A reader named David wrote in to say he always seems to have problems getting his helmet to fit correctly.
“This may seem basic, but it seems to be a problem I have encountered with several different helmets. I never seem to get the straps adjusted just right and always seem to have excess strap in the way. One strap or the other usually ends up rubbing against my ear. There are a number of resources available for fit but they don’t really explain the secret on how to adjust the straps. Any advice will be appreciated!”
I offered David the step-by-step approach I follow when adjusting a helmet: In short, some helmets fit better than others — and are more easily “dialed in” than others.
That said, try this:
- Put on the helmet (on top of whatever you normally wear under it — if anything — that is, headband, cycling cap, etc.)
- With the helmet on your head as you would ride, tighten the fit mechanism to whatever tightness is comfortable and keeps the lid securely in place.
- Make a “V” around your ears with the straps, leaving space both in front of and behind each ear.
- Now adjust the strap “clamps” that hold the “V” in place so that you lock in this good position. (Adjust each ear individually.)
- Adjust the length at the buckle so that it closes for a snug fit around your chin. (Adjust for a comfortable, but not too loose, fit.)
- Now go back and tweak anything that is not quite fitting right.
- (OPTIONAL STEP) Finally, after everything is good and you’ve ridden with a few times to be sure, cut off the excess straps beyond the buckle and cauterize the ends of the straps with a lighter. That should do it.