Motorcycle helmets have become an important part of owning a motorcycle due to the role they play in keeping the rider safe and secure. But not all helmets come equipped with the type of features you need to stay safe on the road. A visor is a key part of rider safety because it can provide much-needed protection and relief from the sun. If you have the sun shining in your eyes while you’re riding, this can have a huge impact on your visibility on the road. So, let’s go over how to select the right visor for your motorcycle helmet, and the different benefits it has to offer.
Visors that are designed for use with full-face helmets provide ultimate protection since they extend all the way from the top of the helmet to the chin. With an open-face style helmet, the visor may extend all the way down to the chin, however, most visors designed for open-face style helmets are usually only half the length and focus primarily on providing eye protection, so there’s no protection for the chin.
If you have a helmet that came with a stock visor that doesn’t offer much protection, then you’ll be happy to learn that most models can be replaced and upgraded. They should also be replaced if they become damaged since scratches can have a huge impact on visibility. This is especially true if you’re riding toward the sun.
Before you remove the stock visor on your helmet, make sure you consult the user’s manual to learn how to safely do so and what types of visors are compatible. You’ll need to find a replacement that’s the right size and equipped with the right type of hardware that works with your particular model.
A full-face visor is always recommended over half-face style designs since only the full-face option can protect your chin upon impact. Research has shown that forty percent of the time, the rider’s chin will take some impact in the event of an accident.
Most riders don’t recommend using tinted visors since they can also restrict your visibility, especially at dusk or on overcast days. You also cannot use a tinted visor for riding at night.
To prevent the visor from fogging up, it should come with an anti-fog coating that helps to improve visibility.
For more info on helmet safety, click here to read my article on how to lock your helmet to your motorcycle.
Why Do I Want a Motorcycle Helmet Visor?
The visor, which is also referred to as the shield, is a large clear panel that you’ll look through as you ride. It can provide protection from the sun, elements, and flying debris. The visor you choose should be strong enough to resist penetration upon impact, which is why models that are sold separately are often pricey. You should purchase a dark visor for daytime riding and a clear one for nighttime riding.
For some, riding a motorcycle is all about looking cool and enjoying the feel of the wind hitting their face. But if you’re a serious rider, and you want to cover a lot of ground during the day, a visor is an important piece of gear that you don’t want to ride without.
While it’s true that most helmets come equipped with a visor, some don’t. As I’ve mentioned earlier, a visor is considered an important accessory, and one that’s designed to keep you safe on the road by improving your visibility in bright light conditions.
What Features Should I Look for in a Motorcycle Helmet Visor?
- Eye protection
- Head protection
Visors aren’t just for the rider who travels long distances. In fact, they’re a must for every rider. Sunglasses don’t offer enough protection from harsh UV rays. If you want to stay safe on the road, highway, or freeway, then a visor can provide the type of protection you need, while boosting visibility and safety. But visors aren’t only used to protect your eyes from the sun, in fact, they can provide protection from wind, rain, and flying debris such as rocks, twigs, leaves, dirt, dust, and more.
Most visors will come equipped with a mechanism that allows the visor to pivot, but it’s also what will attach it securely to your helmet. Most manufacturers will produce their own mechanism, so you will need to be extra careful when you’re shopping for a visor, to ensure it’s compatible with your brand and style of helmet. These mechanisms are surprisingly fragile, but with careful installation, you can easily adjust the way the shield fits against the helmet’s seal and adjust the visor accordingly.
Unfortunately, not all helmets come with a visor, and not all helmets are designed to accommodate one. This means that you’ll need to ensure that your helmet is compatible with a visor, before you buy one.
If you intend on maintaining high speeds or using the freeway for travel then you’ll definitely need a helmet that’s compatible with a visor.
For more information on compatibility, stop by and visit my buyer’s guide on the safest motorcycle helmets.
Maintenance and Care
Visors can be delicate. Because of this, it’s crucial that you learn how to secure your helmet to your motorcycle with a holder during transport, to protect the integrity of the coatings. Learning how to keep the visor clean will also be important.
It may seem like keeping your visor looking good and free from dirt, dead bugs, and debris is as simple as wiping it down with a wet rag, however, you need to take a few precautions when you’re cleaning your visor to prevent damaging the special coatings that protect the visor from damage and scratches. This will be especially important when it comes to cleaning the inner surface, which is where you’ll often find the anti-fog coating. When done right, cleaning the face shield should only take about five minutes, but it’s well worth your time to keep your visor clean and ready for a ride.
First, you’ll use a warm wet paper towel and place it over the visor’s exterior. Allow the paper towel to rest on the visor for ten minutes, to help soften and break up any debris.
Next, you’ll wipe down the surface using another wet paper towel.
