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How to Size & Fit a Bike Helmet

By Annette 2 years agoNo Comments
Choose to get Better…get the protection you pay for with a good quality  bike helmet that fits and is adjusted correctly to your head
…so you and your family can SMILE when you ride

We all have different size heads so you can’t just guess size, you need to get a helmet that fits, not something that will just do.  Understanding how to size & fit a bike helmet is a really important part of your bike riding experience.  It will only work correctly if its the right size and it fits properly.

Note that for the majority of people, your head has done most of its growing by the time you reach 6 years of age.  After this it may change shape as your face matures but it won’t increase in circumference dramatically.  This means whenever you buy a helmet after the age of 6 you can expect to get good use out of it.  It should need replaced from wear & tear rather than growing out of it.  For this reason we recommend buying the best your budget will allow as it will be a good investment.

For information on sizing & fitting a Kids Helmet

Helmet Size

To get the right size helmet you must measure.  To do this place a tape measure around the head 1cm above the eyebrows and make sure the tape is level all the way around the head. Take the measurement in centimetres.  If you don’t have a tape measure use string or wool then lie this along a ruler.

Now match that head circumference (measurement) to the correct helmet size…

Helmet

Head Circumference

Used For

Solution

Bell Local Unisex

Small, 51 to 55cm

Medium, 55 to 59cm

Large, 59 to 61.5cm

Town/urban riding

Bike Path

Bell Nomad Unisex

One size, 53 to 60cm

Town

Bike Path

Easy Mountain Bike

WOMENS

Giro Cartelle

MENS

Giro Chronicle

Small, 51 to 55cm

Medium, 55 to 59cm

Large, 59 to 63cm

Town/Commute

Bike Path

Road

Mountain Bike

Tour

WOMENS

Giro Montara

MENS

Giro Montaro

Small, 51 to 55cm

Medium, 55 to 59cm

Large, 59 to 63cm

X-Large, 61 to 65cm

Mountain Bike

Bike Packing/Tour

WOMENS

Bell Full Face

MENS

Bell Full Face

Small, 52 to 56cm

Medium, 55 to 59cm

Large, 58 to 62cm

Technical/Advanced Mountain Bike

Bike Packing/Tour

Bell DH Unisex

Small, 52 to 56cm

Medium, 55 to 59cm

Large, 58 to 62cm

Downhill Mountain Bike

Advanced Mountain Bike

Bell Stratus Unisex

Small, 52 to 56cm

Medium, 56 to 59cm

Large, 59 to 62cm

Beginners to intermediate Road Riding

On Road Bike Touring

Adjustment of the Helmet to Fit Your Head

Once you have the right sized helmet. Job done…. No!  That bike helmet will not perform and protect your head unless

  1.  the straps are adjusted and fitted correctly
  2.  if the helmet uses different thicknesses of pads for fit (like a town helmet) you need to use the correct thickness of pads to get the optimal fit to the shape of your head
  3.  the occipital dial or slide is tightened

IT IS ESSENTIAL YOU TAKE THE TIME TO ADJUST THE HELMET TO FIT YOUR HEAD. THERE IS TOO MUCH RISK IN NOT DOING THIS PROPERLY… A HELMET WILL ONLY WORK CORRECTLY IF FITTED CORRECTLY.

STRAPS

There are different straps on different helmets but most commonly you have 2 straps attaching to each side of the helmet that come together forming a ‘V’ below the ears and are secured under the chin.

Adjust using the 2v2 rule.

  • 2 – the helmet should sit level on the head. The front of the helmet should sit no more than 2 finger breadths above the eyebrows.
  • v – the side straps make a V with the adjustable clip forming the bottom of the V just below the ear lobe.
  • 2 – you should be able to get a maximum of 2 fingers under the chin strap when fastened. The straps should not be twisted

PADS

A town style helmet often comes with two sets of pads, one thicker than the other.  Usually these pads are secured by velcro sticking to inside surfaces of the helmet shell.  You can take advantage of the pads to create a good match to the shape of your head.  This is important in town helmets that often have a single chin strap so need to have a firm fit onto the head.  Detachable and washable pads are ideal especially if you tend to sweat.

 

DIAL/SLIDE

Found at the back of helmets where your head meets the very top of your neck – this dial/slide when tightened or screwed in will secure the back of the helmet to the head.  It can be hard to find this feature in the cheaper helmets.

Now a quick pre-ride check , yes a helmet check that you do before every ride

  1. is it level – around the head, no tilting
  2. is it low – sitting just above the eyebrows
  3. is it snug – does it fit snug not tight on your head, are the v clips snug below your ears and is the chin strap snug under your chin
  4. is it stable – use the palm of your hand to check forward, backward, side to side movement, the movement should be no greater than 2cm

 

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Thanks for reading.  Used together our stories, resources & products support you to develop & achieve as a rider.

Related Resources:

How to Size & Fit a Kids Bike Helmet

Bike Helmet Buying Guide

 Bike Helmet Shop Page

We help you to find your riding smile.  Now it’s your turn….Contact us with your thoughts, comments or feedback and make us smile.

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