Motocross is a fun sport to participate in and doing so requires certain things. One of those is a properly fitting motocross helmet. Selecting motocross helmets that look and feel right, as well as offer the right level of safety can be tricky.
Motocross helmets come in a wide variety of styles and colors. While those things can be factors in the selection process, there are other things to consider as well. One of the most important is safety. This applies not only to the DOT safety standards, but also to proper fit. Without a proper fit, the safety standards applied to the motocross helmet will not be as effective.
When looking for a motocross helmet, look for a safety label or sticker. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) safety standards or Snell safety standards will be noted on the helmet or packaging. If the helmet does not have such a label, do not purchase it or wear it. Helmets that have such labeling have undergone rigorous testing in order to ensure they will offer the appropriate amount of protection under the various conditions motocross riders face.
When it comes to fit, there are several factors to look at. The first one is the size. Motocross helmets come in multiple sizes ranging from S to XL. In addition to these more general sizes, helmets for motocross can come with numerical sizes based on head measurements.
To measure the head for a motocross helmet, place a measuring tape around the circumference of the head, resting about one half an inch above the eyebrows. The measuring tape should be snug, but not tight. This number will then translate to a size for the helmet.
Though there may be some variance, in general a measurement of 22 inches will translate to a hat size of 7; a measurement of 24 inches will equate a hat size of 7 5/8; and so on. Carefully review the sizing chart listed with the helmet or packaging to be sure. The manufacturer’s website is another place to get more definitive sizing information.
Picking the right size is not all that matters with fit, though. The helmet should fit snugly, but comfortably. Because padding will pack down with wear, that should be kept in mind when gauging snugness.
Speaking of padding, it can come as permanent or removable. Because of the amount of sweat, grime and dirt involved in motocross, many riders find removable padding to be preferable in order to help keep the helmet clean inside. Others prefer to avoid the cost of replacing the padding and just regularly clean the inside of the helmet. That is something that is simply a matter of preference. Though, it is recommended when purchasing a helmet with removable padding, some replacement padding be purchased at the same time so it is readily available when needed.
The wearers should have full range of head motion and clear vision at various head positions, including up and down. When secured, the helmet should not shift with head movement, even vigorous movement. The strap should be easily adjustable, but should stay put once secured.
The weight of the helmet will matter to the rider, as well. Some motocross riders do mostly shorter runs or jumps , while others primarily do the longer runs. Motocross helmets can be heavy, so a lighter weight helmet may work better for those riders who do the longer runs, whereas a heavier helmet may not feel so uncomfortable to a rider who does the shorter runs or jumps.
The cost difference between the two types can be significant, with the lighter weight helmets tending to be more expensive. This is why knowing the type of riding that will be done most of the time can matter so much when selecting the right helmet for motocross.