Motorcycle Helmet Size: How To Choose The Right One

Motorcycle helmets protect your head if something goes wrong while riding your motorcycle. However, wearing a helmet sometimes doesn’t look as appealing, especially if they’re too big or dorky. So, how do you know if you have the correct motorcycle helmet size?

Helmets have many layers and are supposed to look huge to protect your head in the event of a crash. Getting the right size is crucial to ensure that your brain is well-protected. But, while they’re supposed to look big, yours may look too big since it’s the wrong size for your head.

With that, do you know if the helmet you’re wearing is made for you? Keep on reading as we share some tips on how to choose the correct size to help with your purchase.

How to Know If You Have a Small Motorcycle Helmet Size

Some motorcyclists don’t like the bulkiness of some helmets that’s why they tend to go down a size. If you follow this route, make sure that it still gives the same protection without being too tight and uncomfortable.

Here are ways to tell if your motorcycle helmet is too small:

You Feel Tightness While Wearing It

When wearing a motorcycle helmet for the first time, make sure it’s a bit loose to allow for some movement. This means it shouldn’t feel tight around the cheeks.

A model is too small if you can’t move your head sideways or up and down even while the strap is loose. Moreover, we also don’t recommend buying loose headgear. It will only move around even when the strap is tightened and may come off in a crash.

You Have Pressure Points

Do you feel any discomfort or pain while wearing the helmet? You’ll certainly have this issue if you picked a small motorcycle helmet size.

Any pressure point discomfort on the sides means the helmet is both too small and too oval. Meanwhile, pain in the back of your head along the base of your helmet means it’s too short. Try wearing it for at least 30 minutes indoors before riding to see if it feels fine.

You Have a Red Forehead

Many riders claim having a red forehead is normal after wearing a new motorcycle helmet. However, this isn’t true. Having a red forehead is a clear sign of wearing the wrong headgear for your head shape.

This is something many new riders face because of a lack of experience. If you wear a round-oval helmet despite having an intermediate-oval head, you’ll surely get a red forehead. While you may reshape the interior foam for a better fit, you may interfere with the design and other features.

What are the Different Helmet Shapes?

Helmet shapes are more significant than you think. You should first consider the shape of your head and match it with the correct helmet shape.

Motorcycle helmets shapes can be divided into three:

  • Long-oval helmets – these are perfect if your head is longer from the forehead to the back.
  • Round-oval helmets – for people whose head is as long from the back to the front and from left to right.
  • Intermediate-oval helmets – intermediate-oval is the most common head shape, which is why most helmets fall under this category. These helmets are slightly longer from the back to the front than they are from left to right.

How to Measure Your Head for the Right Motorcycle Helmet Size

Now that you’re aware of your head shape, finding that perfect helmet becomes a lot easier. Since every head is unique, we suggest trying on as many brands and models as you can. Remember that you’re looking for a snug fit with no pressure or painful areas.

Also, the helmet must sit evenly on the head. It should leave some room for peripheral vision so you can see what’s in front and on each side.

Make sure that the forehead and the cheeks fit snugly. There should be no gap between your forehead and the brow pads. While wearing your helmet, take two fingers and fit them into the helmet. If they fit too easily and there’s space for more than two fingers, the helmet is too big. If it fits but feels too snug, some helmets let you change the cheek pads for a better fit.

Grab a tape measure and do the following:

Measure the Widest Part of Your Head

Run the tape measure around the widest part of your head, around ¼ to ½ inches above the eyebrows.

If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can use a string instead. Make sure to pull it tight because if it has any flex in it, you won’t get the correct measurement. You can then use a ruler to take note of its length.

Match Your Measurement to the Motorcycle Helmet Size Chart

After measuring, you can look at the sizing chart to check the result. Each model has its own size chart, which you can find on the product information page. Size charts normally include the following details: the size, hat size, and the head measurement range in centimeters or inches.

A motorcycle helmet sizing chart for adults looks something like this:


SizeHat SizeHead Circumference
XS6 5/8 – 6 ¾20.87 – 21.26 inches (53 – 54 cm)
S6 7/8 – 721.65 – 22.05 inches (55 – 56 cm)
M7 1/8 – 7 ¼22.44 – 22.83 inches (57 – 58 cm)
L7 3/8 – 7 ½23.23 – 23.62 inches (59 – 60 cm)
XL7 5/8 – 7 ¾24.02 – 24.41 inches (61 – 62 cm)
2XL7 7/8 – 824.8 – 25.2 inches (63 – 64 cm)
3XL8 1/8 – 8 ¼25.6 – 26 inches (65 – 66 cm)
4XL8 3/8 – 8 ½26.4 – 26.8 inches (67 – 68 cm)
5XL8 5/8 – 8 ¾27 – 27.5 inches (69 – 70 cm)


SizeHead Circumference
Small19.15 – 19.50 inches (49 – 50  cm)
Medium20.10 – 20.45 inches (51 – 52  cm)
Large20.87 – 21.26 inches (53 – 54 cm)

Look for the Ideal Shape

Again, your helmet’s shape is just as important as the size. Therefore, make sure that it fits snugly without causing any discomfort or painful pressure points on your head.

Choose a Helmet Type

There are many types of helmets available to suit your needs. The three most common ones include:

  • Full-face helmets – their main advantage is that they protect your entire head and not just the top. Plus, they offer better protection from the sun, rain, wind, bugs, and other kinds of debris. They can limit airflow to your face, though, which can be a huge disadvantage in warmer weather.
  • Open-face helmets – the biggest advantage of these helmets is that they give you the ability to hear. So, in case of an accident, you may hear screeching tires and be warned. They also allow airflow to your face in the summer. But, compared to full-face helmets, their main disadvantage is that your face is not as protected. You’ll also need to wear glasses to protect your eyes and a mask to avoid sunburn and swallowing bugs.
  • Half-shell helmets – you can consider wearing these helmets safer than wearing none at all. The only great thing about them is that they allow you to feel the open air while riding. They leave a large portion of your face exposed, making them susceptible to facial trauma in case of an accident. This article shows that half-shell helmets can only protect you from brain injuries by 36.8%.

Try It On

When buying a motorcycle helmet, we suggest getting one from your local shop. This way, you’ll have enough time to check and ensure it doesn’t have the signs mentioned earlier.

If buying online, try the helmet immediately after receiving it. This will give you enough time to ride with the helmet and see if it’s too big or small. Additionally, if it turns out to be the wrong size, you can always use the company’s return policy.

What Else to Consider Aside From the Motorcycle Helmet Size and Fit

When buying a helmet, checking if it has the right size and fit is not enough. You should see if it meets certain safety standards as well.

All headgears must comply with the minimum safety standards to guarantee protection from a crash. See to it that your helmet is DOT-compliant. Look for the DOT sticker, which you can find either inside or outside the helmet.

A DOT-approved helmet has been tested for impact, penetration, retention, and peripheral vision. It has an incredible shock-absorbing capacity and a chin strap that can withstand stretching or breaking. The ideal helmet can withstand a strong blow and can give superior peripheral vision, at least 105 degrees.


You found the right motorcycle helmet size if your headgear fits snugly and is comfortable to wear. This is important so you’re assured of full protection on the road in case you get into an accident.

Happy shopping and be safe on the road!

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