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Helmet pressure pains after extended use

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Apologies in advance, this is a long one :roll:

I bought a HJC Rpha Max from J&S when I first kitted myself out a couple of months back (https://www.jsaccessories.co.uk/buy/HJC-Rpha-Max-Helmet/13497.htm).

I took on board the usual advice of trying some on for size and I think the guy on the counter was being helpful. The shape seemed fine, no forehead pressure which the guy said was a common issue if you get the wrong shape. Got the XL size which was snug enough to "chew my cheeks" at the time, but as the guy said that will (and has already started too) relax with wear-in. Not much movement of my head in the helmet if I shake it around so generally seemed fine at the time.

However i'm now noticing a few pressure points after wearing it for a while. Sometimes it takes an hour or so to reveal itself, other times it can take 6+ hours of near constant wearing it. But there are two points of my head that eventually start o get a little painful.


Did a little googling and crown pain seems to be common with helmets that are loose fitting or the chin strap is too tight. Basically suggesting it happens when the weight of the helmet isn't distributed across your head so it all sits on the highest point of your head.

I'm fairly certain this isn't the case. I can get my fingers under the chin strap so that's not too tight. I also tried pushing down on the helmet when wearing it too see if it was touching the top and sure enough there is definitely a little room there. Not a lot but enough that I can tell I have to the push the helmet down before I feel it pressing on my crown.

So i'm at a loss at the moment. My only thoughts are if when going over uneven surfaces, me bouncing up and down slightly translates to the helmet bouncing up and down a little, maybe just enough to bump my crown on the top. Although I can't say i've noticed it happening (and i've been conscious of it on my last 2 rides trying to work out what it is).

My current plan is to buy some of them memory foam in-soles from Poundland and create a 2nd strip of liner inside the helmet across the top, in order to give a couple extra millimeters of padding. I can fix it would a couple of small bits of double sided tap whilst trying it out, and if successful i'll probably grab a pack of velcro sticky tabs to make it a little more semi-permanent.

So on this one, does anyone have any thoughts? Ever experienced something similar?

Ear pain

The second point of pain is my lower ear. I'm not too sure if it's my Anti Helix or Anti Tragus to be specific.


There's no compressible foam in that part of the helmet as that region of it is plastic lined (no doubt foam underneath but I can't reshape the plastic). So the common "get a spoon and press it down a couple of mm" fix can't be tried out.

I'm certain my ears are lying flat (i always stick my fingers up there and flatten them out after putting the helmet on) and it happens after periods of constant use so it's not caused by taking the helmet on and off.

The ear pockets are made up of a V shape in the cheek pads and my current thoughts are that I think the pain happens along the seam.


Not 100% sure yet, but feeling around the area with my helmet on, the painful spot I think is where that seam is. The liner is much thinner and is backed by plastic, which could be the cause?

My current plan for my next outing is to use those memory foam insoles again and try and cut a piece to fit between the plastic and the liner. I should be able to stuff 5mm or so between the plastic and the fabric up against the stitch line. I'm less confident about this fix as adding more padding might increase the pressure, but then memory foam is softer so it might work, if my theory is actually correct. Once again there's a few things I could do to make it more permanent if it works.

So once again, does anyone have any thoughts on this? Things I can try or check?

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I am afraid I do not really have anything constructive to add to your post, however, as it is a very well presented post with lots of information, I can tell that you are a person with tenacity and will not give up on your quest to find a solution.

Please let us know how you get on

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I confess to removing some of the foam padding around the cheek to make one helmet more comfortable. The foam was in layers, so I peeled a layer off. That is as much as I would do as anything else I think would properly compromise safety.

I think you bought a helmet that does not quite fit your head. This a super review site;


which goes into detail about head shape and helmet fit.

I would say though that pain after 6 hours is not too unusual. Like your backside and hands when riding a bike, pressure starts to hurt after a while and the solution is a rest.

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Keep the helmet..... Buy a new head! But seriously, what has already been said. Just have a rest now and again. But do let us know how you get on. @Throttled, great review site. Useful.

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Your lid is available in 3 shell sizes, you have the largest shell but with the smallest size so you should be able to buy the lining/cheek pads from the next size up as its the same shell just different inserts cheek pads etc, if your happy with the lid you should be able to sort it out.

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I think you bought a helmet that does not quite fit your head.


It's entirely possible it's the wrong fit, I was thinking that could be the case. I'll check out that site for some info. However since it's a problem I can't discover with a 10 minute try out in store, I figure i'll try a few things out first to be sure as I could just end up splashing out another £250+ and have a similar issue. Since I can't modify the foam of the helmet in the affected areas I know I can't destroy the stuff that protects my noggin at least. If I can't work something out though, I may just have to take a punt on a new helmet. I guess at least the next time I'll check how my ears sit in the pockets so I might be able to avoid that issue.


I would say though that pain after 6 hours is not too unusual.

