Motorcycle Helmets 101: Everything You Need to Know About Helmet Head Shapes

Motorcycle Helmets 101: Everything You Need to Know About Helmet Head Shapes

In 2017 alone, we bought nearly half a million motorcycles in the US.

If you’re thinking about getting a motorcycle, then by law you’re going to need a helmet. But with such a wide range to choose from it can be tough to make a choice.


It’s also important that you find a helmet that fits. This won’t only impact on how comfortable your helmet is. A poorly fitting helmet can also put you at risk of serious injury. So you need to be sure that you find the right helmet for your head shape.

Read on we take a look at the different helmet head shapes and how to determine your own.

Measure Your Head

If you’re going to buy a helmet, the most important thing is to buy the right size.

If your helmet is too big, it could actually come loose in an accident leaving you completely unprotected from a head injury. So you need to start by measuring your head.

Take a cloth or paper tape measure and measure around your head from just above your eyebrows to the bulge at the back of your head. This will give you your head circumference. Take the measurement in inches; this is usually what the size charts of the different manufacturers will use.

Determine Your Head Shape

Now you know big your head is, you’ll need to determine what shape it is. The easiest ways to do so are either to ask a friend to look down on you from above or to try taking a selfie from above the top of your head.

It turns out that our heads vary quite a lot in shape. All of us have heads that are oval in shape. But some people have wider heads, whereas others have heads that are longer and narrower. Whilst every head is different, most of us fall into three main categories.

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Long Oval

A long oval is a head shape in which the head is long and thin. If your head looks a little like a wide football from above then this is probably your head type.

A standard helmet would feel quite loose at the sides but would feel very tight at the front and back. Try opting for a long oval helmet which should feel much more snug at the temples, with far less pressure on your forehead and at the back of your head.


The vast majority of us will fit into this category.

The average human head is an oval that is longer than it is wide. The difference in length and width is not huge, however. From above your head will appear as a slightly squashed soccer ball, rather than a wide football.

Since this is the most common head type, you are likely to find far more helmets that will feel comfortable. But you should always opt for an intermediate helmet, rather than a long or round oval. These are designed for heads outside the intermediate range.

Round Oval

A round oval is a shape where the head is almost as wide as it is long. If your head looks much closer to a soccer ball in shape, this is probably your head shape.

Since round oval heads are wider than average, you will usually find that there is pressure on the sides of your head when trying a standard intermediate helmet. Choosing a round oval option should solve this problem.

Try It On

We always recommend that you try on a helmet.

These days many of us prefer to shop online. But all good helmet stores will allow you to return or exchange a helmet if it doesn’t fit. This is provided that it has not been worn on the road and is still in good condition.

Your helmet should fit snugly without causing any pain or discomfort. A clear sign of a badly fitting helmet will be red marks when you remove it. Try rotating the helmet and moving it up and down. If you can do so easily, without feeling the helmet pulling on your skin a little, then it is too loose.

Helmet Styles

Once you have determined your size and shape, all that’s left is to choose a style.

The style you choose will depend on the type of riding you intend to do. And, of course, your own personal preference as to what you think looks the best.

Full Face Helmets

Full face helmets are probably what you think of when you imagine a motorcycle helmet.

They are solid around the front, back and chin, with a visor in the front. They provide all over protection for your head, including your chin.

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Open Face Helmets

An open face helmet will cover the back and top of your head, but your face and chin are unprotected. Imagine a football helmet, but without the face mask.

This is not the most practical of helmets. You will often need some kind of eye protection if you’re using an open face helmet. And the safety levels are reduced. But they look cool as all hell.

Modular Helmets

A modular helmet is the best of both worlds.

The chin section can be removed, or flipped up to transform a full face helmet into an open face helmet. It means that you can stop and eat or chat without having to remove your helmet.

The fact that the helmet is not one solid piece means they are not as safe as a full face helmet.

Half Helmets

This is about as minimal as a helmet gets.

This type of helmet only protects you from the forehead upwards. Your chin, face, and back of your head are all exposed. They are often the choice of cruiser and vintage riders who value style above safety.

Looking for Great Helmets in All Helmet Head Shapes?

If you’re looking for great helmets then we’ve got you covered.

We offer a wide range of helmets in all styles and helmet head shapes. Whether you’re a round oval, a long oval, or somewhere in between, you can find the perfect fitting helmet right here. We also carry every helmet style from open face to full face.

And if you’re not happy with the fit, we’re happy to exchange your helmet. So you can be sure that you’ll always end up with a helmet you’re completely happy with. Take a look around and let us help you find your perfect helmet today. [external_footer]