A glove mounted system for cleaning a motorcycle helmet visor which includes a cleaning solution delivery setup and a squeegee on one device. A clever design and flexible materials create one of those accessories you’ll wonder how you didn’t think of it.
If you’re seeing this review and thinking you’ve seen this product before, you are correct. One of our reviewers across the pond in the UK, Alice Dryden, reviewed the Visorcat in 2013 and she gave it a very favorable review.
This “at-hand” cleaning system (paraphrasing Alice’s joke there) worked well for her and the UK weather is as good a testing ground as any for this kind of device. In fact the Visorcat was designed and developed in the UK after company co-founder Alan Boulton during a damp evening ride in Warwickshire.
His visibility through his visor had gotten so poor that he ended up having to pull over to let a car pass. It was that evening where “lightning struck” and his desire to create an effective visor cleaning system for motorcyclists was born.
Fast forward to today some subtle updates have been made to the Visorcat since our first review but the product is mostly unchanged. Now I’m getting a chance to evaluate the Visorcat here in the USA.
Will it be just as useful on this side of the Atlantic?
Alice covered the Visorcat rather thoroughly before but I’m going to just briefly go over what we have in, or rather on, hand here. The main body of the Visorcat is rubber in roughly the shape of an “L” and is designed to fit on one’s left hand with the longer portion of the “L” wrapping over the back of the hand/wrist area.
An adjustable nylon strap runs from the far ends of the longer “L” side. This strap runs under the wrist to hold the Visorcat in place. Although Visorcat recommends just tucking it under, a keeper to wrangle the extra main strap material would be handy.
On the top the long side is where the fluid reservoir sits along with the refill port for the cleaning fluid. The port “cap” is permanently attached with a rubber strap next to the reservoir. Sitting perpendicular on top of the short side is the “business” side of the Visorcat where the sponge and rubber squeegee are housed.
The shorter side of the “L” sits alongside the index finger (or thumb) and at the far end is an elastic strap to wrap around that finger (or thumb). On the underside of the sponge area is a stiff portion of plastic to help add rigidity to this area. This should help keep the sponge and squeegee area straight as one uses the Visorcat.
The “Visorcat” Name
The way one drags the sponge and squeegee across the visor likely the the reason for the “cat” portion of the Visorcat name. Although it is not called specifically in the included literature or their website, using the Visorcat mimics the way a cat cleans its face.
Think about how a cat licks its paw and then swipes over it’s face and ears. This is how one looks using this device to clean a visor when dragging the sponge and squeegee back and forth across the helmet visor. Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look at actual use.
Many gloves designed for wet weather include some kind of “wiper” that can be used to clear a visor. These can be helpful in the rain but what about road grime or insects?
The times when it is hardest to get my own visor clean is when riding after rain has passed through. Vehicles up ahead can throw up a mist of crud and grime that quickly reduces visibility through my faceshield. Trying to clear it with the small rubber wiper on some waterproof gloves can make it even worse necessitating pulling over to stop and clean the shield.
The Visorcat deals with this type of mess handily by adding fluid cleaner to the equation. Wiping from left to right uncovers the cleaner dampened sponge so it drags across the visor. Movement from right to left covers back the sponge and the dual squeegee blades wipe clear. Repeating this motion a couple of times seems to clear the grime easily.
I thought this would be the only time it would be useful but insects can also be removed by the Visorcat in a much better fashion than rubbing one’s gloves over the spot of impact. Turns out this is very useful when on the interstate for long rides where dead insects can build up on the face shield.
This can get even worse during the evening and night as once the sun goes down, bugs are drawn to the headlights of cars and bikes alike. Trying to wipe a visor clear with a gloved finger alone is usually a mess. Definitely a perfect time to have a Visorcat strapped to one’s hand.
With insect impacts it can take more back and forth wipes to get the shield clear versus removing road grime but it will clear it. Plus being able to clean right after impact makes the work much easier than trying to clean that mess of the next day when the bug remains are dried out.
Maintaining the Visorcat
The Visorcat ships with a small bottle of cleaning solution that they claim is specifically designed for polycarbonate face shields used for motorcycle helmets. Don’t be fooled by the “glass cleaner” blue color, this is not your typical home use glass cleaner that can discolor plastics over time.
The cleaner is made for Visorcat by a company called Shift-It that makes motorcycle and helmet specific cleaning solutions. A 50 ml bottle of this cleaner is included and larger 250ml bottles are available from Visorcat.
That bottle of fluid has a long tip that opens when twisted (took me a minute to figure that out) and creates a nozzle that mates to the port on the back of the Visorcat to refill the fluid reservoir. When I went to open the refill port to initially charge my Visorcat, I only saw one opening (pictured) for filling.
Alice stated in her review that she saw two openings and when she tried one, it went everywhere but inside the Visorcat. Maybe this is one of the improvements that has been made since she reviewed hers in 2013.
Once the reservoir is filled the fluid travels from there to the sponge via a channel in the body of the Visorcat. To keep things from getting messy a wick is used in the channel to regulate the flow of cleaning solution.
This works well and keeps the sponge from getting oversaturated and/or the fluid leaking out in a hurry. Since the system isn’t entirely closed I did find that a half-full reservoir will dry out in about two weeks or so due to just normal evaporation. For occasional usage it is probably best to not top the reservoir up to conserve the solution.
Over time the sponge will undoubtedly need to be replaced as it will wear like any other sponge. Replacement sponges are available from Visorcat and they easily slide in and out of the holder requiring nothing more than a firm grip to replace.
To “charge” a dry sponge I found that a squeeze on the reservoir space. It will encourage the fluid to wick down to the sponge faster than just waiting for it to happen naturally. I cannot say that Visorcat recommends this action, only that I have done it and it seems to work without causing any issues.
I have to admit that when I first received the Visorcat for review, I was dubious about how well this would work, if at all. It seemed like it would be bulky and get in the way of the switchgear and such on the left handlebar.
For my part, I didn’t have any issues. In fact, I was pretty impressed how well this works. It can take a few tries to get the hang of properly positioning one’s hand and wrist to get the best “wipe” across the visor.
Is this something I would have on my wrist everyday? Probably not. I would definitely keep it with me for longer trips or for when I’m riding in the evening during warmer months of the year.
The low weight and small size make it easy to find a spot in a tank bag or similar storage space for the Visorcat to live. I would recommend keeping it inside a ziploc type bag to prevent possible solution leaks that could get on other items.
At the (GBP) £34.99 (~$47.00 USD) asking price, it isn’t the most inexpensive visor cleaning system around but the convenience, effectiveness, and potential safety factor is hard to argue with.
Unfortunately for my fellow Americans, the Visorcat is not currently distributed in the USA. I have found a couple of ebay of sellers who will ship to the States but the price climbs a little over $60.00 by the time shipping is considered.