"El Cheapo" Motorcycle Helmet Sun Shade Review
wBW Quick Look by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
Also: Sunax Sunshield Review
Every once and a while, I stop by Manny, Moe and Jack's (AKA Pep Boys) to see what's up.
They carry a lot of automotive products that are also useful for motorcycles.
For example, the Fiamm "Highway Blaster" horns (review) that they sell are fantastic, and will wake up the dreamiest cager, no matter how intense their cell phone conversation.
One day as I was cruising the aisles, I saw a package of tinted plastic sunshade material.
It cost $1.50, and I guess you're supposed to use it to stick to your window to help prevent glare.
I immediately thought it would be useful if it could stick on to a helmet visor as a sunshade. I figured it was worth the investment just to see if it would work.
The film is supposed to stick by static cling or something to a clean surface like glass.
I brought the stuff home, cut out about a 2" by 8" long strip and was ready to try it. The directions suggested wetting the surface first, which I did
To my surprise, the stuff immediately stuck to my visor, and it seemed pretty sturdy. I took the helmet out for a ride and found that it stuck like it was glued on.
I peeled it off again when I got home to readjust it with no problem. That's one of the great features of this stuff -- you can take it off any time you want, with no damage or fuss.
By the way, webBikeWorld reader "G.H." says he mounts his on the inside of the visor; although I've never had any trouble with mine mounted on the outside, you may want to try an inside mounting, which would probably keep it cleaner and make the visor easier to clean also.
The only problem I've noticed with an inside mounting is that you can see the "bubbles" through the visor; these are caused by the tiny air pockets that result from the material sticking to the visor's surface.
UPDATE: webBikeWorld reader "K.S." has a solution to the problem with bubbles: "...I do have a tip for your article regarding the "bubbles" that you see when its mounted on the inside of your visor.
As with window tint, you first spray or apply a soap and water solution to the visor and tint. I am talking about a very very small amount of soap, like 2-3 DROPS of soap for a whole spray bottle of water.
You are then able to slide the tint around till you get it just where you want it, using a very light touch, and then after the first pass of a squeegee or the like, it will set still, and then you can just squeegee all the water and the air bubbles right out from between the tint and the visor giving you the best, clearest and undistorted vision that you can get." Thanks for the tip, K.S.!
By the way, for either the outside or inside installation, you may have to cut the film to fit the curvature of the visor to ensure that the visor can close and seal correctly.
I can honestly say that this is the best $1.50 I ever spent in my life! I've had it on my helmet for about 2 years now with no problems whatsoever. It works great, especially when you're headed into the sun in the later afternoon. You can see through it, so it never obstructs your vision. And it multiplies the usefulness of sunglasses for when the sun is really intense.
Laying a strip across the top of your visor really helps right in the spot where you need it the most. Whenever I try a helmet without it, I really notice it -- I feel like I'm trapped in a fishbowl torture chamber with the sun pouring in and blasting my eyes with glare and heat.
Definitely, absolutely try this stuff. Some entrepreneurial marketing type is selling it for as much as $10 a strip -- which is laughable, as the package I bought in Pep Boys can probably do 6 helmets.
By the way, you can also add multiple strips for an increased (darker) effect, and the window tinting is usually also available with UV protection.
Publication Date: 2000?
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From "J.S.": "Thank you for the review of the cling plastic for our helmets. I'm one of those suckers who spent $15.00 for a little green strip of plastic for the inside of my face shield. After reading what you had to say I headed for Advanced Auto.
They didn't have the $1.50 ones so I thought big and bought 24 inch by 78 inch window film for $10.88. Now I can make enough for both MC clubs I belong to and have enough left over for the rest of my life!!!!!! And it sticks better on the outside than in without the air bubbles. Thank you."