There are various styles of helmets from numerous specialty brands, all of which fit slightly differently.
When riders find their dream helmet only to find it fits a little too big, it’s tempting to buy it anyway and look for a solution afterwards.
This article lists 7 solutions to make a large motorcycle helmet fit as it should.
1. Find the Best Fitting Motorcycle Helmet for Your Head
While choosing a properly fitting motorcycle helmet may seem as simple as choosing a shirt, there are more variables to consider than size.
For example, while you may be a large according to one full-faced helmet you tried on, you may be an XL in three-quarters of the same brand and a medium in a full face of a different brand.
While a helmet that’s too small can cause headaches and fatigue by irritating your pressure points and obstructing blood flow, the big ones can let excessive wind and traffic noises in and shake around.
In this case, it’ll distract the rider, obstruct their vision, and slide around during a collision, failing to protect their head during impact.
Therefore, it’s essential not to start with a helmet that fits accordingly, especially considering that a helmet’s pads will thin out and loosen by about 10-20% after 15 or so hours of use.
If your helmet is just a little too big, it may fit perfectly when you bought it and loosen a little after it broke in. If that’s the case, you can try a few tips, which we’ve listed below.
Mind you, if the helmet is a little too big from the moment you buy it, be forewarned that it may loosen up a little more, and not all these tricks will work once it does. It is, therefore, important for you to know how tight a motorcycle helmet should be.
There’s no shortcut to procuring a properly fitting helmet. And since different brand helmets are engineered to fit different head shapes, we suggest you measure the circumference of your head ahead of the purchase.
Compare it to other helmet brands to find out what size you would be in the helmet you’re considering.
If you’re buying your helmet online, we suggest you either shop at an online vendor who allows returns on helmets or try the same helmet on at a store before you order it.
Your goal is to ensure that it fits the size and shape of your head without causing discomfort, or letting you stick more than one finger between your head and the helmet.
2. Wear an Accessory Under Your Helmet
If your motorcycle helmet is just a little too big after the break-in period, the easiest possible solution is to wear a thin fabric accessory on your head and under the helmet to add extra padding and keep your helmet liner and padding clean.
Here are some examples of accessories you can wear to help a loose helmet fit better:
a. A Balaclava
This is a hooded mask that covers your head, neck, and face, except for your eyes. It can provide warmth in cold weather and protect you from sunburn, windburn, airborne debris, and spattering insects.
b. A Helmet Liner
A helmet liner is a lightweight and breathable cap that covers your whole head and fits under your helmet. It adds extra padding that can stop a helmet from sliding around, reducing friction and preventing hair and scalp irritants.
c. A Bandana or Do-Rag
This is a cloth that ties or wraps around your head, adding an extra lining and taking up extra space. It helps to keep your hair in place and prevent sweat from dripping down your face and into your eyes.
There is a downside to wearing a head or helmet accessory to a loose-fitting motorcycle helmet. For instance, adding an extra material layer interferes with airflow and helmet ventilation.
Some riders discover that they’re sensitive to certain fabrics, and their bandana or liner serves to increase scalp or forehead irritation rather than preventing it.
I’ve also heard some say that wearing accessories underneath your helmet compromises its positioning and hinders its protective qualities. We suggest researching how compatible liners and accessories are for the specific helmet you’re in the market for.
You might also want to learn about what to do when a motorcycle helmet hurts your head.
3. Replace the Helmet’s Chin Strap
There are varying types of chin straps you can replace your motorcycle’s stock strap with, especially if your helmet fits a little too loose.
Here are a few options:
a. Double D-ring
The most common type of chin strap consists of two metal, D-shaped rings on one end of the belt. To fasten it, you must thread the free end through both rings from below and pull it tight.
That said, while a Double D-Ring chin strap is very secure and adjustable, it can be challenging to use with gloves or in a hurry.
b. Quick-Release Buckle
This is a chin strap with a plastic buckle on one end of the strap and a metal clip on the other. To fasten it, you just clip the two ends together.
