Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - Choos­ing the right-size lid

Se­lect­ing the right pro­tec­tion for your head is vi­tal not only for safety, but per­for­mance too

Safety equip­ment in mo­tor­sport is con­stantly im­prov­ing, with new stan­dards gov­ern­ing its use by drivers at all lev­els from Formula 1 all the way down to club rac­ing, in all of which com­peti­tors are re­quired to be kit­ted out in Fia-ap­proved gear.

The most es­sen­tial piece of the en­sem­ble is the driver’s hel­met, which can make the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death in the event of a crash.

Un­der­stand­ably, it’s paramount for drivers to have a hel­met that fits per­fectly. Too loose and it risks not pro­tect­ing the driver in an ac­ci­dent, and in a worst-case sce­nario could even come off. Too tight and it will cause dis­com­fort and have a knock-on ef­fect on per­for­mance.

But mis­un­der­stand­ings about what to look for in a hel­met still per­vade, so what should con­sumers keep in mind when try­ing on and buy­ing their lid?

Gareth Evans is show­room man­ager at racewear sup­plier De­mon Tweeks and has been help­ing cus­tomers with hel­met fit­tings for more than 16 years. In his ex­pe­ri­ence there are sev­eral key points to con­sider. “You’re look­ing out for pres­sure points,” he says. “You want the hel­met to fit so it’s nice and snug, but you don’t want it to feel like it’s push­ing on the skull, such as on the front of the head, the crown of the head and on the side of the ears.

“You want to make sure your eye­line is in the mid­dle of the open­ing and that the hel­met pushes on your cheeks, but not with too much pres­sure so when you move it your face moves with it.”

As well as se­lect­ing the right size of hel­met, the choice of brand can be just as im­por­tant.

Evans sug­gests that cus­tomers can’t just as­sume that any brand will fit them, and that dif­fer­ent makes suit dif­fer­ent peo­ple de­pend­ing on the size and shape of their head. Or­der­ing on­line can there­fore be a risk. “I would al­ways rec­om­mend if they can get to us or an­other re­tailer to try on the hel­met,” he adds.

One of the most daunt­ing as­pects of se­lect­ing a hel­met is the vast se­lec­tion on of­fer, not only from dif­fer­ent brands but also the va­ri­ety of mod­els from the same com­pany.

To com­pete in any Mo­tor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion- cer­ti­fied event, com­peti­tors will need a hel­met that is FIA/SNELL ap­proved. Prices vary from £400 to more than £2000, and ac­cord­ing to Evans the key dif­fer­ence is the ma­te­ri­als used in the con­struc­tion, which as well as strength can af­fect light­ness and aero ef­fi­ciency.

“For ex­am­ple, the Bell Pro Se­ries hel­mets are made of ad­vanced car­bon and com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate a strong, lightweight shell,” he says. “The Sport range is made from stan­dard com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als and has been through the same tests, but is not as light as some of the higher-range op­tions.”

The ad­vice is al­ways buy the most ex­pen­sive hel­met you can af­ford, but most im­por­tantly one that fits cor­rectly.

“You want the hel­met to fit so it’s nice and snug”

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