I was very excited to try the Pinlock Fog Free Lens System for my Arai XD helmet. I absolutely love my Arai XD helmet, having lived in it for a 9 month, 35,000 mile ride through South America in 2006. Like most riders I’ve had the visor “fog-up” on several occasions, whether it’s a cough, sneeze, or just heavy breathing. And being such a “sweaty head”, I might be the perfect test case a Fog Free Lens.
I find that my visor fogs up the worst when I’m working hard off road, when it’s raining, or when it’s merely cold outside. In those times, I need my visor down to prevent the rain from poking my eyes or borderline frost bite on the cheeks. Regardless, most of us Dual Sport riders have experienced the stress and irritation of not being able to “pick a line” from a visor fog up.
The Pinlock™ Fog Free Lens system we tested includes both the lens insert and the replacement Arai shield/visor, which comes with nifty little ‘pinlocks’ already in place. First, I inserted the Pinlock™ lens on the new shield by gently bending the shield flat and slipping the edges of the lens into the pinlocks. Then it was just a simple matter of removing my old shield from my Arai XD helmet and replacing it with the new shield complete with the new lens insert.
Initially, the Pinlock™ Fog Free Lens system was really easy to figure out, so I just went at it without following the instructions. It seemed as though it was common sense and the lens could only fit on one way. At first, the lens seemed slightly too long for the space between the pinlocks. As a result, there wasn’t a perfect seal or fit and so the lens lifted and bubbled up on one side.
After reading the instructions, I discovered that if the pinlocks are twisted and adjusted correctly, the clip-in lens will fit perfectly in between the pinlocks on the face shield.
The entire installation process would have taken me just a couple of minutes if I had started with a small enough screw driver. All the Pinlocks needed was a half-turn to make the lens fit perfectly, but this was could only be done with a miniature screw driver. What took the time was rummaging through the tools in the utility room. One recommendation would be to either include such a tool with the system, or mention the ‘required tools’ in the instructions or on the label. In hindsight, the instructions were straightforward and the diagram was helpful.
The clip-in lens insert comes in 5 different colors or tints for use in various weather conditions. I opted to try the yellow lens (for high contrast daytime use) and the clear one (for normal use).
The Test: Highway vs. Off Road Riding
I gave the yellow fog-free lens the ultimate test on a cold, rainy day in the late Fall / early Winter…normal conditions to cause a fogged up visor. In general, I was impressed with the lens, whose moisture absorbing plastic had created an air tight double shield that kept me fog free for most of the day.
At highway speeds the lens stayed clear, even in the rain. I also liked that the fog-free lens allowed me to leave my visor down while waiting at a traffic light. Even when I sneezed, it fogged for a split second but was gone as fast as it came. However, after a couple hours of riding without rain, I noticed some fogging around the edges of the lens…but not enough to impede my vision.
When riding off-road, I’d normally keep my visor up and stick with just clear or sun glasses. But to test the lens, I decided to keep the visor down and still keep my glasses on. I was amazed that despite having to remove my glasses due to them fogging up, the Pinlock™ Fog Free Lens remained clear.
However, after a couple hours, the combination of rain and my ‘sweaty’ head had finally managed to fog up the lens. Not completely, but enough to annoy me and force me to ride with my visor up. The manufacturer’s recommendation is to always ride with the visor closed in order to prevent moisture in between the lens and the original visor, but as an off-road rider this isn’t always an option. Riding with the visor down isn’t practical when off-road because of the need for air flow to prevent sweating. I get too hot and can’t breathe well when the visor is down.
Overall, I am still impressed with the lens because this test was humidity to the extreme. I know that without the Pinlock™ Fog Free Lens system, I would have normally fogged-up immediately, certainly I would have not remained fog-free for hours as I did with the system installed.
Yellow vs. Clear Lens
The instructions recommend the yellow lens for track use and daylight conditions only, and I can see why, since the yellow lens didn’t brighten up the rainy day as I had assumed it would. Later, on the rode home that night I discovered the hard way that yellow is not intended for night riding. Those oncoming headlights were blindingly yellow.
The clear fog-free lens was my favorite. It did its job well, while I barely noticed it was even there. I had to remind myself to check if I had any fog-up. Clear all the way!
The Pinlock™ Fog Free Lens system is ideal for highway riding, but not as practical for sweaty off-road riding in the rain. These conditions are simply too much moisture for any lens to be expected to handle. In any other riding conditions, the Pinlock™ improves your ride, even in the rain…and in the soaking wet Pacific Northwest, that means everyone and their cat could use one!
The Pinlock™ Fog Free Lens system is available with fitment for all Arai helmets as well as other major brands including HJC and KBC. You can find out more about Pinlock and their products by visiting their website at www.pinlockusa.com.
The Pinlock system retails for about $30, and you can upgrade your Arai visor to a Pinlock ready unit for just over $50.
Arai Pinlock visors and Pinlock kits are available for order online at www.araiparts.com.