To remove built-up dirt and grime, use a mild dish cleanser and warm water and wipe down the exterior and inner surface. The visor should be rinsed off in warm water. Pat dry using a microfiber cloth. Avoid using a wiping motion to dry the visor since this can damage the special coatings on both the inner and outer surfaces.
Get Rid of Scratches
Sometimes, scratches and scuffs are impossible to prevent, but they can have a major impact on your visibility. This can prevent you from seeing people, oncoming traffic, or hazards in the road, especially in low or bright light conditions. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then attempting to remove the scratches can do more harm than good and may end up permanently damaging the face shield. In order to get rid of scratches and protect the integrity of the visor, start off by taking the visor off the helmet.
Sanding and Heat Gun Use
Place it under warm running water. To sand out the scratches, you’ll want to use a fifteen hundred grit sandpaper. Gently rub a finger over the visor’s surface after you’ve sanded it for thirty seconds. If you can still feel the scratches continue sanding until the surface is smooth. Wipe down any excess water using a microfiber cloth. Allow the visor to air dry for at least two hours. Next, you’ll use a heat gun, adjusting the setting to five hundred degrees. Wait fifteen minutes for the heat gun to reach the ideal temperature.
Next, turn on a lamp and hold the visor approximately three feet from the light. Use the heat gun, placing it five inches away from the outer surface of the visor. The heat gun must be moved constantly across the surface to remove any remaining scratches or scuffs. Avoid holding the heat gun in place for more than a few seconds. Once the surface appears smooth, allow the visor to cool down for an hour before reattaching it to your helmet.
There are a variety of different styles, brands, and models of visors to choose from, depending on the type of motorcycle helmet you have. Below, you’ll find six of the leading face shields on the market that come equipped with scratch-resistant, fog-resistant, and UV-resistant protection, in addition to a durable design that can protect you from the elements, flying debris, dust, and more.
Vega Echo Shorty 3 Snap Shield for Motorcycle Helmet
This visor is one of the smallest models on the market and it’s designed to only cover a portion of the face, mainly covering the eyes. The visor’s design eliminates the need for a separate pair of goggles on your helmet and works very well as an attachment for bowl-shaped helmets that do not have a visor pre-installed.
Motorcycle Helmet Replacement Smoke Tinted Visor 508
This replacement motorcycle helmet visor is excellent for making a change in a racing helmet’s visor for whatever reason. It is also relatively cheap and still manages to meet all the safety requirements that can provide the type of protection you need on the road.
Motorcycle Helmet Replacement Face Shield Mirror-Coated Blue
This mirrored visor is perfect for daytime riders. It’s incredibly durable and features a hard-coated anti-scratch surface that works to keep your visor looking new and damage-free. Of course, since scratches on your visor can have a negative impact on visibility, this special coating is a big deal. The visor will protect riders from up to ninety-nine percent of harmful UVB and UVA rays. Additionally, the 3D injection molding process will also ensure high-visibility in a variety of light conditions. This model is made out of one hundred percent polycarbonate, which is an impact-resistant material.
Wancar Retro Universal Standard 3-Snap Open Face Motorcycle Helmets
This retro universal helmet visor by Wancar is made out of injection-molded polycarbonate, which is impact resistant and scratch-resistant. This model works well with a wide variety of helmet sizes and styles and comes equipped with an anti-scratch, anti-fog, and anti-UV treatment for improved visibility in any type of light condition.
ILM Motorcycle Dual Visor Flip up Modular Full Face Helmet
This clear visor is made out of high resistance ABS material for a surface that’s scratch-resistant. The visor is equipped with an anti-fog and anti-scratch coating for improved visibility in a wide range of lighting conditions. It features a lightweight, sleek design that works to reduce wind noise, for a more enjoyable riding experience, even when you’re gunning it.
Bell Men’s Star/Vortex/RS-1 and Revolver Helmet Face Shield
The Bell Men’s Star face shield comes equipped with a tough anti-scratch, anti-fog coating, in addition to top of the line UV protection. The visor’s dark smoky color will provide plenty of protection from harsh light conditions, even when you’re riding toward the sun. The face shield’s versatile design will allow you to use it for a wide range of helmet brands, styles, and sizes.
Learning how to select the right visor for your motorcycle helmet will keep you safe on the road by protecting your eyes from harmful UV damage, harsh winds, rain, and flying debris. But finding the right type of visor isn’t always easy. If you’re searching for a model that offers ultimate protection, go for a visor that features a full-face design, which will protect your entire face, including your chin.
If you ride during the day and night, then you’ll want to choose a darker visor for the day and a clear visor for nighttime use. Before you buy, you’ll also need to ensure that the model you’re interested in is compatible with your helmet. With the right visor, you’ll enjoy high visibility and total safety on the road, whether you’re a night rider, a casual rider, a commuter, or a cross country rider.