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Bike Helmet Straps Uncomfortable? 3 Causes And Fixes

An essential part of cycling is to wear the correct apparel and accessories to prevent injuries from accidents. This includes wearing cycling socks, a mesh base layer for warmer weather, and, most importantly, a helmet. However, bike helmet straps can become uncomfortable sometimes. Continue reading to find out why!

Helmet straps can make wearing a helmet uncomfortable for several reasons. This may be because your helmet does not fit you well, so tightened straps cause discomfort, and the chin strap may be too tight under your chin.

There are many other reasons why wearing a helmet might be uncomfortable. This article will take you through these reasons and ways to fix them. 

bike helmet hanging from straps

What Causes Helmet Straps To Be Uncomfortable

Helmet straps can become uncomfortable when they are not tightened properly. This may result in your helmet not being the correct head size. If you wear a helmet smaller than your actual size, the straps will feel too tight around your head, causing discomfort mid-ride.

However, if the helmet is too big, it will tilt backward, exposing your lower forehead. If it slides back further, it may fall off the back of your head. This will pull up the chin strap to your mouth and nose, making it difficult to ride your bicycle.

Additionally, chin straps can also cause discomfort. A chin strap is designed to secure the helmet with your head and keep it in place by preventing it from falling backward. However, if a chin strap is too fitted, it may roughly rub against your chin and add pressure to it.

This will make it harder to move your jaw while you are cycling. It can also result in pain around your jaw and chin, and the ache will increase as the soreness increases.

However, if you follow the correct steps, you can adjust your helmet straps easily. 

How to Fix Your Helmet Straps

To ensure that your helmet straps are comfortable, you must look beyond the straps themselves. Numerous factors, including helmet straps, combine to ensure comfort when cycling, such as the helmet’s size and the way it is worn.

1. Measuring Your Head Size

It is essential to buy a helmet that fits you perfectly to remain secure on your head while you are riding. To measure your helmet size, start by measuring your head circumference. Wear a flexible tape measure around the greatest area of your head to determine this. Head circumference is often an inch or so above your brows.

You may also use a string to measure the circumference of your head. Then, use a ruler or a yardstick to measure the string’s length and find a helmet that fits this size. 

However, the better option is to try on various helmets from different brands in person. This is because trying on helmets personally allows you to judge their quality, fit, and durability better.

If your helmet is too large or too small, it will not fit correctly, and it will not be efficient in protecting you from injuries. Following head measurement, you must ensure that the helmet is worn correctly. 

In case of any confusion, refer to this video to see how you can measure your head size:

2. Placing the Helmet Correctly

Place the helmet on your head and secure it in place. You will observe that the helmet does not make a perfect bowl when you point the straps toward the ground. The edges of a helmet are usually irregular. At the front of the helmet, the brim is the highest.

This is because the helmet is designed to cover your forehead just above your eyebrows. Thus, the front of the helmet is lightweight as compared to the back. The back is heavier and falls lower at the end to ensure that the back of your skull is covered within it.

Another way to distinguish between a helmet’s front and back is to look for a sun visor. If your helmet has one, this is the front. Also, many helmets have a plastic stabilizer at their back. The more expensive helmets also consist of flashing red lights at their back.

Carefully look at the aforementioned signs to identify the front of your helmet. Otherwise, simply looking at the helmet’s shape can also tell you which part goes at the front so that you can wear it correctly. 

3. Wearing the Helmet Correctly

Having measured the helmet size and identified the front from the back, let’s discuss how you can secure a helmet. Put your helmet on while standing in front of a mirror. It should appear to be ‘hugging’ most of your forehead and ending, bordering about an inch above your eyebrows.

Additionally, your helmet should not be inclining towards your hairline. You must wear it low at the back of your head to protect you correctly if your head gets hit. Then, secure the chin strap.

Close the buckle and readjust the strap’s sides so that it hangs directly below the midpoint of your lower jaw. A strap mostly contains two adjustment points on either strap’s side: one on the lower end to adjust the fitting of the strap and the other to adjust how the top, V-shaped section, straps around your ears.

Although the strap does not need to be tightly secured around your face, ensure that no more than a finger’s space lies between your skin and the strap. To tighten the helmet, hold it in place with one hand and use the other to move the adjustment knob. Continue twisting the knob until the helmet is fitted on your head but is still comfortable.

Again moving to the strap, slide the plastic adjuster which is found where the strap makes a V-shape. Until the V-point is directly below your earlobes, continue sliding the adjuster. To check whether the helmet has been fitted, move it back and forth on your head.

If a forward movement greater than an inch occurs, the straps need to be tightened more behind your ears, whereas if the movement occurs backward, the straps need to be more secured at the front.

