How Snug Should Motorcycle Helmets Be—Motorcycle Helmet Fitness Guide

Last Updated on November 25, 2021 by Stephen Paul Robertson

To ensure a smooth ride with decreased risks, you need a motorcycle helmet. But what do you need to do to make sure the motorcycle helmet does its job of protecting your head?

Make sure it is the perfect fit for you! How does a helmet with the right fit feel though?

According to experts, motorcycle helmets should not be too tight or too loose. It should be “snug and cozy”. How snug should a motorcycle helmet be though? What is considered to be the right fit?

Getting the right answer is important. Hence, take a moment to learn all you need to know!

Importance of Motorcycle Helmet Fit

How Snug Should Motorcycle Helmets Be

Motorcycle helmets are known to hold the power of making a huge difference in road accidents. A full-face helmet will even decrease the chances of getting head injuries or traumatic brain injury by 69%. However, a helmet that does not fit properly has the power to do the opposite.

When a motorcycle helmet is too tight, it creates pressure points on different parts of your head. Wearing such a helmet puts the rider in utter discomfort, which ruins their focus. A distracted rider is more likely to get into an accident or cause one.

Besides that, a tight helmet can also leave an agonizing headache when left on for long rides. Some parts of your skin might also be irritated, causing red blotchy marks. Both of these will cause irritations on the ride that will lead to distractions.

A loose helmet is equally dangerous to one that is too tight. It lets the wind in, causing noise disturbances that are over 80 decibels. Exposure to these noises can cause permanent hearing damage. Such helmets are also more likely to wobble around during the ride and cause annoyance.

Slip-up acts as another huge risk. On extremely windy days, due to an increase in drag force, helmets can simply ride up from the wearer’s face. This is most common with modular helmets and riders might end up with a twisted neck in worst-case scenarios.

All of these points sum up to show the importance of proper motorcycle helmet fit.

How Snug Should A Motorcycle Helmet Be

To ensure the fit of your motorcycle helmet, there are several things you need to check before purchasing. Here are some fit checks that you can perform for confirming comfortable usage:

  1. Once you have worn the helmet, try moving your head from side to side. Your helmet should cause no hindrances in movement as you will have to look in several directions while riding. A helmet that does not allow you to move is too tight.
  2. Move your head up and down and sideways once again. When you do this, make sure the helmet is gloved onto your head and has no motions of its own. A helmet that wobbles around is too loose and will cause noisy distractions during your journey.
  3. When a helmet is removed, it should not come off on its own. Similarly, you should not have to apply too much force to take it off.
  4. After putting on the helmet, check whether the cheek pads or lining create any pressure points. If it does, you should consider switching out the helmet for a bigger-sized one.
  5. Wear the helmet for about half an hour. If the helmet gives you a headache, it is a sign that the helmet is too tight for you.
  6. Full face helmets end at the wearer’s neck. If you are purchasing a full-face helmet, make sure it rests around your neck instead of pressuring it down. A helmet that stresses out your neck is not good for long-term usage. It is heavy and big, meaning you should look for a smaller size.
  7. Following the removal of your helmet, if you find any red scars or markings created due to pressure, you should discard that choice. It is too tight for you and will only bring disadvantages in the long run.
  8. A helmet visor or face shield should not touch any parts of your face. If it touches your nose or eyes, it is not ideal.
  9. For wearing on the road. It will create difficulties in vision and comfort.
  10. If your helmet has a chinstrap, identify its fit too. A chinstrap that is too loose will let the helmet slip off upon application of impact. Similarly, a chinstrap that is too tight can cause feelings of suffocation.
  11. The brow pads should rest against your forehead. However, if it tightly wraps around your skin like a glove, airflow will be decreased. When this happens, riders often feel claustrophobic.
  12. After leaving your helmet on for a couple of minutes, wait to see how the visor reacts with your breathing. If it fogs up, the helmet lacks ventilation or is too tight to support airflow.
  13. Put on your helmet and try leaning forward and backward. Doing so should not cause any strain on your neck. If a motorcycle helmet does not allow you to comfortably do so, chances are it is not ideal for you. Motorcyclists often lean forward on windy days, so you need to be able to do so too.

