Back in the day, if you wanted to keep your helmet visor free of fog, mist or condensation on the inside, you would wipe washing-up liquid over it, dry it off and hope for the best.
Thankfully today, things are a lot more advanced and by far the best way to keep the inside of your helmet visor fog-free – and hence, as safe as possible – is to use an anti-fog insert, which will be included with many helmets and available as an option for others.
The leader in this field is Pinlock and it works with helmet manufacturers to develop lenses for their various helmets and visors. Pinlock’s system consists of two distinct ingredients; the lens itself and the pins on which it locates, which are formed into the helmet visor.
There are three types of pin; a simple push pin, that is push-fit in the visor but is eccentric to allow the position of the location for the lens to be altered, to vary the tension across the lens.
The second is the three-component pin, which uses a screw-system to vary the grip across the visor while still offering the eccentric adjustment of the push pin while the top-level is the tear-off pin, which allows fitting a pinlock insert inside the visor while race tear-offs can be fitted on the outside for quick and easy improvements in a racer’s vision.
The lens itself comes in three ‘strengths’, the higher the number, the greater the fog clearance; there is the entry-level 30, the mid-level 70 and the range-topping 120. While the 30 can be a universal fit, the 70 and 120 are custom-designed with the helmet manufacturers to work with specific helmets and visors.
There is also the ‘100% Max Vision’ that is designed to sit inside a purpose-designed cavity in the visor to provide a huge, fog-free area of vision.
All lenses, irrespective of their ‘strength’ or design, feature three elements. The slits at the ends are designed to fit against the pins in the visor and locate the lens against it.
As the pin rotates, it changes the position of the lens location and hence, can vary the tension across the width of the lens, making sure it contacts properly with the visor completely otherwise it won’t work to its full efficiency.
The silicon seal on the front (the surface against the helmet’s visor) provides an airtight seal and this creates a layer of air that separates the inner surface from the outer and insulates the inner surface, acting much like domestic double-glazing. If this seal is not against the visor all round, then this can affect the effectiveness and this is what is adjusted by the position of the pins.
Finally, the inner surface of the Pinlock insert is a dry hydrophilic membrane that absorbs moisture and distributes it so that it does not interfere with your vision.
In addition to the clear Pinlock insert that typically comes with most helmets, there are also coloured and tinted versions and even a photochromatic version for helmets that do not include a drop-down sun visor, such as Arais and some Shoeis.
Pinlock pretty much has the anti-fog market sewn-up though there are one or two other manufacturers who have some offerings. Here are some of the products available on the market today.
Pinlock 30 Clear
The basic model, in this case for the Caberg Duke II helmet, the Pinlock 30 is the entry-level product and will make a huge difference over trying to wear a helmet with no anti-fog treatment at all.
Keep visor fog-free
Available for almost all helmets
Included with many helmets
HJC Coloured Lenses
Intended for almost all HJC helmets, this range of finishes in Pinlock lenses offers the rider the chance to not only keep their visor fog-free but also, tailor their vision to the conditions. There is a dark smoke or tinted version for bright sunshine and a yellow version for foggy, wet or dark conditions as well as the familiar clear version.
Available in various finishes
Tints to help reduce sun glare
Yellow to help in poor visibility
Darker tints may not be legal for the road
This anti-fog insert is intended to be used on any helmet and is a generic shape and size to fit most u2013 presumably without Pinlock pins. The lens protector is marked and you have to mark up the visor before applying the lens itself, which is adhesive. A useful addition if your helmet doesnu2019t have Pinlock pins.
Comes with fitting instructions
Looks like tricky and involved to fit
Pinlock Max Vision
This Max Vision insert, for Arai helmets, is designed to sit within a recess in the visor and provide a huge, fog-free field of vision for the rider. As Arai does not believe in drop-down sun visors, this insert is available in several finishes, like the HJC version above, including light and dark tint and yellow for poor conditions.
Give huge fog-free field of vision
Designed specifically for recess in visor
Offers vision options for Arai helmets
Need to change lens or visor between different conditions
Another universal lens, this one is also self-adhesive and purports to reduce UV rays coming through the visor. Itu2019s intended for use with all styles of helmet u2013 with the exception of bowl-visor retro-style versions and comes with everything necessary to fit it.
Protect from UV rays
Fitting kit included
Narrow field of view
Pinlock ProtecTINT Lens
This lens is designed for Shoei helmets but as with almost all variants, there are options for most manufacturers. This is a photo-sensitive tinting lens that darkens automatically in bright sunlight but lightens again when the light begins to fade. This makes it perfect for helmets that do not have drop-down sun visors.
Added usefulness to anti-fog lens
Automatically lightens and darkens in sunlight
Fist as normal
Recommended for daytime use only
This universal insert is made by Raleri, an Italian optical specialist that produces goggles and all sorts of optical protection. The lens is a universal fit in two sizes and there is a shaped version for Arai helmets that use brow vents on the visor and there are also various finishes; tinted, orange or a photo-sensitive darkening version. They get great reviews online.
Shaped version for Arai vented visors
Different finishes, including photo-sensitive
Rely on adhesive layer for fixing
Oxford Ultra Clear
British kit and accessory giant Oxford Products has also produced a universal anti-fog lens intended for any helmet visor. It is apparently easy to use and fits tack-free and can be reused.
Comes from renowned kit producer
Rely on adhesion for fitting