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lionlady
-----Mistress of Novices. -Total miles: 85,000+



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   Posted 6/24/2004 5:41 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Guidelines for getting the best fit in a full-face helmet.
There is much to be said about going into a Motorcycle shop and physically trying on the helmet you are considering. Even if you plan on buying online, knowing what size you need will save much time and aggravation. Cheaper is not cheaper if you must exchange by mail repeatedly, or end up with a helmet that doesn't fit well, or worse, is painful to wear after 30 minutes.
 
I did not devise this fit guide but I put what I was taught to paper to share. I believe it is based on the Arai fit method, but is applicable for all makes. This is what I was taught while working in a MC dealer. I have tweaked the instructions in an effort to make it understandable in print. I have also added details that I have learned through experience in an effort to make it as helpful as possible. 
 
Do NOT under any circumstances purchase for use, a USED helmet. Not "still in the box," not "only worn once," not "free with the bike." Hidden damage that even the previous owner is unaware of can kill you if you go down wearing that bargain helmet. Don't take the risk.
 
1. Do NOT look at prices first. Fit is most important. If Arai (generally the most expensive) fits, then that will provide the BEST protection, if an HJC (generally a less expensive make) fits, then THAT will provide the best protection. For this ‘fit test’ do not buckle the chin strap. If you wear glasses, or sunglasses while riding, don’t forget to have them with you for the fit test. Note: At a helmet seminar offered by Arai, those in attendance learned that about 60% were wearing helmets too BIG for best protection. Recently, I learned that I've evidently been wearing a helmet TWO sizes too big, while shopping to replace my "crashed in" Arai helmet. For fit-trying helmets, a Sliks helmet liner, or other snug fitting "do-rag" is VERY helpful, especially if you've got multiple ear piercings or thick hair, etc.

2. Choose a size that looks close (you gotta start somewhere). Pull the helmet on over your head by holding the straps. It should go on with a bit of work, but NOT so tough it feels like your ears are being scraped off your skull. If the helmet goes on with little or no effort, try the next size DOWN. Tilting your chin slightly down should ease neck strain in doing this.

3. Flip up the face shield. (If trying a helmet with flip up chin bar, ONLY flip up the face shield.) Now, push  the helmet around on your head. Have someone watch your face or look in a mirror while you do this. Your scalp and eyebrows should move around with the helmet padding.  If it doesn’t, try the next size down OR a different make of helmet and repeat from #2. If your scalp does move, close your eyes and think about how the padding feels around the crown of your head. You should feel snug EVEN pressure all around, like a good firm handshake - no ‘hot points’ at forehead or ears. Some helmets give a sort of "chipmunk cheek"  feeling. Remember, the padding will compress with wear, so snugness is good in a new helmet, rather than a ‘just right’ fit, or it will become too loose with wear. Some helmet manufacturers offer thinner cheek padding if this is your main concern. (If you feel a hot point at forehead, you probably have an ‘oval profile’ head and should try one of the Arai models.)

4. Now tilt your chin down to your chest (still unbuckled) and take one hand and push UP on the bottom of the back of the helmet. You should NOT be able to push the helmet off, or part way off. If you can, then try another make helmet - "flip face" helmets are more likely to fail this step, which should not be disregarded.  (If the chin strap fails, or you forget to buckle...  )

5. Once you’ve gotten to this point, wear the helmet around the shop for at LEAST 5 to 10 minutes. This is where using a full service shop is worth it. They should encourage you to wear the helmet for some time before buying. You don’t want to find out after you plunk down $$, that the helmet you thought fit you is agony to wear for more than 30 minutes. If you are indecisive about two different helmets, make sure you WEAR the 'most likely candidate' last, before purchase. If this is it. Buy it. Get the box and packaging for the helmet, if at all possible. THEN, take the new helmet home and wear it while watching TV or 'surfing the net'  for an hour or two... it can be tough to really get used to the fit, when somebody is staring at you (don't think about pink elephants right now), so wearing it while doing something else is probably the best way to make sure the fit is right. If you have any fit "issues" after this last at home test, RETURN the helmet. A reputable shop should have no issues with taking an ill fitting helmet back.
 
Other NOTES:
A) Motorcycle Helmets should be retired/replaced EVERY five years, or at a maximum of seven years from date of manufacture (month/year usually imprinted on chinstrap or on label inside). When buying a 'clearance' helmet, the low price is often because the helmet is already 2-3 years old. No way to tell  how well or poorly a helmet has been stored. One reason ARAI no longer allows ANY retail helmet sales online, or by discounters. Arai now insists that their helmets be FIT to the wearer. This must be done in an authorized shop.
 
