How to Stretch a Motorcycle Helmet (FULL GUIDE)


There’s nothing worse than having an awesome helmet that just doesn’t fit well on your head. If only your head wasn’t so darn big!

But I don’t recommend squeezing your head because that won’t do any good. After all, you can make some helmet modifications instead.

Here’s a full guide on stretching (enlarging) a helmet that feels too tight.

Can I Stretch a Helmet that Seems Too Tight at First?

Initially, yes. However, your first option is to return it. Stuck with a helmet too tight to use? Here are some of the few things you can do to remedy the situation:

Please note that these are quick fixes that you can do just until you get a helmet that fits properly.

Pain or a “Hotspot” in the Forehead, or Anywhere Else

Some helmets sometimes cause pain in the forehead due to a rider that has an oval-shaped head trying to fit into a round-shaped helmet.

Fix:

Insert a deflated soccer ball into the helmet and inflate it to simulate a human head, and press on the foam. Leave it on for a few days, then try it on for comfort.

Warning: We do not recommend modifying the actual EPS lining, or shell of the helmet. It severely compromises the safety function of your helmet.

Helmet Too Tight Around the Chin and Cheeks

Fix:

Some brands offer alternate foam lining as an aftermarket alternative. Change the foam around the cheeks to fit comfortably. If an alternate is not available, remove the foam and slightly cut it down to size to an acceptable snugness.

Caution: DIY foam adjustments may impair helmet performance, although not severely. Again, this is a temporary fix until you get the proper-sized helmet for your protection.

That’s about as far as you can go in stretching your helmet without endangering yourself.

Here is the key: You will have to let your head “grow” into your helmet to get that snug. Generally, a helmet will not feel perfect when you wear it for the first time, however, you will just have to pay attention to the indicators mentioned above so that you will be able to mold into it after a week or so.

“My Ears Feel Tight When Putting on the Helmet”

It is normal to feel pressure on your ears when you are putting on the helmet. As long as it slides back in to place, it’ll be fine. You may even see some MotoRacer Pro folding their ears before putting on their helmet.

How To Try Your Helmet On

  1. Raise and hold the helmet over your head, the bottom should be facing you and its front pointing down.
  2. Hold both straps on either side with your thumbs and forefingers and balance the helmet.
  3. Slightly spread both sides of the helmet as you slowly pull it down over your head.
  4. Make sure that your head is fully covered by the helmet. And snugly fitting your head.

Indicators of a Good Fit:

A Medium Snug Helmet (that’s the goal)

With a few exceptions, a slightly tight helmet may generally mean a good fit in the long run. Initially, here is how it should feel:

  • It should be a little tough when you slide it in for the first time (not too tough though)
  • It will feel snug and comfortable once it is in place.
  • With your finger press the chin bar inward, the face shield shouldn’t touch your nose as when on a ride the wind will be pressing on it too. It will be uncomfortable and could potentially reduce your safety.
  • Hold the chin bar and yank the helmet from side to side, up and down. It should yank your head along with it. If the helmet wobbles, it is too large.
  • Hold your head up straight making sure that the chin strap is securely fastened, then try to roll your helmet forward and off your head. If you can pull it off, it is too big.
  • With both hands move the helmet from side to side and up and down. You should feel the same gentle pressure from all sides of the helmet. This will confirm either the proper size or head shape fit, which will prevent uneven pressure from forming sometimes painful red spots on your head.
  • Snug cheek pads slightly pressing on your cheeks but not uncomfortable. A perfect cheek fit may loosen up later on. Take note that you should be able to close and open your mouth even with your helmet on. Some manufacturers offer alternate size cheek pads.
  • Wear the helmet for a while in the bike shop and look around the owner should understand that it is important to take a little more time to be sure. Try to notice if there are any other tight spots and see how it feels.

Remember: Snug is better than loose.

Recent Advances on Motorcycle Helmet Manufacturing

Manufacturers in their quest for a customized and perfect fit have gone into more research in the making of helmets. These are measurements specific to your head shape. So far, there are three categories that have been helpful:

  • round oval
  • intermediate oval
  • long oval

Apparently, intermediate oval is the most common head shape.

It would be very useful to know your specific head shape prior to choosing a brand of a helmet. And it would also work if the brand that you like make head shape specific helmets as well.

Otherwise, the above tips may greatly help you in the helmet that you will be using for your protection. You will always be the best judge to whether your head will be agreeable to those long leisurely rides into the sunset.

Ride safe!

Luka Barron

Motorcycle mechanic, writer and Heineken lover. A bit like Hank Moody on a Suzuki.

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