Head start in getting the right helmet fit

Motoring journalist Andy Russell gets some expert advice as he chooses a new lid…

You spend a lot of time, and put a lot of faith, in your crash helmet so you need to make sure it’s comfortable, fits properly and will give you the best protection in the worst-case scenario.

I’ve just changed my helmet, after the recommended five years, and it highlighted how important it is to get some expert advice to get the best possible fit, rather than buying online.

I was shocked to find that I’ve been wearing ill-fitting protective headgear.

My hat size is large so I assumed my previous helmet, bought elsewhere, also needed to be a large size.

It felt fine to start with but, with time, became looser and I found the wind noise, even wearing earplugs, annoying. I also found it slipping forward on my head as it got older.

So, when I changed it, I took some top advice from Dave Forster, Orwell’s parts, clothing and accessories manager.

When I suggested another large size helmet he queried it and proposed medium might be better.

I wanted a flip-front Shoei Neotec 2 and, to keep him happy, tried on a medium one. It was snug but not tight. He even suggested wearing it and walking around the showroom for 10 minutes to get a feel for it.

Just to be sure, I asked to try on a large one. The difference was clear.

Dave could twist the helmet from side to side and backwards and forwards on my head. And my eyes were not level with the widest part of the visor.

To put my mind at rest he said he could tailor the liner to create a little more room if I felt it was too tight after wearing it. That has not been necessary.

I bought the medium size and it’s the best helmet I’ve ever had.

It fits properly so is firmly planted on my head and does not move.

It’s so much quieter, with no wind roar or whistle, but I can still hear the engine and that makes long rides less fraught.

It’s more comfortable because it hugs my head securely and the padding is ‘moulding’ to my face.

Dave said: “Some people think they need a certain size of helmet and, when you get them into one that fits their head properly, they realise they have been wearing the wrong size, often for many years.”

A helmet needs to be a snug fit, squeezing the cheeks.

“When you buy a new helmet the correct size might be a little bit too snug at first but the interior will soften up and mould to your face.

“The better the fit, the safer the helmet and it will be more stable at speed, quieter and better all round.”

Crash helmets are a vital piece of protective motorbike wear, and top brands are not cheap, so it makes sense to get a second opinion and some expert advice to get it right.

See Orwell’s range of protective headgear at orwell.co.uk/shop/clothing/helmets