B) No matter how well taken care of, a helmet that has been dropped should be replaced. A helmet that has been in a crash MUST be replaced, for your safety (your insurer may cover replacement of your helmet and/or other safety gear). http://tinyurl.com/4muc9
 
C) Always make sure you have a clear face shield (visor) available for your helmet. Carry one in your tank bag. If you find yourself out later than planned, or if the weather should change, it is dangerous to ride in low-light conditions with even the lightest tint visor. You won't realize what you are not seeing until it is too late. 
 
D) NEVERNEVERNEVER use any paper product (paper towels, tissues etc.) to clean your face shield. The tiny wood fibers will create microscratches in your visor over time. Use only cleaners made for plastics to clean your face shield. Products such as Rain-X and Windex contain amonia and will cause the plastic to yellow and become brittle.
 
Happy riding and stay safe!! LL
 
>edited to include a link back to this original, after finding a 'cut and paste,' without credit of it, purely by accident, on another site.
 



  Youth and talent are no match for age and treachery. 

Post Edited (lionlady) : 2/18/2007 12:36:52 PM GMT

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demenSHEa
2000 Suzuki Bandit 12S



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   Posted 6/24/2004 10:14 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks so much lionlady for this amazing indepth lesson on helmet buying! I am going to get a new one today as my "gift" helmet is too large, but better than none as I ride pillion. I know I will need a better fitting one for driving and should have a good fit passenger riding as well. I will follow your instructions at the motorcycle shop and get the best fit I can.
With your tips it should be alot easier now!
Cheers and thanks,
DemenSHea


Whenever I'm caught between two evils, I take the one I've never tried.
Mae West

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lionlady
-----Mistress of Novices. -Total miles: 85,000+



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   Posted 6/24/2004 11:24 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Don't discount the employee's advice... IF they are knowledgeable. I hate to admit that at every shop I've been in, looking at helmets, I was left to my own devices - EXCEPT at the one where I currently work, a BMW dealership.

Quite a pity, given how important fit is to safety.

LL


Don't let your mind wander .  .  .     Its too small to be outside by itself.

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Smitty
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   Posted 6/24/2004 5:16 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
It was interesting to note that this was a seminar by Arai & this turns up about those that felt they had the knowledge & proper fit: "--Note: at a helmet seminar by Arai, those in attendance learned that about 60% were wearing helmets too BIG for best protection----". Each time I try to advise people on helmets I mention that "most" ,in my words, always feel the size or so larger from what I suggest is the correct one.

My Shoei is of such a close fit, that when I need a haircut it is the helmet that is telling me for I can feel it. Besides walking around in the shop for 10 or 20 minutes with the helmet on is really not going to tell that the fit is perfect. It is when you are riding & only after a few days to a week that you know for sure. ALSO why I often suggest that someone buy an inexpensive Dot & Snell approved helmet that feels right. After a while they will know far more about helmets & that in all probability the helmet they bought was a size plus to large.

So then purchasing a better & more costly helmet is really not to bad for it is just one expensive helmet that can always be used as a sub or by a friend (or possibly sold for a low price to a novice) & the better made & fitting helmet RATHER then TWO top line & costly helmets.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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Deacon Blues
The Imaginary Director



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   Posted 6/24/2004 8:38 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Different models by the same mfr can also get you -- last Christmas I bought myself a KBC TK-7 to 'replace' my KBC VR-1... nevermind the VR-1 fit well, I was thinking, OK, it's time I got a new helmet (incidentally, one with the same color scheme as the bike!)

TK-7 = rounder heads, VR-1 = more oval heads.


Damn thing bugs the crap outta me. So I've gone back to wearing the VR-1.

-=-=-=-=-=-
Also, DEFINITELY look into how the faceshields mount, and how easy they are to switch, especially if you plan on doing long or 'multi-climate' rides. Removing screws to change shields is a hassle, especially when you LOSE a screw...

If you use more than one shield (a clear and a tinted, for example), invest in a shield caddy. This is a shammy-lined sleeve that you put the spare shield into to keep it from getting scratched up, and can be worn around your waist like a belt. Also, a cleaning product and a soft cloth (Plexus rules!) should be in your tankbag/backpack/panniers whenever you're out on a ride... you can get the bugs off with warm water and a paper towel, but it's no fun, and some paper towels can put scratches in the shield material.


