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How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Helmet

Selecting the right motorcycle helmet is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your safety, comfort, and overall riding experience. With a myriad of helmet styles, materials, and technologies available, making the right choice can seem daunting.

However, by understanding the key factors to consider - including helmet size, shape, safety standards, and additional features - you can find a helmet that not only keeps you protected on the road, but also enhances your journey. This guide aims to help you navigate through the helmet selection process, ensuring you make a well-informed choice tailored to your unique riding needs.

Finding the perfect fit for your head

A helmet is only as effective as its fit. A snug helmet will provide optimal protection, while one that's too loose or too tight can compromise both safety and comfort. Start by measuring your head's circumference at its widest point - above your eyebrows and ears and around the back of your head. Most helmet manufacturers provide sizing charts based on these measurements.

Bear in mind, though, that not all heads are the same shape. Helmets typically come in three shapes: round oval, intermediate oval, and long oval. Identify your head shape by observing the front-to-back and side-to-side dimensions - a round oval shape is as wide as it is long, while a long oval is longer in the front-to-back than the side-to-side.

Finally, when trying on a helmet, ensure it sits squarely on your head, with the helmet's top just above your eyebrows. It should be snug but not uncomfortably tight. Remember, your helmet will break in over time, so it should start by fitting very snugly.

We go into all of these elements in more detail below, but first, it's important to understand more about the safety features of motorcycle helmets and the safety ratings in New Zealand.

Types of motorcycle helmets

Once you’ve found the right size and fit for your helmet, you can start looking at the different types of motorcycle helmets available. From full-face helmets to open-face helmets, there are a variety of styles and designs to choose from. With the right size and fit, you’ll be sure to find the perfect motorcycle helmet for your needs.

Full Face Road Motorcycle Helmet
 Full-Face Helmets: These provide the most protection as they cover the entire head and face. They usually feature a movable visor and ventilation system.
Open Face Motorcycle Helmet
Open-Face Helmets: Also known as "3/4 helmets," they cover the top, back, and sides of the head but leave the face exposed. They offer more ventilation than full-face helmets.
Modular Motorcycle Helmet


Modular Helmets: These are a hybrid between full-face and open-face helmets. They feature a flip-up visor and chin bar, offering flexibility between the protection of a full-face helmet and the ventilation of an open-face one.

Motocross Helmet

Off-Road/Motocross Helmets: These helmets are designed for off-road riding. They feature extended visors and a pronounced chin bar but typically lack a visor, as riders usually wear goggles.

Dual Sport Adventure Helmet

Dual-Sport Helmets: Designed for both on-road and off-road use, these helmets are a versatile choice. They feature a peak and an extended visor and chin bar, but with added comfort for long-distance road travel.


Helmet shape and your head

When it comes to choosing the right motorcycle helmet, the shape of your head is an important factor. Different helmet shapes are designed to fit different head shapes, so it’s important to find the right helmet shape for your head.

To determine the shape of your head, measure the circumference of your head and compare it to the helmet size chart. This will help you find the right helmet shape for your head.

There are three main shapes to consider:

  • Round Oval: This shape is almost as long as it is wide, with a more equal length and width. Helmets designed for round oval head shapes will accommodate those with fuller cheekbones and a rounded forehead.
  • Intermediate Oval: The most common head shape, this is slightly longer from front to back than it is from side to side. Helmets designed for intermediate oval head shapes are ideal for people with a head that is short from front to back and wide from side to side.
  • Long Oval: Helmets for this head shape are significantly longer from front to back than they are from side to side. This is the ideal shape for individuals with a narrow head and slim face.

Sizing your head for a motorcycle helmet

Sizing your head for a motorcycle helmet is an important step in finding the perfect fit.

To size your head, measure the circumference of your head with a tape measure. Make sure to measure from the forehead, around the back of the head, and back to the forehead. Once you have your measurements, compare them to the helmet size chart to find the right size for your head.

We always recommend getting a friend to help with the measuring for a more accurate reading. We would also recommend measuring twice.

Here is a table that represents standard motorcycle helmet measurements:

Helmet Size

Head Circumference (cm)
















Please note that these sizes might differ slightly based on the brand and model of the helmet. Always refer to the specific size chart provided by the manufacturer to ensure the best fit for your head shape and size.

How should a motorcycle helmet fit?

Once you’ve found the right size for your head, it’s important to make sure that the helmet fits properly.

The helmet should fit snugly on your head, without being too tight or too loose.

The helmet should also sit low on your forehead, with the bottom edge of the helmet just above your eyebrows.

Finally, make sure that the chin strap is securely fastened and that the helmet does not move when you shake your head.

Motorcycle helmet safety ratings in New Zealand

In New Zealand, motorcycle helmets must meet certain safety standards before they can be legally sold and worn. There are two approved standards for helmets in New Zealand: the Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 1698, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe standard ECE 22.05.

Helmets that meet the AS/NZS 1698 must bear the mark or label of the standard, while those that meet the ECE 22.05 are required to bear a label indicating the approval number. Notably, New Zealand accepts helmets approved by certain international bodies such as the Snell Memorial Foundation (USA) and the British Standards Institute (BSI).

Remember that safety ratings are not just simple letters or numbers. They represent rigorous testing processes assessing different aspects of the helmet's performance, including impact absorption, penetration resistance, retention system effectiveness, and field of vision. Thus, understanding these ratings is crucial for making an informed decision about your helmet purchase.

Manufacturer Helmet Size Guides

Choosing the right helmet is challenging and that's why we are always happy to provide advice and guidance on choosing the right helmet for your needs at MR MOTO. Whether you visit us in-store at our Pukekohe showroom or give us a call, our team of experts will be more than happy to help you find the perfect helmet.