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Newb: How Tight Should Helmet Be?

5 June 2006
Metrowest, MA

I recently purchased a Bell Pro M4 helmet based upon the same helmet that I had tried on at the store. The one at the store fit well, but without real pressure on my head and cheeks. The one I ordered, same size, same model, is much more firm. It does not give me a headache though. My questions are:

(1.) How tight should the helmet be? Obviously I don't want it to be sloppy or moving around when I shake my head, but how tight should it be? As tight as possible without being totally uncomfortable?

(2.) In trying to understand how the same model and same size helmet in the store was less tight, I was wondering if they inner padding "breaks in" and less firm. If this is the case, I would think I would want to bias towards the more firm from a new helmet, knowing that it will break in later. Or maybe its just too tight.

One other thing, I am somewhat disappointed in the build quality of the helmet. Specifically, the padding on the helmet around the eye hole to cushion where the visor comes in contact with it as well as the vents on the front of the helmet are rough and look unfinished. Am I being overly nitpicky? I don't really think I have much other option because this helmet fit me the best and that is the most important thing, but I am an NSX owner after all...

Thanks in advance for educating the newb.
new helmet should be a bit tight as it will break-in. when you put it on without fastening the strap, the helmet should not move when you move your head side-to-side. top-end models have replacement padding in different thicknesses.
i can't speak of bell brand's fit and finish as i prefer arai but i assume you should get what you pay for.

remember the 'truth'- 10 dollar helmet= 10 dollar head:wink:
Put it on, grab the helmet with your hands, and move your head R-L, up-down. You shouldnt be able to move a whole lot inside the helmet.

You dont want tight pressure points on your head that could lead to a headache, if you have a tight spot crush the helmet foam that point in a few mils with a spoon to alleviate the pressure for better fitment.
I'd imagine the same standards hold true for cars as do for bikes. A helmet that fits just a tad snug when brand new will break in to be very comfortable. As swerve said, without the strap it should not move with sudden head motion.

You couldn't pay me enough to wear a bell, I love my Arai and wouldn't consider another helmet other than a Shoei or Scorpion.
Thanks for all the feedback. I went in to the store without any preconceived thoughts about what brand I wanted. I tried on about 5 different brands (all with different sizes), including Arai, and the Bell fit the best. The helmet is not a cheap helmet.

I'll do what you've all suggested to determine whether it is too tight or not. Thanks for all the help.