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Tech – Pinlock

This entry is part 13 of 17 in the series Adventure Rider Issue #23

Winter’s well and truly with us, and that means riders will have some specific challenges to face. Cold is an obvious one, so is wet weather. But a problem a lot of people just put up with is a fogged visor. There’s no need to.

A fogged visor is a serious safety hazard, not to mention down-right annoying.

A rider’s vision can be totally obscured by a fogged visor, and the unpalatable fix is usually to ride with the visor partly open.

The result is often a drenching inside the helmet that’s accompanied by a freezing of exposed areas – nose, lips and cheeks.

The situation makes a substantial contribution to fatigue and is a real pest that can totally take the fun out of a ride.

Copping a pasting

There’s a few possible solutions floating around, and one of the most common is anti-fog preparations like Cat Crap.

These concoctions often work well and have a few other benefits beside preventing fogging.

For starters they must be applied to a very clean visor, and for some riders we know, making them clean the visor regularly is a huge advantage that justifies the product’s use. Another advantage is the product often contains a polish that minimises the effects of tiny scratches and cracks which inevitably appear in clear polycarbonates over time and with use.

The drawback is the visor needs to be constantly retreated, especially if the rider inadvertently wipes it, say, to remove raindrops or dust. Another problem is the product itself coats the visor and often leaves visible swirls or smears.

Bearing all that in mind, we’ve been using Cat Crap for a long time, and always have a container of the green, waxy goodness in our CamelBak.

But for purely preventing fogging we’ve discovered some-thing better.

Cold, hard facts

Goggles fog in the cold because the air warmed by our faces and breath holds moisture, and when that air hits a visor which is at a substantially lower temperature – because of the cold outside the helmet – that moisture condenses on the cold surface inside the visor. The condensation manifests as fog. If you leave it long enough, the fog will become droplets.

If there were some way the visor would avoid that temperature dif-ference, there’d be no condensation. Circulating air is one way. Instead of letting the warm air sit there in contact with the cold surface, moving it around with a fan or some tricky ventilation will help a great deal.

There used to be goggles with little built-in, battery-powered fans, for instance.

Another way to control the fogging would be to prevent the warm air from coming in contact with the cold surface in the first place.


Are you beginning to see the light?

The primo protector

We recently started wearing a Nexx X.D1 helmet, and they’re supplied with not only a Pinlock-ready visor, but with a Pinlock insert included, and we’re in raptures about the way this set-up prevents fogging inside the visor.

Using the same principle as double-glazing on windows in cold climates, a very fine polycarbonate layer is adhered to the inside of the helmet visor in such a way as to leave a tiny space between it and the visor.

The edges of the Pinlock insert are lined with a soft silicone bead, so once it’s in place the cold helmet visor never comes into contact with the warm air from the rider’s skin. That means no fogging.

That’s just the start, and is really simple enough as a concept, but there’s more to consider. The insert has to not interfere or distort the rider’s vision, and it has to be removable for visor replacement if it’s not needed in summer.

Pinlock meets the standard there, no worries.

The thing we see most often is people not fitting the Pinlock inset correctly, so here’s how we do it. Remember, you must ensure you have the Pinlock insert specific to your helmet. If it’s not exactly right it won’t seal properly.

If it won’t seal properly you’re wasting your time.

Remove the visor from the helmet. Then ensure the visor is completely clean and free of dust, wax – like Cat Crap – and moisture.
With the beaded side of the insert facing the inside of the visor, fit the two ends of the insert onto the locating pins.
The insert will be roughly shaped inside the visor, but will still stick up a bit. Lay the visor on a firm surface and gently flatten it out until the bead on the Pinlock insert has contacted and adhered to the visor. You can actually get that visor fairly straight without doing any damage.
Allow the visor to resume its correct shape. The Pinlock should seal itself to the visor in the process. Give it a gentle press with your fingers in a clean cloth to be sure.
Remove the protective film from the inner surface of the Pinlock insert. Done. Now go riding.

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