I guess thats the main reason I posted the question. Being a very new rider I don't know what is normal so I thought i'd draw on the collective mind of the [strikeout]Borg[/strikeout] forum. The 6 hour stint (first ride out) included a 30 min coffee break in the middle. Second ride lasted 2 hours with no break. So probably need to get out a bit more with it before I have a good idea how long it takes before it starts causing me problems.

Anyway, next time I venture in to town i'll grab me some of them memory foam things and try it out. If nothing else i'll have a nice smelling helmet for a few days if I get the scented ones :D

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Your lid is available in 3 shell sizes, you have the largest shell but with the smallest size so you should be able to buy the lining/cheek pads from the next size up as its the same shell just different inserts cheek pads etc, if your happy with the lid you should be able to sort it out.


I have the XL shell with the XL liner and XL cheek pads (30mm). Confirmed by the labels on each part just to be sure. I believe they do a 2XL in the liner and cheek pads and of course they do Small and Large.

For the ear pain, I doubt changing any of that would help? Going down a size would add more padding but it's already a snug fit, going up would reduce the padding, but the part that hurts I don't think is due to excessive padding (since I think it's on the stick seam) and may not fit as a snugly on my noggin if I went up.

For the crown pain I guess I could try a smaller liner, which may give me extra padding on the top. So maybe a Large liner with the existing XL cheek pads. I guess the best thing to do here is to add the padding myself temporarily to see how it feels, and if the crown pain is gone with a little extra padding, then try and purchase a new thicker liner.

Thanks for the reply, never thought to check what insert options were available. So if I can test it cheaply and it works, I can spend some £££ and buy the inserts that match.

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I was thinking up a size, especially for cheek pads

You won't be able to use smaller pads from a different size shell anyway they won't fit.


Since there is barely any foam (a very small slither) in the ear pocket, not sure if that would help? Unless the ear pocket itself is bigger on the 2XL but I understood it was just the amount of padding that changed?

Not saying your wrong, you know far more than me about this anyway. Just working through the options.

I do need to go back to J&S for some new gloves for the colder weather so i'll see if they stock the spares anyway. They might let me try it out for free to see if it feels any better.

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Part of the point of the padding is that it molds itself so over time the helmet fits better. I would give the existing padding some time rather than adding or taking padding out. The exception is that if a helmet is designed for an intercom, there may be removable pads at the ears it is OK to remove. If you don't fit an intercom, that gives you a bit more space at the ears.

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I stick with the older style Bell lids, as they seem to fit my noggin just right......I can comfortably wear both my M5X for hours with no problems. ....... 8-)

Getting the right lid is another of those costly journeys in finding the right gear......good luck with your search..... 8-)

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I found that my Schuberth C4 can be worn pretty much all day long without any discomfort. But I did take advice from J&S and various head measurements to ensure I got the correct size. This is one of those things that is best not bought online - first time round anyways. Once I got my head size sorted I did buy another Schuberth M1 online, which was also fine though I haven't worn it as much as the C4.

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Here is some very basic info. about helmets which I hope may be of assistance.

Twenty five years ago if you bought say a helmet labelled '57cm' or '59cm' it would be exactly that, and if your head measurement was 59cm. you would be extremely unlucky not to fit a 59cm. helmet.

However in recent times two MASSIVE problems have arisen due to modern helmet engineering:

(a) All manufacturers tend to offer six helmet sizes but instead of utilising several 'shell' (outer shell) sizes the cheap helmet manufacturers save money by only using one or two shell sizes and consequently nearly all of their helmets' true sizes remains the same. They essentially lie by saying that full size changes are made vis a vis adjustments to internal padding sizes. I recently took a tape measure into a dealership offering helmets for sale and measured one manufacturer's 'M' 'L' and 'XL' helmets all at 58cm!

(b) Our modern world is made over technical in most walks of life, and motorcycle helmets are no exception. Nowadays unnecessary constrictions are routinely made around the ears and cheeks. The extra thick padding around the ears is supposed to be to reduce noise. Who doesn't want to hear the roar of their new £600. pipes? I don't know what the excuse is for cheek constriction. To ensue a friendly lip pout to any police officer?

So what is the answer?

(a) Never buy through the post unless you have previously tried on that model / size of helmet.

(b) Buy from a dealer after trying on numerous helmets until you find one which feels at least 95% comfortable. Never, never, never buy a helmet which hurts your ears on taking the helmet off.

© If you wish to secure the best chance of buying best materials then purchase a helmet bearing a gold 'British Motorcycle Sport' label if you buy in the U.K.

What about buying a used vintage helmet?

As a rule of thumb manufacturers recommend changing a helmet ever five years even if its history is known and is damage free. They say that things which come out of your skin degrade the material. I don't have the expertise to confirm or deny, but personally hold grave suspicions over the truth of that statement.

Sadly you just missed my recent eBay sale of a 1998 Shoe in almost pristine condition. It went for £11.50 and was extremely comfortable.

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