Finding The Right Size for You

You need to start off shopping for a helmet after you have found the right size for yourself. Several sizes like S, XS, M, L, XL, XXL, etc. are available. Which will fit you the best?

To find the answer, you will need to start by measuring the circumference of your head. This is as simple as taking a measuring tape and wrapping it around your head. The tape needs to be leveled around your forehead to provide the correct reading.

Once you have noted down the circumference, look at a helmet size chart. These assist in identifying which size is suitable for which range of circumference reading. As the helmet size chart varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, make sure you are looking at the right one before choosing.

Here’s a helmet size chart that you can consider using.

SizeHead CircumferenceHat Size
X – Small53 – 54 cm (20.87 – 21.26 inches)6 – 5/8  –  6 – 3/4
Small55 – 56 cm (21.65 – 22.05 inches)6 – 7/8  –  7
Medium57 – 58 cm (22.4 – 22.83 inches)7 – 1/8  –  7 – 1/4
Large59 – 60 cm (23.23 – 23.62 inches)7 – 3/8  –  7- 1/2
X – Large61 – 62 cm (24.02 – 24.41 inches)7 – 5/8  –  7 – 3/4
2X – Large63 – 64 cm (24.8 – 25.2 inches)7 – 7/8  –  8
3X – Large65 – 66 cm (25.6 – 26 inches)8 – 1/8  –  8 – 1/4
4X – Large67 – 68 cm (26.4 – 26.8 inches)8 – 3/8  –  8 – 1/2
5X – Large69 – 70 cm (27 – 27.5 inches)8 – 5/8  –  8 – 3/4

Some people struggle to find the right fit despite following the procedure. The size they pick, according to the helmet size chart, seems to be too small or too big.

If you are facing similar problems, then do not worry. All helmets require some time to break in. You can hasten the process by reading this link, (how to stretch a motorcycle helmet).

Wearers can also try changing the linings to ones that suit them better.

How Do I Know If My Motorcycle Helmet Fits?

After reading about the importance of fit, you are likely to be paranoid and confused. Did I correctly identify my helmet’s fit? Or will it cause problems for me in the future?

Here are some handy tricks that will assist you in identifying a snug fit.

Helmet’s Back

This portion of your helmet should be touching the back of your head. No room should be left between both the surfaces as otherwise, upon impact, the helmet might end up applying force on your skull. This could then lead to severe head injuries or traumatic brain injuries.

Cheek Pads

These should be cushioning your cheek properly, leaving no room for wind to come in. Cheek pads improve the comfort of the helmet, and with time, allow the helmet to shape around your head.


Upon wearing the helmet, the wearer’s eyes should be positioned in the middle of the visor. This will grant the users a clear vision that helps them focus on the road. If your eyebrows are close to the center of your visor, then consider choosing a smaller helmet. In case your eyes are present towards the upper region of the visor, then the helmet is simply too small for you.

Brow Pads

The brow pads should rest on your forehead with no room for anything else to fit in. Remember that if this fitting leaves red marks on your temple, then the helmet is too tight.

Twisting the Helmet

Try moving your helmet sideways and see if it moves. There should be minimal or no movement if it is the right fit for you.


Do motorcycle helmets loosen up?

Once a helmet has been worn for 15 to 20 hours, it starts to loosen up. The brow and cheek pads start becoming more compressed due to friction and body warmth.

How do I make my motorcycle helmet looser?

A motorcycle helmet can be made loose by changing the inner linings and cheek pads. If they are removable, you can swap them out for new ones that offer a better fit.

How do I know if my helmet is too small?

Pressure points and red marks on the skin are the biggest indications of the fact that a motorcycle helmet is too small.

Should a motorcycle helmet squeeze your cheeks?

A motorcycle helmet will not squeeze your cheeks, as that will cause discomfort. Instead, they will cushion them by laying over your skin. Users should be able to move their jaws and chew gum.


How snug should a motorcycle helmet be?

If you have read our article so far, you must know the answer. Before purchasing a helmet, make sure to perform all the necessary fit checks to access convenience and protection. Safety is important on the road.

Also, make sure you are properly educated on all the types of helmets before making a choice. We always love suggesting full face helmets due to their impeccable safety features. Here are a few you can check out.

With that being said, we bid you goodbye by wishing you a safe ride!

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