In many jurisdictions, you can’t legally ride a motorcycle without a helmet. That can be dangerous.
The helmet plays a fundamental role in shielding the eyes while riding and protecting your head in the event of an accident.
In any case, it is important to realize that the level of protection you get from a helmet depends on how well it fits.
“Okay, I get all that. I know it has to be snug and comfortable, but what I don’t get is how tight should a motorcycle helmet be? How tight is too tight? How loose is too loose?“
- A helmet should be comfortably snug around the entire wearer’s head.
- There should be no pain or pressure points.
- There shouldn’t be any up and down or side to side movements.
- It shouldn’t be too tight, but it shouldn’t be loose either.
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How Tight Should a Motorcycle Helmet Be?
According to industry experts, a helmet should be comfortably snug around the entire wearer’s head without resulting in pressure points. It shouldn’t have any up and down or side to side movements during the ride. It shouldn’t be too tight, but it shouldn’t be loose either.
- If you’d prefer to watch and listen rather than read the article, here’s our video for “How Tight Should a Motorcycle Helmet Be?” [Pro Tip: turn on the volume]
If you’re told ‘the tighter the better’, it’s wrong. Or, if you feel that a little loose feels good enough, then you’re dicing with your life. Cozy and snugness is what you need to be aiming for.
When you wear a motorcycle helmet, you have to ensure that your head protection fits appropriately. It is not inconceivable for an over-sized helmet to fall off during a mishap and will totally fail to protect you. On the other hand, a small helmet can feel awkward and uncomfortable, and may discourage you from wearing it.
So, when buying your first helmet, how do you know how tight it should be? How do you determine whether it’s too loose or too tight? The salesman is telling you that it’s a perfect fit, but are there any tests you can do to know for sure? Read on to find out more.
How A Motorcycle Helmet Should Fit?
A correctly fitting helmet shouldn’t move around easily. When you wear the helmet, it ought to stay firmly in place, however not excessively tight. The only way to be sure of a proper fit is to try it on.
How a motorcycle helmet should fit, is really not negotiable. A good fitting motorcycle helmet fits cozily. If you find that the helmet freely moves around, it’s likely too loose and too big for your head.
A helmet that continuously moves around while you are riding will quickly become a PITA (pain in the a**), and it’s also dangerous. A loose-fitting motorcycle helmet will move around with the wind and will get even worse the faster you ride. There’s a strong possibility that it will come off during an accident.
Loose-fitting helmets can be hazardous as they don’t offer the right protection. On the other hand, if your face and most particularly the cheeks feel stretched, your pressure points may feel uncomfortable.
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While your helmet should fit firmly, it is important to remember that a helmet generally loosens up after being used for a while. The comfort liner gets easily compressed with frequent wear.
Your new helmet should fit a little tightly. However, ensure that the snugness isn’t uncomfortable. After wearing it for some time, it ought to relax up to the correct snugness.
Motorcycle Helmet Fit Test
- The cheek pads should be resting on your cheeks without causing discomfort.
- With a full-face helmet, push on the chin piece, the face shield should not be touching your chin or nose.
- If the helmet has a neck roll, it should sit comfortably at the back of the neck, not pushing against your neck.
- Your pressure points should be feeling comfortable with the helmet on.
- Fasten the chin strap. It should be tight, but have enough room to fit one or two fingers between the strap and your chin/throat.
- With the chin straps fastened, try leaning forward and rolling the helmet off your head. It shouldn’t move.
- The helmet shouldn’t move around if you shake your head from side to side, or up and down, but your skin should move with the helmet.
- There should be no room between your forehead and the brow pads, same for around your temples. (Not tight though. Snug as a bug in a rug.)
- Fasten the chin strap and position your head straight, then attempt to take off the helmet. If it comes off, that protective helmet is too large for you. Likewise, on the off chance that you notice red spots on your forehead then the fit is too tight.
The tension from a tight helmet is bad for you as it creates pressure spots, which can cause double vision, headaches and fatigue. If the helmet you choose is excessively tight, choose a bigger size or even try a different brand of helmet. Much the same as how human heads are not all the same, so are different brand helmets.
After you’ve completed the motorcycle helmet fit tests, and are satisfied with the test results, now it’s time to review and assess to be sure that this is the helmet for you.
You Shouldn’t Feel Any Discomfort
Any extreme distress implies you should look for another correctly-fitting helmet. If you find your helmet unwearable from extra looseness or tightness, consider revising your size and shape measurements. You shouldn’t be that far away from the right fit if you measured your head correctly.
Feel The Helmet Pads On Your Cheeks
If the helmet fits correctly, you should feel the pads against your cheeks. Typically, they will be pushed up like stuffed chipmunk cheeks. When you move the chin bar around, the helmet should not move. If you feel movement on the helmet, look for the next smaller size.
Motorcycle Helmet Break In Period
Don’t worry too much about a new helmet that’s a little too tight. Most of them fit snugly after 15 to 20 hours or so of riding as the comfort liner compresses to conform to your head shape.
Wear The Helmet For Half An Hour
You’ll probably find that motorcycle helmet dealers know that you will want to wear it for at least 30 minutes before you commit to buying the helmet, so don’t be shy telling them that that’s what you want to do. That’s roughly the length of time it will take to know for sure that the helmet is not too tight and not too loose. It’s just right! (Feel free to take as long as you need. After all, it’s your money).
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Sit around and do something in it, like watching TV or read a magazine. If the stress on your pressure point doesn’t reduce in those 30 minutes, that means that the helmet is too tight and won’t loosen even after many hours of riding. Find a larger size.
Aim for a cozy fit. Snug and comfortable. Keep in mind – not loose, not tight, snug as a bug in a rug!
And also don’t forget, your helmet could save your life one day, so take care of it like your life depended on it.
Video on How a Helmet Shouldn’t Fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I know if my helmet fits properly?
A. A properly fitting helmet is the most important aspect of an effective and safe helmet. You can follow the Helmet Fit Test in this article to help you know how well your helmet fits. The short answer is that your helmet should be snug without causing any pain or pressure points. Also, the helmet shouldn’t wobble around when you move your head. Go ahead and run through the helmet fit test.
Q. How can I improve my helmet fit?
A. There are a number of things you can do to improve the fit of your helmet. I would suggest you read our article “How To Make A Motorcycle Helmet Fit Better” to see what options you can try.
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