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How Tight Should a Motorcycle Helmet Be? Get the Perfect Fit

sizWhen it comes to motorcycle safety, a properly fitting helmet is non-negotiable. A helmet that fits well not only maximizes protection but also ensures comfort throughout your ride. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about helmet fit, including how tight should a motorcycle helmet be, determining your head shape and size, and adjusting your helmet for optimal comfort and safety. Let’s dive in and find the perfect fit for your next ride!

Key Takeaways

  • Ensuring a proper fit of your motorcycle helmet is essential for optimal protection and comfort while riding.
  • Determining head shape and size, adjusting cheek pad compression, chin strap adjustment, accommodating glasses, and allowing for break-in period are key to achieving the ideal helmet fit.
  • Prioritize safety when shopping by looking for helmets that meet DOT Safety Standard, SNELL Standard or ECE Approval standards.

The Importance of Proper Helmet Fit

Martin wearing a properly fitting motorcycle helmet

Safety and comfort both hinge on finding the right fit for your motorcycle helmet. A correctly fitting helmet ensures maximum protection and reduces the risk of injury, while preventing double vision, headaches, and fatigue due to an improperly fitted helmet. So, how can you guarantee the perfect balance between a snug fit that isn’t too tight or too loose? By choosing a correctly sized helmet and ensuring your motorcycle helmet fit tight but comfortable.

First, determine your head shape and size by measuring the circumference of your head. Next, take into account the following factors:

  • Compression of the cheek pads
  • Adjustment of the chin straps
  • Compatibility with eyeglasses Finally, review and assess the fit after completing the necessary motorcycle helmet fit tests.

Once you’ve followed these steps, you can be confident in choosing a helmet that fits you perfectly and enhances your safety on the road.

Keep in mind, a helmet that feels either too loose or too tight may be detrimental. Therefore, finding the right fit tailored to your unique head shape and size is necessary. Let’s explore how to determine your head shape and size in the next section.

Determining Your Head Shape and Size

measuring head with different face and head shapes

Before you buy a helmet, understanding your head shape is crucial because helmets are designed to fit different head shapes. Helmets come in round oval, intermediate oval, and long oval head shapes. To determine your head shape and size, measure the circumference of your head with a soft tape measure or string, starting from approximately one inch above your eyebrows to the back of your head.

The intermediate oval shape is the most prevalent head shape in the United States, and many full face helmet options are available for this head shape. Once you’ve determined your head shape and size, you can accurately select a best dirt bike helmet that fits your unique dimensions.

Now that you’ve identified your head shape and size, let’s focus on factors like cheek pad compression, chin strap adjustment, and glasses accommodation to achieve the perfect helmet fit.

Achieving the Ideal Helmet Fit

A person adjusting the chin strap of a motorcycle helmet
Slowmo tracking of man putting motorcycle helmet on outdoors and fastening straps under his chin

A motorcycle helmet should fit comfortably snug around your entire head, ensuring the tight helmet fits properly without causing any pressure points. Additionally, the helmet should remain secure during the ride, with no up and down or side to side movements.

To achieve the ideal helmet fit, consider the following factors: cheek pad compression, chin strap adjustment, and accommodating glasses.

Cheek Pad Compression

The cheek pads in a face helmet should be snugly pressed against your cheeks without causing discomfort. A simple test to determine if the cheek pads fit snugly is to assess if you can comfortably chew gum with your helmet on. If you can, the helmet is likely too large and may not provide the necessary protection during a crash.

A secure fit of the cheek pads is important as they help keep the helmet in the right position and prevent it from rotating while riding or during a crash. If you experience movement when manipulating the chin bar, it is advised to search for the next smaller size and adjust the chin straps accordingly.

Chin Strap Adjustment

A correct chin strap adjustment is key to a snug and secure fit, which prevents the helmet from coming off when the strap is buckled. Properly adjusting the chin strap ensures optimal safety while riding.

