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Apologies in advance for repetition of previous info or discussion, but have been reading prior posts as best I can to find info on the best way or ideas to try on helmets. My wife wants a new helmet (full face). She began to find her current Bell version was not too comfy on longer rides (1 hour+) last year. Problem is, she thinks she has some unconventional "fitting" issues, 1) too tight around the ears (side to side), 2) it also feels better without the cheek pads in, but without the pads, it is too loose. Fine, I understand it needs to fit well, but where do you go to try on these helmets to have any idea where to begin. Its a helmet and I'll get her whatever she wants price wise, but before we start spending money and returning the discards, are there any known retail locations that stock a decent variety of better helmets? We've been to several dealers, but usually very disappointing selection. Would appreciate anyone sharing a positive experience or guidance. FWIW, nearest metro area is Chicago. Many thanks!
 

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Something you may want to look in to is changing out some of the padding in the helmet. Kind of like custom fitting it. You can buy replacement cheek pads for most brands of helmets and for the most part they use the same shell or 2 different shells. You can get a Large helmet then order the XL cheek pads if she needs more room in that part of her face.
 

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I don't know if you can do that will bells but I know you can with AFX between some of their sizes. That is what my wife and I have. She has a large and I have an XL. When I was installing the Scala riders in them I got the pads mixed up and wondered why mine felt a little snugger in the cheeks and smelled like foundation :confused:
 

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She may need to look into a different BRAND.

Sometimes when you read helmet reviews you'll find that one helmet is more 'round' and another more 'oblong'. Pads are one thing but if the shape of the helmet is no good it'll never fit.

Go to a dealership with a good helmet selection and try some on from various brands. The general rule of thumb for full face fit is that you should be able to stick a finger in between your forehead and the liner but it should be a tight fit, and when you twist the helmet side to side it should push/drag your cheeks along with it (but not be so tight you can't talk). Keep in mind overtime the padding will 'break in' so it SHOULD be a tag snug/tight when new.

I found that Bell helmets are a no go for me, I also had trouble getting Arai helmets to fit, but Shoei and HJC seemed to fit well. I currently have an HJC CL-16 that I've had for a couple years, and I've ridden several hours at a time with it on.

Is there a CycleGear in Chicago? I bet you'll find a helmet there. Beyond that, dealers that specialize in sportbikes (usually something like 'powersports' in the name) will have a better selection. We got our helmets from a dealer that mostly sells sportbikes, dirtbikes, and ATV's. Cruiser-specific and Harley dealerships aren't likely to have more than a selection of half lids and maybe a couple 3/4 helmets.

Now, if it fits in the forehead and around her head and is just TIGHT, not 'hot spots' in certain areas, replacing cheek pads may be the ticket! Just need to determine what the situation is. Also, how new is the helmet? Ours were both pretty tight for the first month or so but eventually the pads broke down and became a little easier. I'd prefer for it to be tight at first and soften up, than to be comfortable at first than then too loose afterwards.
 

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I don't know if you can do that will bells but I know you can with AFX between some of their sizes. That is what my wife and I have. She has a large and I have an XL. When I was installing the Scala riders in them I got the pads mixed up and wondered why mine felt a little snugger in the cheeks and smelled like foundation :confused:
Ha! I did the same thing cleaning the helmets (pads are washable). I stuck it on and couldn't even get it over my head. I wear an xtra large. My wife wears and xtra xtra small, the very smallest 'adult' size HJC had, we thought we were going to have to order a youth helmet for her! With HJC they only have three shell sizes, small, large, and XXXL. My helmet is the 'large' shell with the 'XL' cheek pads. You can continue to get the smaller cheek pads until you hit the XXXL helmet. Hers is a small shell with the XXS cheek pads. So yeah, they didn't really work well in my helmet!
 

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Here is a link to Webbikeworlds helmet reviews.
This list is sorted by helmet shapes. They have an enormous amount of information about helmets, if you take the time to read it.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-helmets/motorcycle-helmet-shapes.htm

Anyway, many brands have styles that are meant to fit different head shapes. For instance the Arai profile is a narrow helmet while the Arai Quantum II is a round helmet.
If you try a couple on and make sure to get the MFG and Model; you can then check against the list to find what shape and then narrow it to a few different models.

That is what I and my wife did and we both got helmets we are happy with on the internet, sight unseen.

Scott
 

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What I did to find my full helmet was I found a motorcycle accessories dealer , he only sells accessories not bikes, he had every brand under the sun, I got to try on all brands and all styles. I tried the dealers but they are to selective. I did a quick search in your area, it seems you have a few stores that sell just accessories.
 

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If you are any where near Aurora, IL. Try out fox Valley Cycles, on Hill St. They have a large selection of various brands and styles but most importantly the have a great staff of knowledgeable people. I don't know squat about giving advise on helmets so I won't interject here other than the recommendation above. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to ALL for all the good info. The info from webbikeworld was especially helpful as it provides us some perspective on what NOT to look at/for. And the reference to Valley cycles may be worth a trip.

Thanks again, everyone.
 

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A few month ago I went through the same thing you are looking for a full helmet for the cold weather riding season.
The site Scott posted was very helpful in weeding out which stiles and brands to look for and the ones to stay away from.
The ear thing was my big hang up, it seemed if I found one big enough to put on without ripping them off it wobbled around on my head like a wash bucket. The solution for me wound up being a modular helmet, I can open the chin bar pull the lower edges apart and put the helmet on without abusing my ears.
Models that were bluetooth or headphone ready also seemed to have softer lining around the ears.
For me it came down to the hjc is max, good luck.
 

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I only buy my helmets where I can try them on. And I usually have to go from store to store to find on that fits right. My last purchase was a full face and I tried on helmets from 6 different manufacturers before finding one that fit me correctly. When I bought this helmet I noticed 2 very small scratches. I mentioned the and they knocked $25 bucks off the price. It ended up costing me less than buying it online!
 

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Modular

A few month ago I went through the same thing you are looking for a full helmet for the cold weather riding season.
The site Scott posted was very helpful in weeding out which stiles and brands to look for and the ones to stay away from.
The ear thing was my big hang up, it seemed if I found one big enough to put on without ripping them off it wobbled around on my head like a wash bucket. The solution for me wound up being a modular helmet, I can open the chin bar pull the lower edges apart and put the helmet on without abusing my ears.
Models that were bluetooth or headphone ready also seemed to have softer lining around the ears.
For me it came down to the hjc is max, good luck.
I too went to a modular. I wear glasses and it's damn near impossible to get them through the eye slot of a FF. And I can't spread the average FF apart far enough to clear them. The modular cured the issue.
 
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