How to tell if motorcycle helmet is too small: If it fits, it sits

Choosing motorcycle helmets is not a piece of cake. As an essential part of your protective gear, it has to fit you perfectly. However, what is the perfect size for a helmet? How to see that your helmet is too small? Which one to choose? What should you know before getting it?

We are here to reveal all the smart hacks and help you to choose a well-fitting motorcycle helmet.

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What can tell you that your helmet is too small?

Normally, the helmets should be a bit tight. No matter if you get a helmet for motorcycle riding or mountain biking, it is always a crucial part of your safety gear. So, the correct size is essential to protect your head properly.

For many riders, it can be quite difficult to say when their helmet is too tight to wear.

For those who wear a full-face helmet, this task may be a bit tricky, as some kind of tightness is unavoidable.

So, how can you define that your helmet is too tight?

Sign #1: Too much effort. When wearing the helmet, you need some elbow grease to squeeze your head inside it. A big and painful push and you are fully equipped — if that is your case, your helmet size is too small for you.

As a variant, you just can’t insert your head into the helmet. In this case, don’t keep trying to squeeze inside; you definitely need a bigger motorcycle helmet.

Sign #2: Uncomfortable feelings. So, you get your helmet on the head, and a new ride has begun… After 30 minutes or even less, you start feeling discomfort.

The cheek pads are pressing your cheeks uncomfortably. Although a bit of pressure from the inner pads is acceptable, they shouldn’t press so much that you feel discomfort or pain.

The same situation is for your forehead, eyebrows, and scalp. If there is any discomfort or pain, the helmet doesn’t fit you.

Your overall feeling matters as well. If you feel exhausted or suffer from a headache, these are the results of too much pressure. So, the item that is causing discomfort is definitely the wrong choice for you.

Sign #3: Painful pressure points. Spend about half an hour in the helmet to see how it impacts your head. Provide your common activities so that you can see the specific results of regularly wearing your helmet. After that, take it off and observe your head.

Too tight a helmet makes a painful impact on your pressure points. Such parts of your head as your cheeks, forehead, and scalp can be in pain even after you take it off. What is more, the pressure marks left on your skin are the exact signs of a too-small item. By no means should you feel uncomfortable.

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How tight should your motorcycle helmet be?

A good rule of thumb is that your perfect helmet is a properly fitting helmet. It shouldn’t be either too free or too tight, as both of these cases are not good for you.

Here is a list of points that tell you what your motorcycle helmet should be like:

  • Fit snugly
  • No free horizontal and vertical movements
  • No free rotation movement
  • No extra effort while wearing a helmet
  • No painful pressure points

How to choose the correct-fitting helmet?

When looking for a new helmet, there are several points to keep in mind. How should a full-face helmet fit? Which factors to consider when choosing new protective gear?

A motorcycle helmet should fit the rider’s head shape and size. The next point to keep in mind is that your helmet fits when you can wear it comfortably for a long time. A proper fit is cozy and snug, with neither too loose nor too tight points inside your helmet.

So, let’s get started. Here are just four tips on how to get a snug and safe motorcycle helmet.

#1. Define your head shape

Your head shape is one of the key points when choosing a new full-face helmet. We bet that you most probably don’t know the shape of your head. However, it is crucial when you are looking for a motorcycle helmet that fits your head perfectly.

Now, it’s time to ask somebody in your family or friends for help. Lay on a flat surface so that your head is visible from the top.

Compress your hair if necessary to see the exact shape of your head.

Now, let your friend or family member take a photo that shows the top of your head. Through this photo, you can see what you have never seen before!

There are three main head shapes:

  • Round oval
  • Intermediate oval
  • Long oval

The round oval head is almost equal in width and length, whereas the intermediate oval head is slightly longer than the width. The long oval shape has a speaking name, as it is even much longer than the intermediate one.

The intermediate oval shape is the most common one, but the two others are not so rare either. Be sure to define your head shape correctly so that you can get a good-fitting helmet. The pressure points depend on the shape of your head, so a wrongly chosen helmet will make you feel much discomfort.

#2. Measure your head

Now, equip yourself with a soft tape measure.

Define the widest part of your head, as the snug fit depends on this directly. This is the most essential part that makes a motorcycle helmet fit snugly.

