How To Correctly Fit A Mountain Bike Helmet - Thunderhead Alliance

How To Correctly Fit A Mountain Bike Helmet

A helmet is an essential piece of equipment when it comes to riding your bike of course, but it’s also super important that it’s fitted to your head correctly, so let’s take a look at the specifics of how to do it. The first thing to do is to make sure you’re buying a helmet that fits your head, so either go to a bike shop and try a few on or actually, it’s really easy just to measure your head, so get a tailor’s tape measure and wrap it around your head about half an inch above your eyebrows, just above your ears, or simply use a piece of string, wrap it round and pinch it and then, put it against a normal tape measure.

So I know that my head measures 58 centimeters, and on the POC website, the medium helmet goes from 55 up to 58 centimeters, so I buy a medium, and then, you’ve still got some adjustability on that helmet to make sure it fits super snug. Too big a helmet, and you’ll find that it can roll around or even move in the event of a crash, which I’ve seen in the past, that’s not safe obviously. Too small a helmet, and even if you can get it on, you’ll find that it’s probably uncomfortable and can even give you headaches, so even when you fit in the helmet, make sure you’ve got it in the right spot, so that’s about midway down your forehead. Obviously, too low’s gonna start pushing down onto your eyebrows, or the most common one we see is probably people run them too high, you can see the whole of the forehead, again, that’s not safe. You find most of these modern helmets with that sort of rear, retention system.

By the time you’ve got that tight, it sort of cups the back of your head, and actually, your helmet won’t move anyway. It’ll sit right in the middle of your forehead I like to run that rear ratchet system super tight, so even without the strap, you see my helmet doesn’t move at all, and when you take the helmet off and try and put it back on, actually, it won’t go back on, so you have to loosen it all the way off, stick your helmet on, and then ratchet that system up, so super nice and snug, and then I can fit the strap. You’ll probably find that that rear retention system has a bit more adjustability on your helmet, so on this, it’s got three different positions for it to come further down or further back into the helmet, and this really sort of depends on the shape of your head, and this again is just trying to get it super snug on the back of your head. And, you’ll probably notice that when you’re riding, if your helmet moves, that’s probably the one that needs adjustment, so I’ve got it set in the middle of the three, I find that my helmet doesn’t move at all.

So, the helmet fits now, just time to do that jaw strap. So, clip it in, and you should have enough room to fit a couple of fingers just below your chin, so it’s tight enough so the helmet can’t come off in the event of a crash, I’ve seen that happen in the past as well. Also, make sure that these ear straps are sort of centered below your ear, so actually that jaw strap sits to the back of your jaw. If they’re too far forward, actually that strap can sit almost beneath your chin, so it wants to be just below the jaw. Couple of final adjustments you can do to a helmet are, first of all, adjusting the peak angle so, I don’t like to run it too low so I can really see it, it’s sort of just about in the middle so I can just see it in the top of the field of my vision, it’s not poking up too high, I think it looks ab bit weird, but, no reason why you can’t do that.

Peaks are a funny one, I think if you run a helmet without a peak, you’re starting to look a little bit like a roadie, although I do have a cross country helmet without a peak, controversial, I know Also, the back of this helmet, I’ve actually got this google strap, so if I choose to run googles with this helmet, they’re nice and secured on the back. Now I know that the stinking roadies love a rule or two, and they always say that your glasses must go outside your helmet straps, but when mountain bikers here, I say, doesn’t matter. You should find that your glasses fit properly if your helmet’s sat nice and square, so they don’t interfere with each other. So, that’s how to fit an open face helmet, it’s pretty simple, the most common mistakes are not getting it right on your head, so too far back, or too far forward, or even a little bit jaunty on the side, so just make sure that your straps are evenly tensioned, and you’ve got that retention system nice and snug on the back of your helmet, and it should sit nice and square.

