Mountain Biking is a completely different ball game than regular bike riding. Whether you are riding on a rock infested terrain or practicing at a mountain bike park full face mountain bike helmets provide superior protection as compared to regular road bike helmets. It is very important to find a helmet that fits your head perfectly and doesn’t fly off in case of an unfortunate fall or squeeze your head due to being a tight fit.
A correct sized full face helmet should feel snug on your head and shouldn’t move back and forth or side to side when you move your head. One way to test if a helmet is fitting you right or not is when you put the helmet on its front should be no more than an inch above your eyebrows. If the front of the helmet is sitting too high from your eyebrows the helmet is probably small for your size. Similarly, if the helmet’s front is sitting below your eyebrows the helmet is too big for you.
But selecting the right fitting helmet is a bit more complicated than putting it on and wiggling your head to see if it moves around. There are many other factors you need to consider when getting a full face helmet and in this article, we will tell you how you can get a mountain bike helmet that fits your needs as well as your head size perfectly so read on.
Know the size of your head before going helmet shopping
One of the most common reasons why full face helmets don’t fit is because people buy them without first knowing what the correct sized helmet is for them. So before you go shopping for your helmet find your head’s measurement with the help of either a measuring tape or a string by wrapping it around your lower forehead. Don’t wrap the measuring tape too tightly around your head and make sure the tape is flexible and not the rigid kind. For more accurate reading take some help from a friend or family member in measuring your head size. Knowing the size of your head will also increase your purchasing options as you can buy your helmet online as well if you are more comfortable with shopping online.
Standard helmet sizes you will find for different head measurements are as follows:
- Small sized full face helmets are ideal for people who have a head diameter between 20 to 21.75 inches.
- Medium sized full face helmets are for people with head diameter between 21.75 to 23.25 inches.
- Large sized full face helmets are for people with a head diameter of 23.5 to 24.75 inches.
Apart from these standard sizes, there is a one size fits all option for men, women, and children respectively. But the most common complaint about one size fits all helmets is that they are not a proper fit and they need to be tightened quite a lot around your head in order for them to actually stay on and that can get a little uncomfortable.
How to make a full face helmet fit better?
In case you are in between sizes and standard small, medium and large size full-face helmets aren’t fitting you properly you can always buy inner liner pads that suit your head and face. Most full face helmets don’t have a rear retention system to hold the helmet in place instead they have pads on the inside that allow the helmet to stay snug on your head so that they don’t move around while riding. Here are some ways you can use these pads to improve the way your helmet fits you.
- Try pads with different widths: Luckily you can easily buy liner pads with different thicknesses for your full face helmet which gives you the freedom to choose the way your helmet fits you. If your helmet feels too tight you can get replacement pads that are less thick than the stock ones so they can fit your head perfectly. Similarly, for a helmet that is moving around on your head or falls forward when looking straight ahead and obstructs your vision, you can find thicker pads to help you find a better.
- Wear cycling headwear under your helmet: If you don’t want to spend money on a new set of pads after you have already spent on a full face helmet then this DYI method might help. Grab a cycling cap or a similar headwear and wear it under your full face helmet if it is not fitting snuggly on your head. The added layer under the helmet will serve as additional padding to fill the space in your helmet and make it fit perfectly.
- Adjust your helmet’s chin strap: The easiest way to adjust your chin strap is by doing a simple test to see if the chin is adjusted properly or not. Try opening your mouth with your chin strap secured and as you try to open your mouth the helmet should press against your head a little bit. If you are able to open your mouth too wide without the helmet pressing against your head then your chin strap is adjusted too wide and it can cause the helmet to fly off your head in case of a fall.
Types of full-face mountain bike helmets
Innovation has made its way into full face mountain bike helmets and there are plenty of options you can choose from to fit your needs. But keep in mind that every variation of full face helmets is meant to fit a certain scenario.
- Enduro Helmets
Generally, full faced helmets become very hot and difficult to breathe in but enduro style full-face helmets are a lightweight and well ventilated variation of full face helmets. Although Enduro helmets are strong and keep the head well protected in case of a small crash but being lightweight they are not suitable for hardcore downhill mountain biking and should only be used by enduro racers.
- Two in one helmet
These type of helmets can be converted into half shell helmets or full-faced downhill helmets thanks to the removable chin of the helmet and this feature makes them a good choice for people who want a helmet that can be used for road riding as well as mountain biking. But then again these convertible helmets aren’t as sturdy as dedicated full-face helmets so they should only be used for casual downhill riding. These helmets were very popular in the late ’90s and early 2000s but they slowly lost their popularity but now they are making a comeback with better materials and their target market is mostly enduro riders.
- Downhill helmets
If you are an adrenalin junky and like to do aggressive downhill runs and enduro riding than it is best to go with downhill mountain bike helmets that are designed for this specific purpose. Downhill full-face mountain bike helmets provide the highest level of protection to the rider in case of an unfortunate high-speed crash. These types of helmets are meant to be worn with goggles for added protection for high-speed downhill runs.
Pros and cons of full-face mountain bike helmets?
- Pros of full-face helmets
- A full-face helmet protects your whole face and your head making it the safest option for you.
- If you are a conscious ride who has confidence issues then a full-face helmet can give you the feeling of confidence you need to improve your skills.
- Most full-face helmets come with goggles and that helps you to protect your eyes from any debris or bugs when riding.
- They are great for when you are hitting the trail during cold weather as they keep the head nice and warm.
- Cons of full-face helmets
- They are not the cheapest option if you are looking for an affordable helmet for yourself.
- They are usually heavier than open face helmets and therefore it takes some time to get used to wearing a full-face helmet.
- Full face helmets aren’t very well ventilated and this poses an issue of not being able to evaporate sweat efficiently when wearing one.
- In case you are doing a lot of paddling in summers, it can get extremely hot in full-faced helmets.
- Riders tend to get a bit too confident after wearing full-face helmets and go for trails or jumps they normally wouldn’t and end up getting hurt. So as long as you know your limits and skill level you should be fine.
Do you really need a full-face helmet?
The bottom line is if you like to go on trails or if you are into some jumps you are always at the risk of injury. While it is true that more weight and lack of ventilation in full-face helmets need some getting used to but it is a small price to pay for complete head and face protection.