How To Measure For A Bike Helmet?


If you want to get the maximum protection from your helmet, you need to make sure that the size of your bike helmet is exactly right. A bigger helmet is size will instantly come off and hence not protect your head in case of a crash. To get the right size, you need to have the right measurements for your helmet.

How To Size A Bike Helmet Properly?

Find out the head circumference before purchasing a bike helmet. For this, take a measuring tape and wrap it around the fullest part of the head. It should be almost an inch or so above the eyebrows. Alternatively, use a lace/thread instead of the measuring tape and then measure the lace.

Sizing Parameters & Helmet Size Guide

When it comes to helmets, size does matter. It could be the difference between life and death. A loose helmet can rock on your head exposing the forehead and the back of your head in case of a crash or collision. Furthermore, it could block your view and lead to an accident. Not to mention, a lose helmet can come off instantly during a crash exposing the head to some serious injuries.On the contrary, if you get a helmet that is on the tighter side, you will notice that after a couple of rides the helmet would be the only thing you would be thinking about while cycling. For this reason, you need the perfect fit. And for your perfect fit, you need to find the circumference of your head, correctly.

How To Measure For A Bike Helmet?

Measure Your Head

It is a good idea to ask a friend to measure the circumference of your head. It will be more accurate to get some help as you may find it a little hard to check for the widest part of the head to measure. The measuring tape needs to be flexible so you or your friend can easily move it around the head.

  • Ask your friend to wrap the measuring tape just above your ears around the fullest part of your head. You can do that yourself too by looking into the mirror. This would normally be around half an inch (or one inch) above your brows. Do not squeeze the measuring tape too tightly around the head.
  • It is also a good idea to measure it twice. Measuring your head for the second time will eradicate any chances of errors. Once you or your friend has taken the measurements, note them down.
  • If you have measured twice, both the measurements should match. If they do, you are good to proceed. If they do not, figure out why and repeat the measurement.

Sizing Parameters For Your Bike Helmet

Once you have the correct head measurement with you, find a bike helmet that matches your specs. Here are some general parameters for helmets size:

  • If your head circumference is below 51 cm (20 inches), your helmet size is “Extra Small”.
  • If your head circumference is between 51 (20 inches) and 55 cm (21.75 inches), your helmet size is “Small”.
  • If your head circumference lies somewhere between 55 cm (21.75 inches) and 59 cm (23.25 inches), your helmet size is “Medium”.
  • If the head measurement is between 59 cm (23.25 inches) and 63 cm (24.75 inches), your helmet size is “Large”.
  • If the circumference is above 63 cm (24.75 inches), your helmet size will be “Extra Large”.

Some helmets have a very flexible fitting mechanism and they can be adjusted to different sizes. These helmets come in “One Size” option. Here are their sizing specifications:

  • For men: “One size” covers a head circumference between 54 cm (21.25 inches) and 61 cm (24 inches).
  • For women: “One size” covers the head circumference between 50 cm (19.75 inches) and 57 cm (22.5 inches)
  • For children: “One size” ranges between the head circumference of 46 cm (18 inches) and 57 cm (22.5 inches).

Adult Helmet

Your helmet size may depend upon your head shape. There are three main types of head shapes: oval, round, and egg-shaped.

The oval-shaped heads are the most common ones. They are also referred to as long-faced heads. The round-shaped head is wider in the middle part of the head as compared to the chin or forehead. The egg-shaped heads are wide at the forehead side (top part) and narrow towards the chin.

Here are general adult helmet guidelines:

Helmet Size Measurement (in cm) Measurement (in inches)
XS 53 to 54 20 ⅞ to 21 ¼
S 55 to 56 21 ⅝ to 22
M 57 to 58 22 ½ to 22 ⅞
L 59 to 60 23 ¼ to 23 ⅝
XL 61 to 62 24 to 24 ⅜
2XL 63 to 64 24 ¾ to 25 ¼
3XL 65 to 66 25 ⅝ to 26

Youth Helmet

It is very natural for youths to grow out of their helmet sizes. Make sure that the helmets they are wearing is not too tight and buy a new one when you feel they have grown out of it. Also, do not buy them larger sized helmets just because “one day they will grow into it”. This is a dangerous practice that may save some money but can be very dangerous in case of an accident.

Here are the youth helmet sizes:

Helmet Size Measurement (in cm) Measurement (in inches)
Youth S 49 to 50 20 ⅞ to 21 ¼
Youth M 51 to 52 21 ⅝ to 22
Youth L 53 to 54 22 ½ to 22 ⅞
Youth S/M 49 to 50 23 ¼ to 23 ⅝
Youth L/ XL 51 to 52 24 to 24 ⅜

Child Helmet

It is important to develop the habit of wearing helmet in your children. However, if your child is not comfortable in his/ her helmet, chances are they will try to avoid it as much as they can. For this reason, make sure you measure their head properly (from the steps mentioned above).

Here are some general measurements for boys and girls according to their ages. Check the following chart to see what works best for your children.

Age Measurements for Boys Measurements for Girls
12 months 46 cm / 18.1 inches 45 cm / 17.7 inches
18 months 47.5 cm / 18.7 inches 46.5 cm / 18.3 inches
2 years 47.5 cm / 18.7 inches 47 cm / 18.5 inches
2.5 – 3 years 49 cm / 19.3 inches 48 cm / 18.9 inches
3.5 years 50 cm / 19.7 inches 49 cm / 19.3 inches
4 years 50.5 cm / 19.9 inches 49.5 cm / 19.5 inches
4 – 5 years 51 cm / 20.1 inches 50 cm / 19.7 inches
6 years 52 cm / 20.5 inches 51 cm / 20.1 inches
7 years 53 cm / 20.9 inches 52 cm / 20.5 inches
8 years 54 cm / 21.3 inches 53 cm / 20.9 inches

While these charts help immensely when you order the helmet online or want to surprise-gift the helmet to a loved one, different brands may have different fitting standards. Remember not to be a slave to the numbers and measurements. Although these measurements provide a good insight to helmet fitting, yet the best way to know if the size is perfect is when it perfectly sits on your child’s head without your child complaining about it being too tight or too wobbly.

Conclusion

Your head size and shape will determine which bike helmet will work best for your head. Your ideal bike helmet needs to be well-fit and comfortable. You also need to wear it properly as many people do not take the buckles and straps as seriously as they should. There is no point of buying a perfectly measured helmet if you are not going to buckle up properly. Once you have measured your head and purchased the helmet, make sure your helmet sits well on your head and all the straps are properly adjusted. And then, you are ready to go!

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