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Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Chef Alton Brown: BMWs, Books, Good Eats & Iron Chef America
Issue Fourteen
November 8, 2004
Alton Brown:
Talks Bikes, Books, & Good Eats
Helmet Guide:
What to Look For
2004 BMW X3 2.5i Sport
2005 Chrysler 300C Hemi
iPod FM Transmitter Review
Coming Next Issue
Chip Foose
BMW 760Li
VW Phaeton W12
Prepare for Winter

How To Choose A Helmet:
Head Games (continued)

Bell M3 Helmet

Inside the Bell Helmet

Bell Helmet Technology

Official Web sites:
Snell Web Site
Arai Americas
Bell Racing
While certifications are important, a proper fit is critical - if the helmet doesn't stay in place during an impact, it can't properly do its job. A helmet should never be uncomfortable - it should fit snugly, but shouldn't cause headaches or uncomfortable pressure at any one place. The old saying used to go, "You should be able to sleep with your helmet on."

When trying on a helmet, you'll want to make sure that the helmet fits your head properly - the helmet should "ride" on your brow/forehead area, with an even, uniform pressure. Pressure should not be excessive or concentrated in any one area. The top of your head should make contact with the helmet as well.

Tighten the chin strap so that it rests snugly under your jaw, at the point where your jaw meets with your neck - just above the throat. Never wear your chin strap "on your chin" (like a football helmet). With the chinstrap secured, try to roll the helmet forward or backward - try your hardest to slide the helmet off your head. The helmet should not rotate forward or backward enough to impede your vision or expose your forehead. If it does, the helmet doesn't fit properly.

Finally, stand in front of a mirror and "twist" (or rotate) the helmet left to right and front to back. The skin on your forehead should move as you move the helmet. If it doesn't, the helmet is too loose.

A quality shop will have plenty of helmets for you to try, and each brand of helmet has a somewhat unique fit. If an Arai doesn't suit your head style, try a Bell. If the Bell doesn't fit properly, try a Bieffe, and so on. Keep trying helmets until you find one that fits properly and carries Snell certification.

Your head is the single most important asset to yourself and your vehicle. Rather than making a hasty, last-minute decision about buying the one device than can literally save your life, take some time to research your next helmet purchase and be sure to try the helmet on for proper fit. And finally, before you place an order for your helmet online, make sure that the manufacturer supports online purchases. Arai, for instance will not extend its warranty to helmets that are purchased online or through mail or phone methods - the fit is critical, and Arai would like you to visit an authorized dealer to make certain your helmet fits properly.

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