Review: Arai Pro Shade Visor System

Jun 02, 2015 View Comments by

Review: Arai Pro Shade Visor SystemHow to Turn Down the Sun if You’re Wearing an Arai Helmet –

Arai helmets have long been an industry benchmark in terms of quality, safety, and attention to detail. The elite Japanese company has a reputation of being resistant to abrupt changes in style, form, or function. That is especially true when it comes to shield design and operation. Most other major brands have developed some form of dual-stage face shield system, with most offering helmet models with an internal drop-down tinted visor behind the standard clear shield.

Arai engineers have resisted this drop-down visor trend because they feel it compromises shell and internal foam protection properties. It’s hard to argue with them on this one, but seeing the consumer desire to have a versatile, convertible shield option, Arai has designed and manufactured the Pro Shade visor system.

The Pro Shade places a supplemental tinted visor on the outside of Arai’s proprietary Pinlock clear visor. This design requires no modification to the company’s highly- engineered shell design. The tinted portion serves as a visor in the up position and a tinted shield when lowered.

My Impressions:
I was initially hesitant to move to a system that would make the already semi-complicated shield on my Arai helmet even more so. However, like many touring and adventure riders, I wanted a shield that is more adaptable to ever-changing light conditions on the road. So I made the plunge.

Out of the box, the legendary Arai quality is evident. The pivot system of the tinted visor is sure and solid. It is clear that the mechanism is made to stay in place when in the up position, as it has a definite and secure click when fully raised. The tinted shield is cut around newly designed brow vents. The vents slide open rather than pivot and I find them to be much easier to operate with gloves than the old style.

On the road, I really like the function of the tinted visor when in the up position. It does not catch as much wind as a full dual sport or dirt helmet, but does a good job of providing some shade from an overhead sun position. It also doesn’t seem to add substantially to wind noise. In the down position, the tinted visor does not provide full coverage of the clear shield. I was not sure I was going to like this partially tinted situation. Surprisingly, it works well and is even advantageous at times. With a slight raising of the head, the bike’s gauges can be more visible under the tint.

Is it the perfect system? Well, no. It adds another modicum of complication to the Arai system, and some may consider its appearance a bit busy. I find the Pro Shade to be a nicely thought-out compromise that alleviates the need for perpetual shield swapping yet keeps helmet design intact.

Arai Pro Shade
Price: ~ $90 online

Text by Tim Kessel


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