This type of chin strap is straightforward and convenient but isn’t always as tight, secure, or durable as the double D-ring. If your helmet is loose and has a quick-release buckle or clip, replacing it with a double D-ring strap may be the move.
c. Magnetic Buckle
As the name implies, the magnetic buckle has a magnet on one end of the strap and a metal plate on the other. To fasten it, you must bring them close together until they snap.
This chin strap is also elementary and convenient to use but may not be as secure or reliable as the double D-ring. Thus, it won’t tighten your helmet as close to your head.
Not all helmets have interchangeable chin straps. If you’re trying this on a helmet that fits a little too loose, inspect the chin strap to ensure you can replace it with something more secure.
That said, if your helmet already has a Double D-Ring strap, replacing the strap with something else on the list will only make your helmet looser.
4. Learn How To Ride Safely With Glasses and Headphones or Remove Them
If you have a habit of riding your motorcycle with glasses or headphones, they may be the reason your motorcycle helmet seems to fit a little too loose.
Glasses and headphones forge gaps between the helmet and your head, pushing it upwards and making it feel looser and less stable. They also interfere with your helmet’s ventilation and sound-reduction capabilities.
One way to make your helmet fit less loosely is to replace your headphones with internal Bluetooth helmet speakers and trade your glasses for contacts.
If it’s only sunglasses you’re wearing, try swapping them out for a tinted visor or helmet goggles for a tighter fit.
Another option is to purchase glasses and headphones designed to fit underneath motorcycle helmets, such as thinned framed glasses.
Finally, another possible way to ride safely with glasses and headphones under your helmet without making it fit too loose is to buy a helmet with cutouts or channels on the padding.
These helmets are intended for riding with accessories like glasses without affecting the helmet’s safety, fit, or comfort.
5. Replace Your Helmet’s Shell Size and Shape With Your Head
In addition to the interchangeable cheek pads, most modern motorcycle helmets equip liners that can be removed for cleaning.
Whether your motorcycle helmet is a full-faced, or three-quarters open-faced, if it fits just slightly too loose, you can replace the liner and cheek cousins with thicker padding for a fit that’s more snug.
You’ll have to remove the cheek pads first, either by unsnapping the buttons that connect the place to the helmet or by disconnecting the velcro fastening strips and lifting on the cheek pads towards the top of the helmet.
Once the cheek pads are out, follow the instructions for your specific helmet to remove the lining.
- Try replacing just the pads first and try the helmet on to see if thicker cheek pads are enough to tighten up the fit.
- If it’s still loose after replacing the pads, replace the lining with a thicker layer to make it even snugger.
Make sure you also check our post on what to do when a motorcycle helmet is not fitting here.
6. Keep Your Motorcycle Helmet Clean
If your helmet used to fit correctly but loosened over time, well after the break-in period, it may be that you’re not keeping it as clean as you should be.
Dirt and grime build up inside your motorcycle helmet over time, causing it to loosen. To keep the helmet clean, follow the tips below.
- Remove the padding and lining of your motorcycle helmet.
- Consult your helmet’s instruction manual to find out if the padding is machine washable.
- If not, use a microfiber towel soaked in warm water to scrub the padding free of dirt and sweat.
- Use the same towel to scrub the inside and outside of your helmet to dislodge any grime build ups that may be causing your motorcycle helmet to fit a little too loose.
7. Look for Signs that Indicate It’s Time To Replace Your Motorcycle Helmet
One last possible solution to a motorcycle helmet that fits slightly looser than it should be is to replace it once it’s worn. Over time, the inner padding of your motorcycle helmet changes shape, from friction wear, sweat deterioration, and temperature changes.
You can prevent your motorcycle helmet from loosening over time by paying attention to the various signs that show your helmet needs to be replaced. And it’s best to replace it before its lining, padding, and shell change shape.
Some of the common signs are:
- Obvious signs of wear like cracks, dents, scratches, loose padding and faded finish.
- If your helmet is more than 3-5 years old, depending on how often you clean it and if you do store it in a climate controlled vicinity versus a hot/cold shed or garage.
- If your helmet starts to fit slightly loose and displays wear, it’s likely time to replace it with a fresh lid.
Choose the Right Motorcycle Helmet | NHTSA
When To Replace a Motorcycle Helmet? [Some Signs] | HelmetsAdvisor.com