How Tight Should a Helmet Fit–Motorcycle & Bicycle Helmet–Beginner Guide

Last Updated on November 1, 2021 by Stephen Paul Robertson

How Tight Should a Helmet Fit

Everyone will tell you that a motorcycle helmet needs to be the perfect fit–it shouldn’t be tight enough to hurt, but it shouldn’t be loose enough to move.

What is that supposed to mean? How can something be not tight and not loose at the same time? How tight should a helmet fit?

As a motorcycle helmet has the power to save lives, these are questions that you should have answered. Hence, today, we will take the liberty to let you know about all the right answers. Stick around till the end!

How Tight Should a Motorcycle Helmet Fit?

How to fit motorcycle helmet

As stated by most specialists, a motorcycle helmet should have just the right fit; i.e. it should be “cozy and snug” acting as a cushion for the rider’s head. Overall, it should add no discomfort to your riding experience, as that is likely to cause distractions that might result in an accident.

Here are some things that you need to check to make sure your motorcycle helmet is the perfect fit for you:

  1. It should not move around; up and down or side-by-side movements during a ride will serve as a distraction and create noise.
  2. The cheeks pad and inner lining should not push down on any parts and create pressure points that will hurt and prevent you from comfortably wearing the helmet on a long ride. However, the cheek pads should touch your face.
  3. A motorcycle helmet should never slip off on its own; if this happens, take it as an indication that your helmet is too loose and can fall off during accidents instead of protecting your head. It will also rattle around, causing distractions.
  4. When a neck roll is included, the helmet should simply sit on your neck instead of pushing it down and causing pain because of its weightiness.
  5. Your head should not hurt or have any ringing when you are sporting your helmet. If this happens, your helmet is more likely to cause accidents due to double vision rather than protecting your head during one.
  6. No red scars or marks should be seen once the helmet is removed after using it for an hour or a half.
  7. For all types of helmets, make sure the face shield does not touch your nose or chin.
  8. The chin strap should be tight enough to make sure your helmet sits properly on your head but it should not cause strangulation or choking of any sort. You should leave enough space to fit in two fingers between them to make sure it is perfectly fitted.
  9. Make sure there is some space around your brow pads and forehead, as otherwise, the helmet might be lacking in ventilation.
  10. Once your chin strap is fastened, try moving your head forward and see if the helmet moves around or causes discomfort around the neck. If either of these things happens, take it as a sign to search for another helmet.

To assist you in finding a helmet that is the right fit for you, motorcycle helmet manufacturing companies have size charts available that will make it easier for you to find a helmet that fits you. All you need to do is measure the circumference of your head by wrapping a measuring ribbon around it and check your head shape.

Read Also: Best Motorcycle Helmet for Beginners 

How Tight Should a Bicycle Helmet Fit

how to fit bycycle helmet

Just like motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets should be snug and cozy. It shouldn’t be tight to the point where it causes irritation or be loose to the point where it wobbles off during a ride.

Here are some things you need to check to make sure that your bicycle helmet is the perfect fit for you:

  1. The chin strap should be fastened comfortably around the neck. It should not leave any imprint, as that would mean it is too tight or be loose enough to make the helmet roll off your head.
  2. After fastening the chin strap, you should be able to open your mouth wide and move your neck around without facing any sort of discomfort.
  3. The brow pad should be above your eyebrows. It can be at most two fingers above your eyebrows.
  4. The helmet should not fall off your head even when it is not strapped on.
  5. A bicycle helmet should not cover your ears; it should be above your ear and the straps should form a V below the ears.

How to test the fitting

Try it on

To check the fitting of a motorcycle helmet, the first thing you need to do is put it on. This will immediately help you identify if it is too tight or too loose.

Without fastening the chin straps, let it sit on your head; move your head around and see if it creates noise, slips off of your head, or adds any discomfort. Once you are done, put on the strap and make sure the motorcycle helmet doesn’t feel too tight; it should not have any pressure points.

The cheek pads should properly cushion your cheeks, the brow pad should be above your eyebrows, and the face shield should not touch your face.

Wear it for a while

Once the helmet qualifies the conditions mentioned above, do not immediately purchase it.

You need to keep the helmet on for about 20 to 30 minutes and see if it causes your head or neck to hurt. Certain problems like weightiness or poor ventilation do not show up after wearing for a minute or two which is why this step is necessary.

After wearing it for about half an hour, if the helmet still seems okay, you can go ahead and purchase it.

Precautions to avoid the discomfort

Discomforts caused by wearing your motorcycle helmet can hinder your focus while riding. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that your motorcycle helmet acts as a comfy cushion for your head. Here are a few precautions that you can take to avoid the discomfort:

  • Before going out shopping for a motorcycle helmet, measure the circumference of your head. Check the size chart to identify which sized helmet you are looking for.
  • Do not buy extremely cheap helmets as the inner linings, check pads, and brow pads will not be made of comfortable material.
  • Choose a motorcycle helmet whose chin strap is adjustable for flexible usage; you should also do the same when it comes to face shields since non-adjustable face shields can be rather uncomfortable. Click here to read “how to choose a motorcycle helmet“.
  • Buy a motorcycle helmet whose liner can be removed as they tend to get dirty and smell over time. Besides that, you can also change them when the liner gets frayed without having to change the entire helmet.
  • Look for a helmet that is sturdy without being heavy; a helmet that is not lightweight might cause strain to your neck.

Adjust fit pads or ring

Motorcycle and bicycle helmets come with pads already fitted into them. However, these pads are not going to provide comfort for all, as people have different head shapes. When such a problem arises, you can easily swap out the fit pads with new ones that are thicker or thinner (depending on which you need) for increased comfort. You can also move the existing pads to a different spot for better usage.

A “one size fits all” motorcycle or bicycle helmet, on the other hand, comes with a ring that you can use to adjust the helmet’s size until it feels comfortable around your head.

Adjust the straps

Once you have put on the helmet, you need to adjust the straps so that it fits you perfectly.

Shake your head and see if the helmet moves side by side or left to right. If it does move, then your chin strap hasn’t been tightened enough, and thus, your helmet can now slide off.

Try opening your mouth wide; if you are unable to do so, take this as a clear indication that your chin strap is too tight. Loosen it up a little.

Lastly, trust how you feel. If you think the helmet is too tight, then do loosen it up to avoid any sort of discomfort around your jaw.


Will this fitting last for a long ride?

The motorcycle helmet fitting should be the same regardless of the period of your ride. This is why it is necessary to look for a helmet that has good ventilation and try it on for about thirty minutes before purchasing.

How could I improve my helmet fit?

You can improve your helmet’s fit by adjusting the fit pads and rings or alter the tightness of the chin strap. New fit pads could also be added per choice.

If the harness is too tight, will I have any problem with a long ride?

When the harness is too tight, you are likely to face discomfort after or during a long ride. It can suffocate the wearer, cause pain and itching, affect your circulation, headaches, and leave nasty scars.

Final words

If you had some doubts about how tight a helmet should fit, you probably have them all cleared by now. As mentioned at the very beginning, it needs to be snug and cozy; not too tight or too loose. Since a helmet with the right fit is essential for motorcycle rides, we hope that you thoroughly went through the article. Have a safe ride!

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