Wrap your head with a measuring tape at the widest part, above your eyebrows and ears. Wrap the tape tightly to get the exact head measurement. Then take notes so as not to forget your circumference measurements.

If your head is quite big, you have a risk of getting a tight helmet. Some sports manufacturers produce helmets for big heads, so you can search for a proper item before getting one.

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#3. Check with a size chart

After you make all the necessary measurements, always double-check with the size chart. Since all helmet manufacturers have their own sizing charts, look for the specific ones on their pages.

Generally, a sizing chart consists of such points as:

  • Size
  • Hat size
  • Measurement ranges (inches or cm)

Find the best type of helmet that fits your head measurements.

Moreover, keep in mind that your helmet has to fit your head shape snugly.

For example, if your head shape is a round oval, you can’t get a helmet of a long oval shape.

As a rule, helmet manufacturers try to make each model fit different head shapes.

#4. Try a new helmet on your head

Now, when you determine which helmet you should try on, take a small helmet-fit test. Will the helmet fit you after a while? First impressions are not enough to see the exact situation.

Your local sports store can probably let you test the new helmet before getting it.

Step 1: Wear a helmet for about half an hour. This is just enough time to understand if the new motorcycle helmet fits you perfectly. Spend that time on regular activities, such as surfing the internet, watching TV, or reading a sports magazine.

Step 2: In most helmets, there is a chin strap, or chin guard, that secures a full-face helmet on your head. This is one more key point to check whether your helmet fits you or not.

Fasten and adjust the chin strap so that you can feel comfortable. If the clipped chin strap impedes your breathing, or you can feel it pressed painfully to your throat, this is a sign that you need a bigger full-face helmet.

A good tip to check the chin straps is to chew gum in the helmet. If you can do it, there is a loose helmet on your head. Look for another helmet that you can’t chew gum in.

Step 3: Try to move around the chin bar. In a loose helmet, the chin bar can move freely. The snug fit is key for a chin guard as well as for the helmet itself.

The helmet itself shouldn’t move as well. Neither horizontal and vertical, nor rotating movements are okay for motorcycle helmets.

If you can feel any movements, keep looking for a smaller motorcycle helmet.

Step 4: Check with a face shield. How can it make a helmet fit correctly? The answer is in your nose or chin. If they are touching the face shield, the helmet is too tight for you.

Step 5: Pay attention to the pressure points. Make sure that a helmet doesn’t press on your head and face too much. There should be no red pressure lines or spots after you take the helmet off.

If the helmet causes a headache after wearing it, opt for the bigger one. There should be no discomfort both while wearing it and after taking the item off.

Step 6: Check if the helmet sits correctly when you wear glasses. Most full-face helmets are specifically designed with padding that allows you to wear the helmet with glasses.

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Is it better for a helmet to be too small or too big?

As you remember, the best motorcycle helmet is a correctly fitting helmet. However, if we compare too-big helmets vs too small helmets, the last one is at least safer.

If your helmet is too big, there is an extra risk of getting injured in the event of a crash. However, when the helmet is too small and causes discomfort, it doesn’t mean an extra risk of injury in case of a road accident.

Should my motorcycle helmet squeeze my cheeks?

Any excess is not good when wearing a helmet. In case you can feel any uncomfortable pressure points, the motorcycle helmet doesn’t fit you.

As for your cheeks, the helmet should be placed on them without any discomfort. The cheek pads should fit snugly on your face. If the helmet squeezes your cheeks, it is a right sign that your helmet is too small and needs replacing.

Is it better to size up or down the motorcycle helmet?

It is always better to look for a helmet that fits properly. However, don’t be afraid if your helmet is a bit small for you. Sometimes the problem hides in the fresh helmet liner, which is prone to compress with time. Thus, a helmet that was too tight can become perfectly snug after some use. What is more, a cozy fit helmet can end up with some loose zones inside it.

As you can guess, sometimes it is better to get a bit smaller helmet than a bigger one. Since the size-down helmet can become cozier, the bigger one will never shrink.

Final thoughts

Now you can see that choosing perfectly fit helmets is easy. Avoid mistakes when looking for good protective gear, as it is vital for any rider!

Robert Miles

I have an immense love for fast motorcycling and a deep passion for motorcycles. With a decade-long involvement in motorsport, I have experienced thrilling adventures and have had the opportunity to explore various aspects of this exciting world.

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