How To Adjust Bicycle Helmet Straps? [A Detailed Note]

How To Adjust Bicycle Helmet Straps

As safety comes first, bicycle riders buy bicycle helmets just after getting a bike. But, as bicycle helmets are very different from motorcycle helmets, riders often get puzzled about how to fasten the helmet properly. This is a common problem as fastening a bicycle helmet is a bit complicated. The helmet shape and design are unique and so is the way of adjusting it. 

As the process of fastening the bicycle helmet is a bit confusing, riders often end up doing it incorrectly, making themselves uncomfortable. The helmet has to be well-fitted and secured to safeguard your head and make you comfortable. However, you can only do it correctly when you know how to adjust the bicycle helmet straps. 

Nothing to worry about as I am about to provide you a step-by-step guide of how to adjust the bicycle helmet straps and other relevant information so that you can have a smooth, comfortable, and safe ride. 

So, stay with me till you get the answer to your question:

7 Easiest Steps To Adjust Bicycle Helmet Straps:

7 Easiest Steps To Adjust Bicycle Helmet Straps

There are several ways to fasten a bicycle helmet. As a bicycle helmet is open at the front and the back, it needs to be fastened carefully and properly so that it doesn’t fall off your head. For an accurate fit, a bicycle helmet features adjustable straps that are to be adjusted in different ways. 

Don’t worry if you have no idea about these straps because I would show you 7 easiest steps to adjust bicycle helmet straps:

Step 1: Adjust The Pads:

For comfort and ease, helmets come with pads that absorb sweat. Also, these pads settle softly on your head making you comfortable. You need to adjust these pads before fastening the helmet. 

Helmets come with extra pads as well so that you can fix them according to your convenience. Besides the multiple vent gaps in the helmet, you need to add and fix these pads. The pads have velcro tabs so that you can attach them wherever you want them to be. 

The pads are machine washable. Therefore, wash them when they get dirty and stinky and reset them. And you are done with the first step as you adjust the pads. 

Step 2: Adjust The Occipital Cradle:

As I mentioned before, there are several adjustable bands in the helmet to make the fit accurate. This is necessary so that the helmet doesn’t get off your head. So, before you work on the straps, you have to fix the occipital cradle on the back. 

This adjustment keeps the helmet on your head and prevents it from tilting or loosening up. The adjustable occipital cradle has a radial dial and two ratcheting buttons. You have to adjust the dial and close the button together.

This band can be loosened or tightened using the dial. This adjustment would decide if the helmet would be fitted well or not. This would decide your comfort level too as the helmet would stay in place firmly if adjusted correctly. 

Step 3: Check The Fit:

You need to check the fit now. How to do that? You have to move your head forward and backward and sideways with the cradle fastened. You can also rotate your head to check the fit. Now if the helmet doesn’t tilt or move from place, you have fixed it correctly. 

If the helmet gets loosened after tilting and moving your head freely, you need to tighten and readjust the cradle so that it doesn’t get off your head. In this way, check if the cradle has been fixed accurately.

Step 4: Work On The Straps:

Now is the time to work on the straps. The straps are there to make you feel more confident and eliminate the risk of falling off your head. Adjusting the straps also keeps your head in an upright position and provides support to your chin. 

The chin strap has little locking flaps. First, you have to open the lock of these flaps to loosen the strap. Make the strap flat and slowly pull up the lock upwards right up to your ear lobe.

The two straps coming down from the helmet have to be positioned on the two sides of your ear. These two separate straps are attached together by the flap just below your ear lobe.

Now adjust these flaps on both sides, pull it up, and fix it just below the ear lobe. Try to adjust it to the same position on both sides. This part is crucial as it supports your chin, makes the fit better, and positions the helmet perfectly. 

So, are you done with fixing the flaps? If yes, let us move forward.

Step 5: Adjust The Chin Buckle:

So, we are not yet done with the straps. After you fix the flaps up to your ear, now it is the turn to adjust the chin buckles to secure the chin and tighten the strap. However, before moving on to the step, you need to learn the type of chin buckle your helmet has.

Some helmets have magnetic clips while others may have two-part snap-lock buckles. Some other helmets have ratcheting plastic buckles. 

Once you learn how exactly you have to lock the buckle, you can now adjust the strap. You have to lock the buckle first. Now you can see the straps from both sides secured inside the buckle. After you lock the buckle, you have to pull the strap to adjust the fit.

Hold the buckle with one hand, and pull the straps with the other hand. Pull the strap up so that the buckle touches your chin. And yes, you are done with adjusting the straps. 

Step 6: Check The Chin Adjustment: 

Don’t fasten the strap too tightly. The strap tension has to be balanced for increased comfort and ease. If the strap pushes your chin too hard, you would end up having sores and pain on the chin. 

Also, you don’t need to tighten the strap too much as the backward cradle does most of the task of keeping the helmet in place. Similarly, if it is loosened too much, you would feel insecure and unsafe. So, there is an easy way to check if the fit is correct or not. 

