Riding on a sunny day can almost always lift your mood. If the weather is warm and inviting, that also helps—but even when it’s cold, a sunny day can make you feel warmer and better about everything. Unfortunately, it also presents certain challenges to helmet-wearers. Switching between clear and tinted visors can be a hassle, and is impractical if you’re riding through, say, intermittent tunnels.
Some helmet makers teamed up with Transitions—the company that makes photochromic coatings for eyeglasses—to make moto helmet visors that do the same thing. Just like Transitions coatings on actual eyeglasses, your opinions on how quickly and well they work may vary. Some helmets offer drop-down sun visors that you can easily flick up or down with one hand as needed, and again—your preferences will undoubtedly vary.
That’s why French company Shaddows decided to do something a little different. One of the biggest complaints that Transitions users (both eyeglass and motorcycle visor) have historically had is this: Sometimes, it seems like the transition just doesn’t happen quickly enough. Although Shaddows adjusts to changes in light, it does so differently than other photochromic visors because it uses a photosensitive electronic sensor.
Also, because the Shaddows unit is a little screen that sits neatly between your visor and the Pinlock, it can fit a number of helmet visors from different manufacturers. On the company’s website, it claims to fit the following models so far, although other models may also be possible:
- Shoei: XR-1100, X-Spirit II-III, NXR, Neotec, Neotec 2, GT Air, GT Air 2, RF-1200, RF-1100, Qwest
- Arai: RX-7V, QV-Pro, Signet X, Chaser-X, Quantum-X, Corsair-X, DTX, Profile-V, Regent X, Rapide, Concept X
- Scorpion: Exo 510 Air
- HJC: I70, F70
- LS2: Valiant 2
Shaddows claims that its visor can go from light to dark in just 0.8 seconds, and from dark to light in only 2.6 seconds. Of course, any company can overstate its claims any time it likes, and the true proof is always in real-world, independent testing. Still, the product sounds like a promising idea if the claims are reasonably close to being accurate.
The MSRP is 249 Euros, which works out to about $289 as of November 8, 2021, which definitely isn’t cheap. Will some riders find that it’s worthwhile? Perhaps, but that kind of money can also buy a decent budget helmet—perhaps even one with a drop-down visor—these days, so it’s hard to say.