How to Fit a Cycle Helmet

How to fit a cycle helmet

Wearing a bike helmet is always recommended, no matter where or for how far you're riding. Helmets protect our heads from falls and collisions and are undeniable lifesavers in the event of a crash or accident. Here's our guide to picking and sizing a helmet that's not just comfortable, but also safer to use on your next ride.

Step One: Measure up

Before you begin to look at helmets, measure your head (or the head of the person you're buying for). Helmet sizes are based on the circumference of your head, measured from just above your eyebrows and around the back of your skull.

The easiest way to measure your head is to grab a fabric or flexible tape measure, then wrap it around your head. Make sure the tape measure rests about 2 inches above your eyebrows and goes in a line around the widest part of your head, not sitting too high or too low.

Ask a friend to check the measurement or use a mirror to get an accurate reading. If you don't have a fabric tape measure, then use a piece of string, make a mark and then measure this using a ruler or metal tape measure.

Step Two: Try a few out

Buying a bike helmet is one of those situations where it's better to head in-store than to shop online. If you're buying a new helmet you've never tried before or haven't had a bike helmet for a long time, then it's worth trying a few different sizes and models before deciding on the right one. Some helmets may be the same size as others on the packaging or label but feel completely different when they're on, so it may take some trial and error before you find the perfect fit for you.

The other big advantage of trying on in-store is that one of colleagues will be able to give you some tips on how to fit a cycle helmet and even choose the best cycle helmet for you.

If you aren't sure which brand to choose or which cycling helmet is best for your riding style, then check out our Bike Helmet Buyer's Guide first.

Step Three: Adjust and check

As everyone's head is slightly different, most bike helmets come with a couple of adjustment points that make for a safer and more comfortable fit. Once you've found the right helmet size, adjust the straps and rear adjuster so that the helmet is fairly tight on your head, but not to the point where it cuts into your skin.

Start off by checking the helmet covers most of your forehead; put your index and middle finger together and sit them above your eyebrow on top of each other - if the helmet touches one of them, then the helmet is in the right place.

Next, twist the adjuster at the back of the helmet if there is one. The helmet should feel comfortable and neither too tight or too loose.

Do the same with the chin strap. The chin strap should be comfortable on both your face and chin and shouldn't cut or dig in anywhere - the helmet is too small or the strap is too tight if this happens. The V of the straps should also sit around your ears - if these are on top of your ears, then you'll need to adjust the straps again or get the next size up.

Step Four: Give it a wobble

Once the helmet feels comfortable, push it forwards, backwards and side to side. If the helmet moves more than an inch in any direction, it needs to be adjusted or is too large. If it doesn't move at all, then it's probably too tight. If movements feel good and you helmet doesn't go too far in any direction, give your head a wobble in all directions - if the sizing and adjustments are right, it shouldn?t move too much when you do this.

Remember to check and tighten your straps regularly once you've started using your helmet, as they will loosen naturally as time goes on. If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident and your helmet gets damaged, always replace it, as damaged helmets may not be as effective next time!

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