A motorcycle helmet chin strap should be secured snugly without causing any discomfort or pressure points. It should not move around when worn. If there is considerable motion or the helmet shifts, the chin strap is too loose. To check the fit of the helmet, shake your head from side to side and up and down. If the helmet moves, adjust the chin strap accordingly.

Glasses Accommodation

If you wear glasses, it’s important to choose a helmet that comfortably fits your eyewear. Try on the helmet with your glasses on prior to purchase, and opt for a helmet that either has accommodation for eyeglasses or a drop-down sun shield.

Brands such as Shoei, HJC, LS2, Bell, and Scorpion are renowned helmet manufacturers, offering helmets with features that provide ample space and comfort for wearing glasses while riding.

The Break-in Period: What to Expect

An image of a person wearing a motorcycle helmet with a snug fit, demonstrating how tight should a motorcycle helmet be during the break-in period.

During the break-in period, a new helmet may feel tight and snug on your head. Generally, it may take around 15 to 20 hours of wearing it for the helmet to loosen up by approximately 20 percent of its original size. Additionally, some helmets may have pressure points on the forehead or other areas, but these can usually be relieved over time as the helmet conforms to your head shape.

Patience is key during the break-in period, allowing your helmet time to adapt to your head. Remember, a helmet that fits properly will provide the best protection and comfort during your rides.

Tips for Trying On Helmets

Two people trying on dirt bike helmets in a store

While trying on helmets, keep each one on for 15-30 minutes to evaluate pressure points and possible discomfort. This will help you determine if the helmet is the right fit for your head shape and size. Additionally, ensure the helmet sits level on your head with the front edge of the eye ports less than an inch above your eyebrows.

After taking off the helmet, check for red lines across your forehead. If you find any, the helmet may not be the right fit for you. Discomfort is typically experienced directly at the forehead or just above the temples when wearing a helmet that does not fit properly. Keep these tips in mind when trying on helmets to ensure the best fit for your unique head shape and size.

Identifying Unsafe Helmets

motorcycle helmet safety standards - DOT certified helmet

Not all motorcycle helmets on the market provide the necessary protection for riders. Novelty helmets, for example, do not comply with safety regulations and should be avoided. To ensure maximum safety while riding, look for helmets that adhere to the DOT Safety Standard, SNELL Standard, and ECE Approval.

Be cautious of helmets with fake DOT labels and prioritize safety over aesthetics when selecting your helmet. A helmet that meets safety standards will help protect you during a crash and provide peace of mind during your rides.


In conclusion, a properly fitting helmet is crucial for both safety and comfort while riding a motorcycle. By determining your head shape and size, ensuring a snug fit with proper cheek pad compression and chin strap adjustment, and accommodating glasses if necessary, you can find the perfect helmet for your needs.

Remember to give your helmet time to adjust during the break-in period, be patient, and prioritize safety over aesthetics when selecting a helmet. With the right helmet fit, you can confidently hit the road and enjoy your rides to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better for a motorcycle helmet to be tight or loose?

A motorcycle helmet should fit snugly around the rider’s head without creating any pressure points, as comfortably as possible. It should not be able to move around on the head.

How do I know if my motorcycle helmet is too loose?

To check if your motorcycle helmet is too loose, try shaking your head and see if the helmet moves or slides around. If it does, the helmet is not providing adequate protection and needs to be tightened or replaced. A correctly sized helmet should fit snugly and not move at all when you shake your head.

How do I fit myself for a motorcycle helmet?

To fit yourself for a motorcycle helmet, measure across the widest point of your head, from forehead to crown. Then try on a helmet to ensure that it sits evenly on your head and offers good peripheral vision. If it easily fits, try a smaller size.

How long does it take for a new helmet to break in?

It typically takes around 2 to 5 hours of wearing it for a new helmet to break in.

How can I identify an unsafe motorcycle helmet?

Always make sure your motorcycle helmet meets the DOT, SNELL, and ECE safety standards to ensure the highest possible level of protection while riding.