 "This bike wheelies like an airliner..." - my compadre Budbandit, regarding his new Blackbird 
 
 
 

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demenSHEa
2000 Suzuki Bandit 12S



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   Posted 6/26/2004 10:13 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thought I would post a reply here letting you know that I took the printed out version of your basic helmet fit with me to the local cycle shop. The sales people noted my putting on helmets and looking at your tests and then performing each one. Finally out of curiosity they approached me and asked what exactly I was reading and proceeded to each read it. They said that it was the BEST helmet fitting guide they had ever seen. KUDOS to you!!! blush
I did discover that the helmet i have been using on the pillion is 2 sizes too big. If you hadn't posted this I would still be riding unsafely, instead i will now have a great proper fitting helmet.
BTW I am signed up for my MSF this coming Friday. I will post when it is complete. I am truly jazzed!
Thanks!! smilewinkgrin
demenSHEa


Whenever I'm caught between two evils, I take the one I've never tried.
Mae West

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GeoffG
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   Posted 6/26/2004 7:17 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hey, great info, LL.

Now, why did I always think Shoei was more suited to "oval" heads, and Arai to "round" noggins? Not that it matters--I wear an AGV which I am very happy with.
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lionlady
-----Mistress of Novices. -Total miles: 85,000+



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   Posted 6/27/2004 7:17 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hey, Cool!!

Actually I didn't create that test... I just put it on paper as I was taught by an 'expert' who has been fitting helmets for over 15 years. I'm delighted that you found it helpful. I know I would have LOVED having a piece of paper to take along when I was searching for a helmet.


Don't let your mind wander .  .  .     Its too small to be outside by itself.

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lionlady
-----Mistress of Novices. -Total miles: 85,000+



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   Posted 7/2/2004 1:25 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Bump.


Don't let your mind wander .  .  .     Its too small to be outside by itself.

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Joss
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   Posted 7/2/2004 5:16 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
"2. Just pick a size that looks close. Pull it on over your head by holding the straps. It should go on with a bit of work, but NOT so tough it feels like your ears are being scraped off your skull. If it goes on with no effort, try the next size DOWN."

The first Arai I tried on was like trying to stick my head through a keyhole (and this was the proper size too). There probably isn't many other brands quite like them and it can scare you if you aren't "ready" for it. It was such a tight fit that I actually strained a muscle in my neck pulling down on the helmet.

Ever since then, when I put an Arai on, I bow my head forward (instead of holding my head straight up) so the strain is off my neck some. It helps.


Savannah, GA
'02 Triumph TT600 streetbike
'95 Honda F3 racebike
 
NEVER TRUST ANYONE UNDER 40....uh better make that 50.

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R3d
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   Posted 7/4/2004 12:59 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Just out of curiousity, is there another brand of helmet that offers more of an oval shape besides Arai? 
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Joss
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   Posted 7/4/2004 2:23 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Since Arai stopped internet sales I tried the KBC Racer 1 and it's pretty good too.  LOTS better than the low end KBC helmets.  These guys have a good bit of info on them.
 
 
I've had about three of them now, to compare to two Arai Signets.
 
I think Shoei also makes a long oval helmet but I don't recal what it is.


Savannah, GA
'02 Triumph TT600 streetbike
'95 Honda F3 racebike
 
NEVER TRUST ANYONE UNDER 40....uh better make that 50.

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lionlady
-----Mistress of Novices. -Total miles: 85,000+



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   Posted 7/22/2004 3:01 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Scorpion is a fit similar to Arai... MUCH less expensive. I have no idea how well it performs in safety tests.

We just got these in in 'my' shop. One of our 'fitters' picked one up and was able to easily flex the shell of the helmet by pulling on the straps.


I do my own stunts!!!

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lionlady
-----Mistress of Novices. -Total miles: 85,000+



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   Posted 1/20/2005 10:18 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Bump again.

I believe it was guitardad, who overheard the Arai rep at the DC show saying that he knows he's got the fit right when the first thing someone says once they've put a new Arai on their head, is: "Damn that's tight."

Pam

>>Actually, it was an Arai Rep featured on "Two Wheel Tuesday" on the Speed Channel that he overheard saying this.


Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.

Post Edited (lionlady) : 1/21/2005 8:09:34 PM GMT

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OldGuy
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   Posted 1/21/2005 1:19 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Guess I've got an Arai head 'cause I love my Quantum f. Didn't take very long for it to break in.

One bit of info about helmets after a crash. After my crash I called the store where I bought it (Cycle Gear) and asked if Arai had a service for testing helmets that had been in a crash. Turns out they do. The store sent my helemt back to Arai and it checked out okay. Cost me $10 for shipping and $60 for a new visor and latch mechnanism. I can live with the scratches...makes a nice reminder every time I put it on.


Richard
www.oldguy.us
--Ever stop to think and forget to start again?

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