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. Here are the largest models we know of:
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. We have a sizing page for converting fraction/inch/cm sizes.
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. For longer, narrower heads we have received good comments about the Bontrager Quantum, some from riders who have tried many other helmets.
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.
HydrocephalusThis disorder results in very large heads. Unfortunately, we do not know of any manufacturer who makes helmets to respond to this need. An extensive search by a Florida hospital in the fall of 2016 failed to find a source for a bike helmet for hydrocephalitic heads.
Custom Helmet?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 certification testing would still be required.
And the future: Register your needsOver 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 was 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. In the years since then, more manufacturers are making larger sizes, but still not large enough for some heads.
If demand becomes more evident, more large helmets will appear on the market. We have tried to help by highlighting this need to helmet manufacturers at ASTM helmet standards committee meetings 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:
And at least one in Japan, made for rounder heads, the OGK Kabuto Steair-X. See our page on rounder heads.
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.
Here is our page on helmets for very small heads.
This page was updated or partially revised on: November 4, 2016.