comfortable.

    It sounds like you might need to go to a different manufacturer if you have your sights set on a Dual Sport helmet. BTW- the AFX is a pretty big step down from the Arai....
    #12
  13. GTARob

    GTARob n00b

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    Thank you for the replies!

    I went out and tried on a few more helmet brands and bought an HJC street helmet. Non of the local stores that around me carried AFX it seems, or at least no one carried the AFX-39 I wanted. The street helmet fits me well, doesn't make me feel like my head is going to pop and will suffice while I learn to ride. When I start to learn more about off roading I'll pick up dual sport helmet.
    #13