Following the abovementioned steps will ensure that your helmet is placed correctly on your head so that its straps do not make you feel uncomfortable while cycling. Now, we will discuss the two types of bike helmet buckle straps.

The following video shows how to wear a helmet correctly:

How Many Types of Bicycle Helmet Buckles Are There?

There are two main types of bicycle helmet buckles: the Fastex/Nexus buckle and the Tabbed slider buckle. Continue reading to find out more about each type! 

Related: Why Are Road Bike And Mountain Bike Helmets Different?

The Fastex/Nexus Buckle

This is the most widely used buckle worldwide, with almost all cycle helmets containing a plastic buckle. This consists of a two-prong male piece that slides into the female side of the buckle. 

It is released by pressing on the buckle’s sides. Here, cutouts are present to guide you towards contacting the two prongs and pressing them inwards. The Fastex buckle is favorable because it is cheaper, lighter, easier to use, and more reliable than the Tabbed slider buckle. 

However, it has several drawbacks as well. This buckle needs the straps always to be adjusted correctly and to hold their adjustment. This means that, if needed, you will not be able to make any adjustments mid-ride.

Also, this strap is more vulnerable to getting loose over time. This is because there are only two positions for the buckle, it can either be pressed together or hand loosely. The Fastex buckle can also break easily. Usually, one buckle breaks before the other, making it unable to function overall.

The Tabbed Slider Buckle

This buckle is only used by a few manufacturers worldwide. It consists of a buckle that has a toothed male tab made to slide inside the female part and can be released with a single click.

This buckle is beneficial because it allows for adjustments to be made even when the helmet is on, unlike the Fastex buckle. The strap can also be adjusted mid-ride if it becomes loose because of sweat saturation. 

Examples of Other Buckle Designs

Although several other buckle designs exist, most are not being used today because of their shortcomings. An example is a D-ring buckle. Many riders are unable to close the D-ring buckles because they are hard. This overweighs the fact that they are cheaper and more reliable than the commonly used buckles.

Bike helmets may need a replacement when their straps break. Other reasons may lead to a bike helmet being replaced, so continue reading to discover what they are! 

bike helmet on ebike

When Should You Replace a Bike Helmet?

As a bike helmet is a vital kit that can prevent you from serious harm during an accident, it must be taken good care of. Although there is no set expiration date for a bike helmets, they might need to be repaired or replaced for several reasons. 

The Bike Helmet Does Not Fit

As we grow older, our heads tend to grow as well. Thus, you must replace your bike helmet if it does not fit your head anymore. When secured correctly, your helmet should neither feel too tight nor too loose. If it does, you need to replace it because it may fall off during an accident leading to severe injuries. 

If Your Helmet is Dropped

Helmets can often break if they fall on a hard surface. At other times, they might have dents because of the fall, but they may not be clearly seen. Thus, it is essential to inspect your helmet thoroughly and take it to a mechanic to confirm whether it needs to be replaced or not. 

Your Helmet is Old

Although helmets made decades ago seem eye-catching, they should be replaced. This is because older helmets cannot ensure safety in case of an accident as their material is not durable enough.

Also, older helmets do not comprise hard shells. This exposes your head to severe injuries, even in a minor accident. Even the helmets with built-in hard shells have a thinner layer than those manufacturers currently.

You must remember a few other things while wearing a helmet so that it works correctly. 

Additional Guidelines To Remember When Wearing a Helmet

As helmets function to prevent you from getting seriously injured, it is essential to wear them. Let’s now detail some guidelines to remember while wearing helmets. 

Avoid Wearing a Thick Hat Under Your Helmet

You may want to wear a thicker hat underneath your helmet on a cold and rainy day. However, you must be careful to avoid this. This is because wearing a thick hat may result in the helmet sitting too high on your head.

This is highly unsafe because the helmet does not fit correctly on your head. Thus, you will be more vulnerable to head and jaw injuries in case of direct impact. Instead, wearing thinner hats or ear coverings is a better way to prevent yourself from getting too cold. 

Secure Your Hair

When riding a bike, it is crucial to consider your hairstyle, especially if you have longer or more voluminous hair. This is because flying hair or ponytail may get into your eyes, preventing you from seeing ahead clearly and causing more accidents.

However, some helmets contain a specially designed mechanism at the back. This lets people with longer hair pull their ponytail or plait through the back of the helmet.   

Wear Your Helmet The Right Way

Do not wear your helmet from the opposite direction. Although this is a common mistake many riders make, it is important to get the correct orientation of your helmet. This is because the back of helmets is usually lower than the front. 

Thus, the back of your head and skull are better protected when you wear your helmet with the correct side at the front. 

Final Takeaway

It can be observed that your bike helmet straps can make you uncomfortable due to several reasons, including the helmet chin strap being closed too tightly. You can avoid this discomfort by selecting the right-sized helmet.