Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
I've never had a helmet fit perfectly off the show room floor. I think about the best you can do is try a bunch of them on - you're going to know in the first ten minutes or so if there is an issue with the general shape.
I don't think there is a thing wrong with flattening the foam in select locations up to 1/8 of an of an inch - the thickness of a coat hanger wire - just enough to relieve a pressure spot.
I've "custom fit" my helmets in the past by doing exactly that with the round end of a large ball peen hammer - I gently depressed the foam until it fit "just right". Sometimes 1/32 of an inch is all that's needed. I've also ADDED visco elastic foam to the crown to take up space in helmets that were a bit too large.
I'm sure all the helmet manufacturers would be incredulous that anyone would do something like this to one of their fine products, and would proclaim that it is both dangerous and foolhardy. It would be neccessary to buy a new helmet immediately.
The styrofoam is critically important, since it keeps your brain from slamming into your skull during a sudden stop. Lower G force numbers are always better, unfortunately some of the most expensive top brand helmets (Arai among them) are poor performers. Some of the cheapest (under $150.00) helmets are excellent performers since they have softer styrofoam which slowly decelerates the old grey matter.
Abrasion is an issue, but just about any shell - whether fiberglass or polycarbonate, will perform equally well.
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