Ideally, you should be able to put two fingers in between the buckle and chin. If you can do this effortlessly, you are having a perfect fit. It won’t cause any discomfort to you and would make you feel secure.

Step 7: Tuck Up The Ends:

You may notice the loose straps extending out from the buckle. This not only looks weird and bad but also disturbs you. So, you need to secure them properly so that the extended straps don’t bother you during the ride.

You can see a retaining buckle attached to the chin buckle. Pull that buckle up towards the strap end. Now keep the buckle extension at the end of the strap. Now, this strap end wouldn’t swing in the air or create any disturbance. 

And yes, you are done with adjusting the straps, fastening the buckles, and finally getting the right bicycle helmet fit. 

Bicycle Helmet: Know Before You Go

Should You Adjust Bicycle Helmet Straps Tightly? (2 Reasons)

Ideally, you should not fasten your bicycle helmet straps too tightly. It should be very subtle and comfortable to touch your head. There are 2 main reasons why you should not adjust bicycle helmet straps tightly:

  1. The occipital cradle works on making the best fit for you and also keeps the helmet in place firmly. Therefore, for keeping the helmet in place, you need not make the straps tight.
  1. Fastening the straps tightly would result in sores and pain in your chin. Besides, you would feel uncomfortable and choke with the straps pushing against your skin. 

Tie up the strap subtly so that it supports your chin. Don’t loosen it up too much or don’t make it too tight.

Are Bicycle Helmet Straps Fully Adjustable?

Nowadays, bicycle helmets come with multiple adjustable straps so that you can get the best fit. It also adds comfort and ease so that the helmet doesn’t feel uncomfortable on your head. 

The straps that come up from the helmet down to your ears can be adjusted using a flap. You can adjust these flaps on both sides and set the flap just below the ear lobes for comfort and ease. This is the right position to adjust the flaps. These straps are fully adjustable and you can alter the flap accordingly. 

The best part of modern bicycle helmets is the occipital cradle at the back. This has a dial and two ratcheting buttons for locking it securely. You can use the dial to tighten or loosen up the helmet at the back. This is the main adjustment point that keeps the helmet firmly on your head and decides the fit. 

Then comes the chin buckles. The chin buckle is fully adjustable. The buckle can be of different types. The buckle securely brings together the two straps coming down the two sides of your ears. Now you need to lock the buckle and pull the strap until it touches your chin. You can adjust this buckle to decide on a comfortable fit. 

If the helmet is bigger than your head, you have to add the strap pads that come with the helmet to ensure that the helmet sits on your head perfectly. 

All in all, today’s bicycle helmets have fully adjustable straps to ensure ultimate comfort and better fit.

How To Position A Bicycle Helmet Correctly? (3 Common Mistakes)

No matter how carefully you fasten and adjust the helmet straps, you won’t get ultimate comfort if you don’t learn where on your head you should fix the helmet. People often make blunders while finding the right position to place the helmet. 

The three common mistakes that you are likely to do while positioning the bicycle helmet on your head:

1. Positioning Too Backward:

I often notice riders wearing helmets that expose their entire forehead. I see the helmet extremely tilted towards the rear. Let me tell you why this is a problem.

If the rider falls off the bicycle facing the front, the helmet won’t protect his forehead as it is exposed. Thus, he would end up hurting his forehead. This means, wearing a helmet tilting backward is more or less useless. 

2. Positioning Too Forward:

Some riders wear the helmet that is tilted towards the front and covers the entire forehead. Now you may say that it is better as it would protect the forehead. But there would be another issue here.

Your vision would be hugely disrupted if the helmet is too forward. It would make you uncomfortable and hamper your ride by distracting your front vision. Therefore, positioning the helmet too forward isn’t good.

3. Positioning Offside:

This is another mistake that many riders might do. This mostly happens to riders with narrow heads. Wide helmets don’t fit them well no matter how much they adjust the straps. This is why the helmet tilts at one side.

Now to fix this, you can add up the extra strap pads that come with the helmet. Adding extra straps would narrow the size thus adjusting it to your head. Now, you can work on the straps. 

So, what’s the correct position? The correct position is to place the helmet on the forehead keeping a gap of 1 finger width between the top line of the eyebrow and the bottom line of the helmet. This position protects your forehead as well as doesn’t hamper your vision. It is a safe and the correct way of positioning a bicycle helmet.


You have a step-by-step guide on how to adjust the helmet straps and make the best and comfortable fit. Follow my providing 7 easiest steps to adjust a bicycle helmet straps and get the right fit and ease during wearing. 

Now, are you ready for a safer and happier ride wearing the helmet in the right way? I believe you are ready to rock on!

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Shamim Ahmed

My journey with cycling started in 2011 and I have been cycling since then. I am a self-taught bicycle enthusiast who has collected a lot of knowledge about it through the years. On this blog, I share my passion and experiences with cycling, as well as insights and recommendations. This blog is also useful for any riders out there who want to improve their cycling skills and techniques.

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