How Your Bike Helmet Should Fit - And Why It Matters

How should a bike helmet fit? That’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point. This is likely because our helmets are crucial in keeping us comfortable and safe on all our rides and, if necessary, a helmet can effectively cushion our heads upon impact. Below, we outline the main steps of how to fit a bike helmet, and we also address why it’s necessary to achieve a comfortable and protective fit.

Step 1: Choosing Your Size

Of course, to ensure a properly fitting bike helmet, you’ll need the right size. Many manufacturers offer helmets in three sizes: small, medium, and large. While you’re shopping, you may also stumble upon extra-small and extra-large helmet sizes. Sometimes companies create one-size-fits-all style helmets. 

No matter if you plan to buy your helmet in person or online, one of the first steps on how to properly fit a bike helmet is to use a measuring tape to confirm your size. The circumference of your head will generally determine which size helmet you should purchase. If you have to ask yourself, “Does my bike helmet fit?”, you probably should seek out a different size or a helmet from another manufacturer. A good fitting helmet should feel naturally comfortable on your head.

Step 2: Perfecting The Fit

Once you choose your helmet, the next step is fine-tuning how it fits. First and foremost, for fitting a bike helmet, properly, completely loosen all helmet straps before you begin your adjustments; you’ll need an accurate indication of how it sits on your head prior to making any alterations or adjustments.

Additionally, ensure the front of the helmet is, well, in the front. The helmet should be level on your head. A common mistake is wearing the helmet too far back or slightly tilted to one side. If you don’t correctly position the helmet on your head, you expose fragile body parts, so they may not receive ample protection. You may also feel tempted to have the helmet sit too far forward. Of course, you want the helmet to shield your forehead, but you also don’t want to bump your glasses or sunglasses. We suggest keeping two fingers’ worth of width — when the fingers lay horizontally on the forehead — between the helmet and your eyebrows. This way, the helmet can effectively keep you safe and cover your forehead without blocking your vision.

Next, you’ll need to check that the straps visually create a “V” shape beneath your earlobes. The strap should not be tight; if it’s too tight, it won’t be comfortable and will irritate your skin while you ride. On the same hand, you also don’t want the strap to be too loose — otherwise, your helmet will unnecessarily slide around and then won't be in the optimal position to protect you during impact. Like our recommendation for forehead coverage, your chinstrap should have room for about two fingers. 

Further, if your helmet has fit pads, you should check that these aren’t impacting how the helmet fits. Like a shoe, your helmet should feel snug but not painful. If this isn’t the case, you may have to work with the pads a little bit, or the pads may be too thick or thin.

There’s one last tweak you’ll need to make to guarantee a properly fitting bike helmet: tucking away any loose parts of the chinstrap. You don’t want any loose accessories or garments to interfere with your ride or vision, so it’s going to be a good idea to keep these away from your bike.

Step 3: Testing Your Helmet’s Fit

Before heading out on your ride, you’ll want to check that your helmet will serve you in the event of an emergency. You can consider testing the buckle by pulling it apart. When you tug on it, it should not come undone. Further, attempt to shift your helmet out of the optimal position by pushing on it. It should not move; the idea is that the helmet will not shake or shift if you hit any objects or the ground. Finally, try opening your mouth as wide as you can. The helmet should push down slightly on your head, and this means the chinstrap is doing its job.

Step 4: Troubleshooting Your Fit

Still stuck? Try on your helmet in front of a mirror, and make adjustments until the helmet looks and feels how it should. Seeing yourself in front of the mirror is sure to boost your confidence — and when it comes to wearing your helmet, you should feel confident. You can also enlist help from a friend or fellow rider, as they may see imperfections in the fit that you might not notice at first.

Step 5: Wearing Your Helmet

You’ve done it, you’ve achieved your perfect fit! While it certainly takes some time upfront, it’s absolutely worth it. In fact, with a proper fitting, helmets can decrease the risk for face and neck injuries by 33%

Luckily, technology is cool, and over the years, it’s made the process of how to properly fit a bike helmet much easier. At KAV Sports, we’re proud to provide a 3D printed bike helmet that is custom fit to your unique measurements. We don't use dials that need to be adjusted. Instead, we offer a bespoke, perfect fit, straight out of the box. Once you’ve ordered your helmet, or even if you’re still deciding whether our helmets are right for you, we will ship a Fit Kit directly to your door. Plus, our team will schedule an online one-on-one fit session to take seven precise measurements so you can feel confident in your helmet and how it fits.