VIDEO: Shoei VFX-EVO Personal Fitment System


Helmets are only as good as they fit. Not only is proper fitment a matter of comfort, it plays a critical role in how effective a helmet is in the event of an impact. Overall, many riders have a helmet that is too big for their head (Shoei calls this “oversizing”), which makes sense if you don’t have typical head shape. Even saying that there is a typical head shape is a bit misleading because, according to Matthias Beier, Marketing Coordinator at Shoei North America, “heads are like snowflakes or fingerprints, no two are the same.” This is why Shoei has the PFS or Personal Fitting System to customize the fit of its VFX-EVO motocross helmet. 

Why a lot of riders oversize their helmets, including me, is that one aspect of their head fits best in larger size helmet where, in a smaller helmet, that part of the head would be a pressure point. Meaning, either the length, width, or height of a person’s head is one size, and the other two measurements are a smaller size, or even possibly different sizes. This sounds confusing but I’ll use my head as an example. According to Shoei, my head’s height is 96 mm, which is the correct height for a Shoei size Large helmet. But the width is 155 mm, which fits best in a Medium helmet. To make things even weirder, the length of my head is 199 mm, the proper length for a size Small size helmet. 

NOTE: All helmet manufacturers are different and any reference to helmet size is referring to Shoei’s sizing. 

Mr. Moichi Tsuzuki, President of SHOEI North America, uses the measuring device to get width, height, and length of my head.

Hopefully you guys and gals don’t have such strange shaped heads, but you can see that when trying on a helmet, it would make sense for a rider to pick a larger size to accommodate one or more measurement that is higher than the others. To further complicate matters, I have a wide face (upper jaw area in front of the ear) and chubby cheeks. Therefore, a size Large helmet fit my face and the height of my head comfortably, but I had a too much room front to back. Side to side was less of an issue because my face and jaw held the helmet snug. 

This is a more common use of custom padding. It is for riders with flat, but long head shapes, the opposite of my head.

After doing the PFS, we concluded that I should be wearing a Medium VFX-EVO, with skinnier cheek pads (31 mm, down from the standard 34 mm) to relieve the pressure in front of my ears. They also would add a little padding front and rear to tighten up the length. But, Matthias was also able to replace the standard center pad in the size Large helmet I already had with the optional larger center pad (13 mm from 9 mm) to snug up the crown area, while also adding thicker pads front and rear to compensate for my short head. In the large, he left the standard 34 mm cheek pads since the overall size of the helmet is larger than the Medium. This set up in the VFX-EVO size Large helmet gave me a very similar feel to the Medium with smaller cheek pads. 

There are a ton of options to customize the fit of the Shoei VFX-EVO.

A lot of helmet companies talk about fit in terms of oval shape or round shape. The VFX-EVO is an intermediate oval shape (some other helmets are short oval or long oval). Speaking in generalities, European/American head shapes are typically more on the oval side where Asian head shapes are more on the round side. There are obviously exceptions, like me, that are somewhere in between. Even with my measurements, I still have a somewhat oval head shape since Shoei had a Asian fit Medium street bike helmet for me to try and it was too short front-to-back. 

So what does all this mean for you? Well, even in this modern age of e-commerce, “try before you buy” is truly the only way to go when shopping for a motocross helmet. Also, when trying on a helmet, think about how it fits the crown of your head (above the ears) more than how it feels around your jaw and cheeks. More often than not, a helmet company will offer thicker and thinner cheek pads for any size helmet to fine tune the fit. Some helmet companies, like Shoei, also offer thicker or thinner center pads to further customize the fit. Also, if you own a Shoei and live in SoCal or will be visiting, give them a call at (714) 730-0941 or send an email ([email protected]) to see about getting a PFS session. As of right now, they are trying to figure out the most efficient way to expand the PFS program to other parts of the country and select events so they can reach more Shoei owners. 

If you have a VFX-EVO here is a link to the optional cheek and center pads. Also check out the Shoei VFX-EVO in our Product Guide.