Proper Helmet Fitting

Thank you to Troxel for allowing us to republish this post.


You’ve made the smart choice to wear a certified helmet when you ride. The next step is to make sure it’s the right helmet for you – not your best friend, or your sister or brother.

Tips for finding the helmet meant for you:

  • Helmets come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Have fun trying on lots, and don’t rush your choice.
  • The helmet that fits your friend may not be the best for you, even if you look like the same size. Certain helmets fit some head shapes better. Be open to the right one for you.
  • When you go shopping, wear your hair the way you’ll be wearing it when you ride. A ponytail, clips, headband, or other style can change the way a helmet fits.
  • The helmet should feel snug around the entire head without pressure. Shake your head. If there’s no motion, that’s a good sign that it fits.
  • It should sit level on your head, covering your forehead. The visor’s brim should be about 1 inch (about the width of two fingers) from your eyebrow.
  • When you buckle and adjust the retention system, the chin strap should fit snugly and you should feel comfortable in your helmet.
  • Wear it around the store. If it gives you a headache, it’s too tight. It should become less noticeable and more comfortable as you wear it.
  • Don’t buy a helmet that’s too big, thinking it will fit next year. You need one that fits well now!

Fitting your helmet correctly is as important as wearing one. Fortunately, fitting your helmet can be done in three easy steps.


Using a fitting chart (see chart at bottom of the page), narrow down which helmets to try (you can use your hat size as a guide, if you know it, or measure around your head to get a size in inches or centimeters) and then just start sampling helmets to see how they feel.

To be effective, the helmet must fit firmly but comfortably. A helmet that is too loose may shift position as you ride, possibly reducing the helmet’s protective potential, and one that fits too tightly may cause discomfort.


The helmet should sit level on your head, with the front edge just above your eyebrows. (See illustration)

The helmet should not easily roll forward or backward. When you do move the helmet, it should move the skin around your eyebrows. If the skin doesn’t move, the helmet is likely too large. The helmet should feel snug around the entire head without pressure points.

If you feel gaps between your head and the side of the helmet, remove the helmet and engage the Flip-Fold ™pads in the areas that have gaps by folding the pads under to connect with the hook and loop fasteners on the inside of the helmet. Smooth the helmet liner with your hand, and try the helmet on again. If the helmet still feels too loose, consider a smaller size.

Buy the helmet size you need now – don’t plan to grow into your helmet. When you think you have the right size, bow deeply with the retention system unbuckled. If the helmet feels like it may fall off, you may need a smaller size.


After the helmet fits the crown of the head snuggly, it is time to adjust the retention system. Proper adjustment of the fit pads and retention system should be checked each time you wear the helmet to be sure your adjustments have not changed, but generally, once the retention system is adjusted properly, you won’t have to adjust it much more.

All Troxel helmets have a retention system made of webbing and quick-release buckles, and most also have a GPS™ (Gripper Positioning System) stabilizing system or CinchFit™ system . The GPS™/CinchFit is not part of the safety of your helmet, nor is it part of the ASTM testing of your Troxel helmet.


Fasten the chinstrap buckle. Adjust each slide glide so that it sits directly below the ear, as in the illustration below.

Next, adjust the webbing next to the male end of the buckle until there is no slack in the strap and fits snugly under your jaw without causing discomfort. You should only be able to fit two fingers between the strap and under the chin. If you yawn, you should feel the retention straps pull the helmet down on the top your head more.


Once the straps are the correct length, pass the loose ends through both of the two rubber o-rings and move the outside o-ring to the end of the strap. See the illustration below.

Please note that the ends of the straps may be of different lengths due to the individual adjustment of the slide guides.

If there is a GPS system in your helmet, this is the time to adjust it until you feel it snug against the back of the head. Turn the dial of your GPS II up to three clicks or pinch the black buttons on the back of your GPS III to reduce the space between the GPS system and your neck. Note: for the GPS III, taking the helmet off and using both hands can make adjustment easier.  Place both of your thumbs on the arch of the GPS III and apply gentle, even pressure as you adjust the two buttons toward the center. Excessive force can cause the GPS III to disconnect from the helmet, as it is designed to do in the case of an accident. The CinchFit can be adjusted by simply using the snaps on the elastic straps.


A proper-fitting helmet will feel firmly-connected to the crown of your head with evenly-distributed snugness in the retention system. There should not be any pressure points. With the chinstrap still securely fastened, the helmet should not move significantly if you tried to roll it off your head. If you can, the helmet is too big. Troxel stresses the importance of snugly adjusting and buckling the retention system for every ride. Troxel helmets utilize a simple, quick release buckle retention system that, once adjusted, can be buckled and unbuckled without changing the adjustment.


Helmets must fit properly for optimum performance. Don’t guess your size. To ensure a proper fit, take a tailor’s measuring tape and measure around your head above the ears and just above your eyebrows.

If your head size is :

Head size (inches) 20 3/8 20 3/4 21 1/4 21 5/8 22 22 3/8 22 3/4 23 1/8 23 1/2 24 24 3/8
Head size (cm) 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62
Hat size 6 1/2 6 5/8 6 3/4 6 7/8 7 7 1/8 7 1/4 7 3/8 7 1/2 7 5/8 7 3/4

Helmets must be securely and snugly fastened before engaging in any activity.

To find the most comfortable fit for your helmet, follow Troxel’s fitting guide.


  1. Karen Vining says:

    I need better sunshading for my eyes. I need a longer visor. Couldn’t you make a flexible visor that is attached to the helmet that is at least 3 ” long. Don’t you see those huge soft visors that people are adding to their helmets? I wear a ball cap under my helmet, and it is uncomfortable.

  2. Eunice Shumalski says:

    3 years ago I fell off my horse onto the road and landed on my head. I was kept in a coma for 3 1/2 weeks because of swelling. If I didn’t have my helmet on I would not have survived. There was a very long recovery time.

    Last year I went to Arcadia in Maine with a girlfriend to help take care of her driving horse. She did not want to drive with a helmet, since her hat was very fancy. I would not get in her carriage until she put her helmet on. There was an accident. Her back and legs were scraped raw on the road. You could see by the damage done to the helmet that her brain would have taken a beating.

    Please, please wear a helmet at all times around the barn. It’s easy to get a head injury just by a horse slinging his head around. Quality of life is important.

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