So, now for the full face helmet, which is of course going to suit the more extreme riders, like enduros, down hill, to free ride, to even some dirt jumpers. Obviously, the disadvantages are it’s heavier, it’s gonna be hotter, less comfortable to wear for a longer amount of time, but the biggest advantage of course is a greater coverage, so, for the bigger crashes, this is what you’re gonna want to be wearing. So, it’s the same fitment guide as it is with the open face helmet, measure your head, and buy the size helmet that fits. You’ll find that most full face helmets don’t have that rear retention system, because the helmet comes so low, but actually they often come with different sets of pads, so this pot does come with some liner pads you can play around with. Also, you find that these cheap pads, the thickness of that does really determine how snug the helmet fits.

So try it on, and then tailor the helmet to fit your head, but I find that with the standard pads, this is super snug on my head. The cheap pads in this helmet pop out super easily, you can see it says there 35 plus eight millimeters, so you can get those in different widths, to sort of push onto your cheeks a little bit more or less, to make sure it does fit nice and tight on your head. Also, the way these pop out really easily, you just pull on that to release, so in the event of something like a neck injury, you don’t want to be pulling a helmet on someone’s head if it’s really tight, so, you just pop them out, and it will come off super easily. So, although your full face helmet is probably going to feel quite secure around your cheeks and the back of your head, it’s still really, really important to make sure you have that chin strap nice and tight with those two fingers just underneath it. I’m sure you’ve seen videos, like I have, on the internet of people hitting their heads and the helmet coming off, so that really does come down to their chin strap not being tight enough.

Okay, so the peak angle adjustment on a full face helmet, you’re likely to have a much bigger peak on one of these, so, again, too low, it’s going to restrict your view a little bit especially when you’re going fast and sometimes, you’re sort of looking quite high in your field of vision. Too high, really its more about fashion, to be honest, I think they just look a bit weird. You can go peakless, but again, don’t think it looks very cool. This helmet has got a break away peak on it, so if you do have a face plant, that’s just gonna pop back and actually, it can pop off super easily as well, it’s just gonna take any of that extra force out of that impact, hopefully, save your head. When it comes to eyewear with full face helmets, I think it’s all about the googles, they just give you much more protection to your face than the pair of glasses do, of course, you can wear glasses with a full face, I think they look a bit weird, and they’re just not as safe.

Now, to the angle of the goggle strap and where it sits on the back of your helmet, now you might think this isn’t important, It kind of isn’t, but, there’s no quicker way to look a beginner than having it in the wrong spot, so I think it looks really weird if you’re running it super low, pretty kooky, people will think you look like a beginner So, have them fairly high, sat square on the back of your helmet, you’re gonna look like a pro. You’re probably not gonna want to wear your goggles when pedaling up a hill, because it gets super hot, so there’s a couple of ways to store them, either wrap them around the back of your neck, like that, I tend to do that quite a bit, or, you can actually sort of mount them on your helmet, so, strap underneath the peak, goggles on the back, they’ll sit there nice and securely. So, the main things to consider with a full face helmet, again, are buying the right size, but then tailoring the internal pads, to make sure it’s nice and tight on your head, and then, you can’t really fit it wrong, to be honest, because by the time you put your goggles on, you want them to sit squarely around your eyes, so you’ll just move your helmet ’til they fit nice and tight, and you haven’t got anything pushing into your eyes.

So, it’s really important to also look after your helmet, so, most of them actually come with their own bag, but if you’ve not got one, a nice full face helmet bag is great, so you can chuck it around in back of the car, you’re not launching your bike on top of it, and getting scratched, but also, you don’t want a helmet to take any big impacts. So, this Conair, for example, is a multi impact protection helmet, so it’s designed to take more than one hit, however, if you do take a big crash and you feel that that helmet could have been damaged in any way, it’s time to replace it. Speaking as a man who has experience in this, I’ve actually had a brain bleed, my helmet really made a difference to that injury, so, don’t go anywhere without one. So there’s just a few things to consider when buying and fitting a helmet, and it really doesn’t matter how much money you’re spending on a helmet if it doesn’t fit properly.