Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Bike Helmets for Unusual Head Shapes

Summary: Although only one manufacturer in Europe makes custom helmets, here are some ideas for making a standard helmet fit your unusual head shape.

Riders with unusual head shapes often find it difficult to find a bike helmet that fits.

As far as we know, nobody makes a custom bicycle helmet. It would be prohibitively expensive to design one, make the molds, produce enough samples and have it certified by a test lab to the legally-required CPSC standard. With administrative and other overhead costs a manufacturer would have to budget $25,000 or more to produce the one helmet.

The best advice we can offer is to get a larger helmet and add fitting pads where needed. You would need enough padding to be sure that the helmet is stable on your head so that it is in place when you crash. We have a page up on larger helmets.

You may have better luck with one of the one-size-fits-all helmets, with what we call ring fit. They are sized with a band around the head rather than fitting pads. That might work out better for your head shape, but since the helmet will probably be larger than you would normally require, you may need to glue in pads to be sure it will be stable on your head.

Denting or shaving down the inside of the stiff foam liner to make the helmet fit you would reduce your protection, so that would not be an optimal choice.

You might want to start with one of the helmets that has extra rear coverage, since those are inherently more stable on your head. We identified some of those in this section of our review of helmets for 2013.

Depending on your head shape, it might help to start with a rounder helmet that fits Asian heads. That might give you more room where you need it, depending on your head shape. If so, take a look at our page for rounder heads.

There is now one custom helmet manufacturer, but they make only helmets certified to the European EN1078 standard, so they would not pass the US CPSC standard and are not yet available in the US market. The company is HEXR. They produce custom helmets with a 3D printed liner of hexagonal honeycomb cells that crush on impact. The liner is custom made for the wearer's head, using data from a head scan. Scans can be done in London, or at home with an iPad. This helmet might be the answer for riders with unusual head shapes. We don't know what the maximum and minimum sizes would be. There is no model for children. The HEXR sells for €300, including the head scan. The concept of scanning heads at home offers promise for fitting helmets of all types, even off-the-shelf models. Eventually manufacturers might be able to match a scan of your unique head with a model that can be made to fit.