After many years of listening to rider feedback, we have found that satisfaction with a helmet – any helmet – starts with your understanding the importance of fit. Most importantly, understanding how proper size and fit affect how a helmet performs during everyday riding, and how uninformed purchasing decisions can affect that performance.
While getting the proper size and fit on something as important and personal as a helmet can occasionally even be difficult in person in a store, this difficulty can be greatly compounded when your only contact is via phone, fax or email and there is no hands-on, in-person help with the fitting process. Which is why, with little or no actual firsthand knowledge at your disposal on how to size and fit a helmet, Arai sincerely encourages you to not make this decision lightly. (Any price savings are soon negated by having to wear a helmet that feels and fits wrong every time you put it on!)
1. MEASURING: Have someone measure the circumference of your head with a cloth measuring tape â€“ available cheaply at any fabric store – taking special care to measure at the largest circumference (i.e. where your head is biggest; typically at just above the eyebrows, around the head to include the largest â€œbumpâ€ at the back of your head.) The tape must be pulled tight, and the measurement taken.
2. SNUG VS. LOOSE: A helmet that slips on easily may offer an initial impression of comfort and proper fit, but after time can become too loose and move around on your head, allowing more wind noise to get in and also causing more discomfort and fatigue as you struggle to keep your head from getting buffeted in the wind. Like a properly-fit pair of shoes, a helmet needs to settle in over time, so be sure to consider this â€œrelaxingâ€ of the interior when buying your new helmet. Your initial fitting goal, then, should be for a snug fit.
3. FACIAL FIT: This is a common problem with riders who have a full face, jaw, or cheeks because it often results in the mistake of â€œfitting your faceâ€ instead of your head, and choosing a larger size in order to get the helmet on past your face. The problem is compounded again because in a mail-order/Internet purchase there is no in-person helmet fitter to help. Remember, first get your correct head size (Step #1 and link). Youâ€™ll yell and scream the measured-size will never fit, but respectfully, weâ€™ve heard that before. When you order your helmet, consider ordering one of Araiâ€™s optional thinner-cheek pad sets for your model. Swap the pads to the thinner ones. Bingo!
4. SIZE COMPARISONS: The helmet size youâ€™re wearing now doesnâ€™t count in ordering a new helmet. A previous or current helmet in the same brand, model and size – even if an Arai – may not offer the same fit as a current model or size youâ€™re considering. Why? The natural evolution of design and the use of new materials can affect â€“ and alter – the size and fit of a new model. Arai offers several interior shapes to give you the most possible opportunities to find one that best fits your head shape. How can you determine which is best suited for you? In general, Arai interiors for the North American markets are based on an oval shape orientation (somewhat longer front-to-back and a little narrow from side-to-side). Our models then vary slightly based on that general Oval shape to accommodate a much wider fit range LONG OVAL (very long front-to-back, very narrow side-to-side). On this end of the scale, we have the new Profile model, offering additional forehead room for those who find that most helmets have pressure points in the forehead.
INTERMEDIATE OVAL (a little shorter front-to-back and a little wider side-to-side). This next fit package comes in our RX-7 CORSAIR model, which begins the shift from oblong towards round.
ROUND OVAL (even a little shorter front-to-back and a little wider side-to-side). This last fit package is shared between our Quantum-2 and Astral-X models. However, because the Quantum-2 has a fully removable liner and the Astral-X has a non-removable head liner, side-by-side fit comparisons can reveal a personal preference for one over the other.