When I mentioned the Raleri Photochromic motorcycle helmet visor sometime ago (link ), I got a lot of comments and emails from readers. There's a big interest in such a product. Raleri were kind enough to send me some samples of their visors for me to test and review.
This review is for their PCShade product. The visor changes tint depending on the strength of the sunlight, much like some glasses you see on people (you know the kind, when someone walks into a room from the outside, and the glasses remain dark for ages...). Initially I was a bit sceptical about this, having had glasses ages ago that did the same. But there no reason to be worried, since technology has evolved in the Photochromic field. The Raleri PCShade changes tint rapidly. In about 4 to 5 seconds, your visor fully changes tint!
To place the Raleri visor inside your helmet takes a few seconds. It really is simple, even for a two-left handed person like me. I initially placed the visor inside my BMW EVO 4 helmet. The Raleri does NOT replace your current visor, but is inserted inside the helmet, against the current visor.
Raleri visor behind the BMW visor (the Raleri is normally clear, but there was sun when I took the photo)
The BMW EVO4 helmet with the Raleri PCShade visor (sorry for the dirty helmet). I placed the Raleri high up, so I could make a video showing you the difference between the normal visor and the Raleri.
Have a look at the video below, from the Raleri company itself, on how the visor is inserted. The advantage of the PC Shade visor is that it is not placed permanently, you can take it out in seconds, and place it in another helmet (do watch out for the size, since they have 3 different sizes).
Raleri PCShade Visor Install (3 minutes 2 seconds)
I did a run on my Ducati using the visor, and must say, it worked as advertized. Going through a road in the forest, where it was pretty dark and sober, coming out of the forest into the sun, the visor changed quickly. Within about 5 seconds it had reached maximum darkness, but already within a second or two, the visor had changed its tint sufficiently for me to see without squinting.
It's a bit difficult to show you the changes, since I'd need a very small camera inside my helmet, so instead, I'll show you a static view, i.e., I placed my iPhone inside my helmet and walked it from the garage to the garden. The garage is dark, and the first steps into the garden the sun is behind me, but there's a strong glare coming from the reflection of my wife's car. Then I turned into the sun.
I then walked into our enclosed swimming pool area where it is always very humid to test what would happen with fogging. There was no noticeable difference between with or without the visor; the visor fogged up. But the fog cleared up faster with the Raleri, so that was a positive surprise.
The first part of the video shows the "trip" without a visor, the 2nd part is done with the Raleri visor. Towards the end of the video, you'll see the difference in tints if you look below the Raleri visor. You'll see the grass in two different colors. The visor barely changes tint in the daylight when the sun is behind me, which is what it should do. But when I turn into the sun, it becomes dark.
NOTE: There's no audio. Sorry for the spots on the BMW visor, it has been used extensively.
Raleri PCShade Test (49 seconds)
I also tried the PC Shade on a Schuberth C2 helmet, which has a double visor, and that worked fine. Obviously, the C2 has its own built in sun visor, so there's little need for a Photochromic visor, but it shows that you can use it almost anywhere.
Summary: I was impressed. It works very well, and for the price, it's a worthwhile addition. If you're just going to the local Starbucks, there's little need, but if you're planning on longer journeys, where you'll be going through tunnels, forests, or other darker portions, and then into lighter portions, it's very handy to have.
Update After publishing the review, I have learned from Raleri, that like with all photochromic gear (glasses, etc), they loose their changing ability over time. According to the manufacturer, the PCShade is good for a full riding season. But the interesting addition is that the visor will turn a light shade of pink, which is useful for riding when a high contrast is needed, like during fog or snow. So, it's an added advantage. Use it for the summer as dark visor, and when the fog and snow comes, use it for contrast.
If you want an instantaneous dark or light visor, you'll need to Raleri LCDrive visor, a LCD based visor. Tomorrow will be reviewing and testing the Raleri LCDrive visor. Click here to read the review of the LCDrive .
Click here for to access the Raleri site where you can order the visors .
Click here for more info on the Raleri Photochromic visor .