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Crash helmets and fogging shields
Crash helmets suffer from fogging shields. Fact. Especially when it’s cold or wet. We’ve all been there, sat at the traffic lights or crawling through slow traffic, rain slamming down on your shield and it’s like peering through a bathroom window. You can see jack shit through the fogging and you swear you’re going to get it sorted out. Riding like that is annoying. But more than that, it’s incredibly dangerous.
If only there was a way to sort it.
Well, Pinlock face shield inserts are widely regarded as the best way to stop your crash helmet shield fogging up. So here’s all you need to know about Pinlock.
(Click the link to skip to view helmets that are all either Pinlock-ready or come with Pinlocks in the box)
What are they?
Pinlock shield inserts are flexible transparent plastic inserts which are placed inside the inner surface of your shield . The main shield itself has to be ‘Pinlock enabled’, meaning it needs to have tiny Pinlock locating posts already on the inside of the shield . These are used by the Pinlock shield insert to locate the Pinlock into the correct position and keep it there.
Derek Arnold started importing helmets into the Netherlands in 1979 but didn’t invent the Pinlock shield system until 1994. It was always invented to help motorcyclists see better out of their crash helmet shields and was initially trialled with the Dutch police. Pinlocks have gradually grown in popularity throughout Europe and are now becoming more and more popular in the US and Asia. In fact many crash helmets, generally towards the upper end of the crash helmet market, come pre-fitted with either Pinlock-ready shield or with Pinlock inserts already installed.
How do they work?
The insert has a bead of silicon sealant around it’s edge. This presses tightly against the inside of your crash helmet’s shield to make an airtight seal. The insert’s pretty easy to put in place. You buy the right Pinlock for your helmet, and it locates on the pegs on the shield. It’s the pressure between the pegs that pushes the insert onto the shield and keeps it tightly in place. And that’s it! It forms a double layer a bit like double glazing and it’s this that stops condensation forming on the rear of the shield. Condensation can’t form on the Pinlock shield material itself either – and that leaves your vision fog-free even in the most condensation-inducing situations. Genius.
That’s for the original Pinlock, but there’s also a Pinlock Max Vision. With the Max Vision, the main helmet shield has an actual recess on the inside. The Max Vision sits inside this recess and the silicone edging creates an airtight seal, trapping a thin layer of air inside. It’s also larger than the original Pinlock so there’s less chance any of the edges will sit in your line of sight.
You can also get smoked Pinlocks for sunny days – and amber versions for improved vision in low light (now you’re talking!).
Not many really – and none of them are a fraction of the drawback of having your visor fogging up all the time. They’re an extra cost on top of a shield – usually around $25-$45. They sometimes slightly impare your vision, with reflections from your face under some riding conditions. They’re pretty good in terms of not distorting the light that comes through, but arguably not as good as not having the Pinlock there in the first place.
The original Pinlocks also don’t cover the entire surface of the visor. I once had an old Shoei with a Pinlock fitted and the top of the Pinlock used to get in the way of my vision when I was going for it.
They’re also not always 100%. A recent ride across the Alps with a Pinlock Max Vision and it started to fog up going over the tops – which was a surprise!
However, Pinlock have now launched a range of various strengths of anti-fogs – Pinlock 70, 90 and 120 – with the 120’s being for pro motorcycle racers. So maybe that points to not all Pinlocks being equal!
To be honest, it’s not really their fault because it’s not that obvious when you buy one; and the instruction diagrams don’t show there’s a backing that needs removing.
But now you know, peel off the backing first before using your Pinlock – you’ll find it much better that way!
Pinlocks are available for most popular makes of helmet including:
AGV, Arai, Airoh, BMW, Box, Caberg, Givi, Gmax, Grex, HJC, KBC, Lazer, LS2, Marushin, Nolan, Nitro, Schuberth, Scorpion, Shark, Spada, Shoei, Suomy, Takachi, X-lite. They also produce a range of universal Pinlocks that should fit your more generic, more obscure brands of helmet.
Recommended or not?
Definitely recommended. They offer some of the best anti-fog protection out there. I’m also a fan of other sticky anti-fog shield inserts too (ones that adhere to the inside of the shield). However, Pinlock offer one of the best solutions on the market.