Riders who prefer wearing tinted shields on their helmets instead of sunglasses tucked inside them are painfully aware of the conundrum: How do we handle the switch to a clear shield after dark?
If you’re like me, you keep a tank bag on your bike that carries the extra shield. However, I don’t always ride my personal bike, and I frequently ride bikes on which tank bags look rather silly. Consequently, I have carried spare shields in backpacks or in a case tucked around my waist inside my jacket. While functional, neither option is ideal. Similarly, helmets with internal flip-up shields offer a different a different means of dealing with the issue but can also suffer from other problems, like having the internal tinted shield fog in cold weather or allowing reflective glare to bounce up from below.
Photochromatic shields have been the motorcycle visor Holy Grail for a long time, but until recent years, their performance and degree of actual tinting left much to be desired. Ever since Shoei first announced in early 2015 that it was partnering with Transitions Optical Inc. to produce a shield for their best selling full-face helmet, the RF-1200, I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to test one. (In 2012 the Bell Helmets Transitions SOLFX Quick-Release Shield, a shield created in a similar partnership with Transitions Optical, won the MO Best New Product Honorable Mention.) Long story short, now that I have one of these shields affixed to my favorite lid, it will be difficult to go back to the task of switching shields to match the lighting conditions.
The Shoei Transitions shield (right) has reached this level of darkness in just one minute of exposure to the sun. The CWR-1 Dark Smoke is on the left.
In the time it takes to walk from inside …read more