How to Tell if a Motorcycle Helmet Is Too Small? [Expert Guide]

Getting the right helmet size can be quite puzzling for many people. If you wish to get a motorcycle helmet, one crucial thing is to get the right size. For that, you might want to know how to tell if a motorcycle helmet is too small.

Most of us are drawn to the aesthetics of a helmet, while some others just focus on the brand. But the proper fit of the helmet should be your ultimate concern. That’s what contributes to safety measures.

In this guide, we have uncovered the ways to identify a helmet that is too small for you. Furthermore, you will discover the right procedures to measure your head as well as other things you must consider when choosing the right helmet.

How to Tell if a Motorcycle Helmet Is Too Small?

A properly-sized motorcycle helmet will offer maximum protection in case of an unexpected crash. They come with an inbuilt foam linings on the inside and are housed with a plastic or metal cover outside (The shell). Also, there is an adjustable heavy-duty chin strap to ensure that the helmet remains on your head regardless of the turbulence intensity.

How to Tell if a Motorcycle Helmet Is Too Small

These are the ways that will help you tell if a helmet is too small for you in your attempt to get one:

1. Pressure Points

Do you feel pain and discomfort at pressure points? If you experience discomfort at pressure points around the sides of your head, this implies that the helmet is small and not the shape your head needs. Also, if you experience pain in the pressure points at the back of your head, this probably indicates that the headgear lacks the length your head needs.

Remedy: This usually takes place just below the base of the helmet. One safe act you can try is to put on the helmet indoors for about 30 minutes before going on the ride. This will help you ensure the safety of the helmet on your journey.

2. Lacks the Proper Fitting

For a helmet not to be so tight, it has to fit properly. So on your first attempt to wear a helmet, make sure there is a bit of allowance to allow slight movements. This means that your cheeks must not be tight because of the helmet’s pressure.

If you wear a very small helmet size, you will not have the leverage to move your head up and down or sideways. You will experience this even when the chin strap is loose, and the helmet is positioned at one angle.

Conversely, we do not advise a loose-fitting helmet either because it will always change its position even when you have tightened the chin strap. Also, loose headgear gets quite noisy when you ride against the wind and can fall off in an accident.

Thankfully, good helmets will have you covered with multiple size options. Even a motorcycle helmet under 300 bucks can possess all the necessary features, sometimes even with modular options.

3. Red Spot on the Forehead

Some believe that having a red forehead indicates wearing a new headgear. Other people even feel that they have some skin problem when they notice the red spots. However, this is not generally true because a red forehead implies that the headgear is not suitable due to its shape or/and size.

For instance, if you have an oval-shaped head and wear a round-shaped helmet, the chances are that you will have a red spot on your forehead. Most newbies encounter this problem, given that they have little or no experience in choosing their helmets.

4. Headache

Headache is more of an extreme sign that shows that a helmet’s size is too small. Naturally, the outer part of the head houses so many nerves and veins. When a helmet is too tight, it affects the occipital and trigeminal nerves, resulting in a headache.

So, whenever you feel that splitting headache after a ride with your helmet, know that the size is not right.

How to Measure Your Head for the Right Size Helmet?

How to Measure Your Head for the Right Size Helmet

Measuring your head is crucial to achieving a properly-sized helmet. But you must get an accurate figure. To achieve this precision, repeat the measurement once or twice and use a soft measuring tape. If there is none, then use a mobile phone charging cable or a string; afterward, get the proper figure on a straight ruler or hard tape.

Here are the steps to measuring the actual size of your head with a soft measuring tape:

  • Measure the widest part of your head by wrapping the soft tape around your head and over the hair horizontally.
  • Ensure the tape stays ¾ inch higher than the eyebrows. This area is just a little higher than the eye line and right over the bump behind your head.
  • Let your measurement be in centimeters (cm).
  • Repeat the measurement twice to ensure an accurate figure.

What Are the Other Things to Consider choosing the Right Helmet?

Aside from the size and shape of the head and headgear, the other things to consider when picking the right helmet include the retention, visor, proper cushioning, and the ISI (Indian Standard Institute) mark.

What Are the Other Things to Consider to Choose the Right Helmet

Let us discuss these factors in detail to understand their places in choosing the right helmet:


The type of helmet that holds still on the head in difficult situations is the kind that will protect you on a ride. Retention is one of the basic things to confirm when purchasing a helmet. Unfortunately, this is something many riders fail to consider in their attempt to get one.

To be sure of the helmet’s retention, fasten the chin strap and attempt to pull off the headgear from behind to see if it comes off. If the helmet rolls out of your head at this point, it might be that the chip strap isn’t well fastened. Adjust the strap and repeat the action. If it still comes off at this point, then it isn’t the helmet for you.

The Visor

The visor plays an important role in purchasing the right helmet for a ride. If you wish to get a perfect helmet that meets the safety requirements, then a clear visor should be something to look out for in headgear.

Oftentimes, what attracts customers to a particular helmet is the tinted and smoked visor. There’s nothing wrong with that until it restricts vision. Please avoid helmets that restrict clear vision because they might lead to collisions at the end of the day.

Proper Cushioning

The main purpose of a helmet is to protect the skull from damage in a fatal crash or condition. A proper cushioning on the inner part of a helmet makes this feasible. The inner surface of a helmet must not be flat, as it will struggle to absorb the force from a hard impact ergonomically. This is another aspect of headgear you must also look out for.

The ISI Mark

Many manufacturers claim that their headgear is the best to ensure maximum protection. And on the market, you will find various helmets from different manufacturers making the same claims. But what makes this claim true is the ISI mark. This logo on a helmet connotes that it complies with the requirements laid down by the ISI.

Irrespective of these certifications, the factors mentioned above must be considered to choose the right headgear for your head. There is not enough safety guarantee to have the ISI mark on a helmet. What makes the difference and sustains the rider’s safety is to find the integrated factors we have listed above in a particular headgear.


Final Thoughts

With the information in this guide, you now should be able to identify a proper helmet that snugly fits your head. Just to reiterate, the retention, visor, proper cushioning, and the ISI mark are ways you can identify and choose the right headgear for your head.

So, how to tell if a motorcycle helmet is too small? You have to figure out the discomfort you experience when wearing one. Some of which include uncomfortable pressure points, lack of proper fitting, and a red spot on the forehead. A more severe sign that your helmet is too small is a headache.

As we cited above, always wear a new helmet for about half an hour. If you feel any form of pressure point pain or notice a red forehead, it simply means a red flag for that helmet. Once you can get the perfect helmet for your head, you should feel more confident and comfortable when you go on a ride.

Ryan Walker

Ryan Walker

Hi, I'm Ryan Walker, the chief editor and the founder of this site, Motoable. I’m a bike rider, and I’ve been riding motorbikes for almost thirty-five years. I worked for a renowned motorbike accessories manufacturing company for twelve years as a quality in charge.Later, I start my own business where I sell different bike accessories and safety gear for motorbikes. I created this site Motoable to share my experience with other bikers who are new to this field and don’t have adequate knowledge about motorbikes and their accessories.

More Posts - Website

Leave a Comment