Have you ever experienced your helmet visor to fog up while you are riding, and wondered, why does this happen? After all, if you knew why your visor keeps fogging up, you could stop it from happening.
What causes a foggy visor?
A foggy visor is one of the worst nightmares of a motorcycle rider, especially on long rides, as it hampers the rider’s vision, making it unsafe for them to operate a motorcycle. The fogging happens, primarily, because of the temperature difference outside and inside the helmet. When it’s cold outside, the temperature of your visor drops, but the temperature inside the helmet stays relatively higher due to the air you exhale out while breathing, which is relatively warmer. In such a situation, when humidity levels go beyond a point, your visor starts to fog up, as you are blowing hot air (containing moisture) on a cold surface. It’s a basic physics concept called condensation.
What’s the cure?
The easiest answer, then, is to equalise the temperatures inside and outside of the helmet, to prevent the condensation from occurring. It is an option worth looking at, as it immediately solves the problem of the visor fogging up. If you fully open the visor, then the condensation is immediately removed from your line of sight, and it also dissipates quickly. If you only crack open the visor one or two notches (a few millimetres), that too solves the problem, as the incoming air quickly equalises the temperatures inside with that of the outside, and it also carries the moisture out through the ventilation system of the helmet. The problem with this method arises when it’s too cold outside. You face will have to deal with the harsh cold temperatures, and secondly, if you open your visor fully, you risk debris getting inside your helmet which is a potential danger. That’s why you should only use this technique when your other options lead to failure, or on shorter rides where you won’t be exposed to either the cold or the debris.
PS: Those of you who wear spectacles while riding will find this to be a more suitable method, as it de-mists the lenses, and the spectacles solve the debris problem to an extent.
What are the other options?
There are various more elegant solutions to prevent your helmet from fogging up, and they all vary in the ‘length of their effectiveness’. To start with, we have a home-made recipe. Many internet myths suggest that rubbing dishwashing soap or a liquid detergent on the inside of your visor, and then wiping it away it with a clean cloth is the best solution to the problem. While this is true, it works better in relatively low humidity areas. The solution that you rub on the visor creates a hydrophobic coating, which dispels water. It’s a cheap way to solve your fogging problem, but it requires you to clean the visor, and leave the solution on for some time, and therefore it’s not an immediate fix. It also wears off after a few rides, depending on the substance used, and therefore it’s not a long-term solution.
You also get anti-fog sprays specifically designed for this purpose, and while they are easier to apply, cheap, and work for relatively longer then the ‘dishwashing soap’ method, it too works in relatively low humidity areas. It can be paired with a breath-deflector or/and a balaclava to up the overall effectiveness of the whole solution, but it’s still a long way off being the most permanent and perfect option.
The most perfect option is a pinlock visor. A pinlock visor is like a second visor inside your helmet. There are two holes at the either end of a pinlock ready visor, and into that goes an anti-fog insert. It has a silicon edge that presses up against the visor and creates a sealed chamber of air between the outer visor, and the anti-fog insert inside. This air insulates the anti-fog insert from the colder temperature, and therefore it doesn’t fog up when you blow out warmer air from your mouth. A pinlock visor works all the time and solves most of the problems of the other options. It is, however, a time-consuming affair to fit a pinlock visor with an anti-fog insert, so you can’t do it on-the-go. It is also a relatively more expensive option than the others, but ultimately if you ride long distances and in ever-changing conditions, than a pinlock ready visor with an anti-fog insert is your best bet.