Helmets for Large Heads
Summary: There are some helmets on the market that fit larger heads. And if they seem to perch on top of your head, we have some ideas for that problem.
Some riders need extra extra large helmets. That includes some with medical conditions that result in very large head sizes, and some who just have naturally large heads.
Over the decades, the average American's head size has increased. Manufacturers are aware of this long term trend, but until the 2005 model year they apparently doubted that there is a large enough market for extra large helmets to make a profit on them. Up until then, only Bell had produced an XXL model, fitting up to 8 1/4 or 26" circumference heads. (We have a sizing page for converting fraction/inch/cm sizes.)
Beginning in 2005 the choices expanded. Vigor introduced a helmet called the Duo that they advertised as fitting 26.0 inch/66 cm. heads, equal to the Kinghead. It is not in their current lineup. In 2007 they added the Vigor Royal, again a 26 inch helmet, but skate style, and again not in their current line. Several other brands now have extra extra large (XXL) helmets:
- Bontrager Quantum: fits up to 26.0"/66cm heads.
- Fly Racing BMX/motorcycle models: Trophy II, Gmax GMX-46X, Gmax GMX-46Y, fit up to 26.0"/66cm heads.
- Bell XLV: fits heads up to 25.6/65cm.
- Bell XLP: fits heads up to 25.6/65cm.
- Bern Brentwood: fits heads up to 25"/63.5cm
- Bern Macon: fits heads up to 25"/63.5cm
- Cratoni C-Stream: fits up to 25.6/65cm heads. (rounder interior)
- Louis Garneau Quartz: fits up to 25.6/65cm heads.
- Uvex X-Ride/X-Fit: fits up to 65 cm (25.6 inch) heads. Can be ordered from Wheelfine Imports.
- LAS Big Devil: fits up to 25.2"/64cm heads.
<>I>Lazer Neon: fits up to 25.2"/64cm heads.
- Etto Vortex: fits up to 25.2"/64cm heads.
- Specialized Max: fits up to 25.2"/64cm heads.
- Vigor NOX: fits up to 25.6"/65cm heads.
- Giro Atlas II: fits up to 24.8"/63cm heads.
- Ked City: fits up to "64cm +" (25.2" +) heads.
- Ked Neo Visor: fits up to 64cm (25.2 inch) heads.
- Limar Big One: fits up to 24.8"/63cm heads.
- Louis Garneau Olympus and Arcterus: fit up to 24.8"/63cm heads, but some emailers tell us that Garneau's larger sizes fit them better than others. One who has a large Asian head with a rounder profile found that the Arcterus fit him well.
- Netti Quantum Pro: fits up to 24.8"/63cm heads.
- Specialized Max Adult XXL: advertised at 64cm, but fits some who found the Trek and Bell helmets listed above were too small.
- Nutcase: Skate style helmet, L/XL advertised as 64cm. A shop specializing in large bikes for large people informs us that the Nutcase in L/XL fits many customers who have large heads.
You can find comments on each of these helmets in our Helmets for the Current Season article.
Many tape measures are not accurate. Measuring your head is not very precise, either, so the numbers above should not be taken as exact.
Success in fitting a large head depends on the shape as well as the size. Some emailers report that they can use a smaller size with some helmets due to the shape, or that one helmet with the same measurements has more room for them than another. That depends on the individual head shape and the interior profile used by the manufacturer, both difficult for us to pin down and best determined by a fitting. We do note that the Cratoni Radon seems to work better for rounder heads. We have more on that on our page about helmets for rounder heads. That can also mean more room for a wider head.
You may have already tried one of these helmets, and of course you have already tried removing most or all of the foam fitting pads. That is the only way to make more room for your head without modifying the helmet in a way that reduces protection.
Perched on top of your head?
If most helmets seem to perch on top of your head, leaving the sides uncovered, there are some options. First you can take out the fitting pads in the top to move the helmet further down. You can also use a larger helmet with more headroom, putting thicker fitting pads on the sides. If you are lucky, you can fit in one of the bike helmets with additional side coverage, like the
THE F-20, Giant Realm, Fox Flux, POC Trabec, Pro-Tec Cyphon and SixSixOne Recon. See our page on helmets for the current season for more info on them. Or if you can stand the lack of ventilation, one of the skate-style helmets noted in the list above may work for you.
We do not know of any manufacturer now producing extra large custom helmets. The tooling to do that would be expensive, and they would have to produce extras for the lab testing to certify the helmet as a new model. As new liner materials become available it may become more practical to produce a custom helmet, but the extra large outer shell would still be a problem, and the testing would still be required.
And the future: Register your needs
If demand becomes more evident, more large helmets will appear on the market. We have tried to help by giving helmet manufacturers at ASTM helmet standards committee meetings copies of letters from consumers who were searching desperately for larger helmets, and suggesting to the manufacturers that there might be money to be made making a larger helmet. It could help if more people needing large helmets would contact the manufacturers. Here are a few selling in the US market:
Please let us know with an email if you find other good solutions to this problem that we can pass on to the next person with a very large head, or if you find a helmet that works particularly well with your head shape.
This page was last revised on: December 7, 2013.
Email us about your experience with big helmets.