How To Reline a Motorcycle Helmet The Right Way

Do you have a helmet that you’d love to reline and are wondering how to do it? Maybe you’re not sure whether you can do it at all. Read on to find out more about relining a motorcycle helmet.

Quick Answer

Not only is it possible to reline a motorcycle, but it is also a relatively easy project to take on. Most modern helmets are made with easy-to-replace liners that allow you to change things up when your helmet gets worn, old, or stinky. If you are looking to reline a vintage helmet, that can be done too.

For instructions on how to reline your helmet and some tips on how to keep your helmet clean and in good condition, read on.


Step-By-Step Instructions To Reline A Motorcycle Helmet

Relining a motorcycle might sound daunting, or if you are the do-it-yourself type, you might be thinking it sounds like fun! Whatever the case may be, keep reading for instructions on how to reline a motorcycle helmet.

What Will I Need?

If your helmet needs some refreshing, prepare the following items:

  • Adhesive Remover – This will be used to remove any adhesive or glue that may have stuck to the shell of your helmet after removing the liner.
  • Adhesive Glue – Depending on the liner, you may need to glue parts of it into place with proper adhesive.
  • Baby Shampoo – For the best cleaning of your liner, use a gentle shampoo.
  • Cloth Rag – It’s always good to keep a rag on hand. Cleaning, gluing, and sticking can lead to a whole lot of mess.

And of course…

  • The New Liner – Helmet liners can be found in your local motorcycle repair shop, big-box auto shop, and online. Amazon is the go-to place for virtually everything these days and helmet liners are no exception. Just make sure you type in the correct model number of your helmet and purchase accordingly. Helmet liners will range in price but are on average $40-$60.

You may also need:

  • Cheek and neck pads if yours seem worn out and don’t fit snuggly to your face

How To Remove And Replace Helmet Padding

Now that you have everything you need to remove and replace your helmet padding, follow the steps below to reline your helmet.

Step 1: Remove the padding. Examine your helmet and find the pads that line it. You will find cheek pads on either side of your helmet connected to the straps and velcro. Simply pull these out by slipping your fingers underneath the pads where you can find wiggle room. It may also help to use an adhesive remover and a cloth to unstick any padding that is too difficult to pull out.

Step 2: Remove the lining that was underneath the padding. Underneath the padding, you will find another layer. The interior liner of your helmet can be removed by lifting and pulling the entire piece out of the helmet. You might feel or hear a tearing sound as the liner is sometimes attached to Velcro. If the helmet liner was glued down, as such with vintage helmets, go ahead and use the adhesive remover to detach it from the base.

Step 3: Clean the interior of your helmet. Now that the padding and liner have been removed from your helmet, go ahead and give it a good cleaning. You don’t necessarily need to wash and scrub your entire helmet but do use the adhesive remover and a cloth to clean out any sticky stuff that might get in the way of a new liner and pads.

Step 4:  Replace the liner and padding. After having removed all the pieces inside your helmet, putting them back in should be a breeze. Take the new padding and attach it to your helmet by fitting it snugly into the helmet. Note, a snug fit is very important for safety. If needed, replace the liner over the padding with some adhesive glue.

Cleaning Instructions For My Helmet: How To Machine Wash A Helmet Liner?

If you are replacing the liner in a vintage helmet or if your helmet has been through some rough conditions and simply needs to be cleaned, follow the three easy steps below.

Step 1: Remove the liner and hand wash it. Your helmet liner has gotten to a point where you can’t stand how it looks or smells. The simplest way to solve this problem is to remove the liner and handwash it. Using a gentle cleaning solution, such as baby shampoo, helps to rid the liner of damaging oils, dirt and hair, and is generally non-abrasive, causing less wear to the liner that is being cleaned. Simply fill a small bucket or your sink with lukewarm water, and a capful of the baby shampoo. Soak your helmet liner and gently scrub it to rid it of the unwanted smells and debris.

Step 2: Remove the liner and wash it in the washing machine. Maybe handwashing things is not your cup of tea. You’ll be happy to know that throwing your helmet liner into the washing machine is perfectly acceptable. You’ll just have to take some precautions to not destroy your helmet liner.

  • After you have removed the liner, set your washing machine to the gentle or ‘handwash’ cycle, if you have it.
  • Place your helmet liner into a washing bag. These are netted or mesh bags that are used for machine washing delicate items.
  • Use a mild antimicrobial detergent, preferably an unscented one. This will remove the smell from your liner without adding any unwanted scents to it.
  • Don’t forget to turn your washing machine to low heat before starting the cycle.

Step 3: Set it out to dry. If done properly, your liner should have kept its shape. You will want to make sure this is the case when you are drying your liner too. Do not use the dryer to dry your helmet liner, instead, you should lay it flat on a towel or hang it and let it dry out naturally. Avoid shaking, pulling, or wringing your helmet liner to remove excess water. Again, your goal is for the liner to maintain its shape.

Whether your helmet requires cleaning or if you’re looking to refresh an old helmet, the steps for relining are easy and will most likely cost less than buying a new helmet.

What Should My Helmet Feel Like On My Head?

Now that you have relined your motorcycle helmet, the new “fit” might have you wondering what your helmet should feel like on your head.

Safety is your number 1 priority. The importance of liner and padding that fits snuggly is for keeping you safe on the road, period. When your newly padded helmet should sit on your skin in a way that when you move your head, the helmet and your skin should move at the same time. The helmet should also touch your forehead.

Comfort and fit are important for a smooth ride. Most likely you are riding a motorcycle because you love the feel of the open road as you go crashing into the wind at full speed. Comfort is key in making this enjoyable ride. But when it comes to a helmet, comfort should always equal a snug fit. When you pull the helmet on, you should need to use the straps to fit it onto your head. If it slips on easily, it is too large. It is also too large if you move your head with your helmet on and there is no resistance on your skin, forehead or if anything feels loose. This will require readjusting.

Full face vs. Half Helmet. A full-face helmet is safer for many reasons, especially if you are on riding any form of motorcycle that can travel faster than a bicycle. Still, this question is often up for debate. Trust your instincts on this one. When you get to a certain speed with your vehicle, your gut should tell you to find the fit of the helmet that will keep you most safe and more often than not, this is a full-face helmet.

Can I Reline A Vintage Helmet?

For many motorcycle enthusiasts, vintage helmets are a very cool collectible item. Some motorists will take it a step further and want to use their new-old helmets on the road. Relining it will be important for safety and cleanliness issues.

Replace lining: Remove the interior padding and lining extra carefully. Taking the steps outlined above will help you reline your vintage helmet. Just be hyper-aware that the parts in your old helmet might be more delicate and take it easy when removing old padding. You don’t want to tear or crack any part of your helmet.

Padding Size: Find the correct size padding and fit it into your vintage helmet. You will find all sorts of helmet padding and liners available on the market. If you’ve found the one that fits your vintage helmet but it needs a little help, simply measure and cut the pieces to the correct size before fitting them into the helmet.

Cracks and breakage: If you find any cracks or accidentally break your helmet when restoring it, consider keeping it on the shelf for decoration. Remember that a helmet’s purpose is to keep you safe. If you find any damage that might lessen the integrity of your vintage helmet, it’s better off as a collectible piece.

Wrap up

Relining your helmet is fast and simple. It can add to safety, keep your helmet in good-smelling order, and bring a classic piece back to life. Keep riding!

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