While shopping for your next helmet, you may have seen the term “Pinlock ready” or “Pinlock insert included.” Simply put, Pinlock is the best anti-fog solution available today and I wouldn’t buy a helmet without it.
Anyone who has ridden with a full-face helmet in cold weather should know how important it is to keep your visor fog-free. Having condensation build up on your visor is unavoidable, as we expel moisture with every breath. Fogging can happen inside car windows too, but cars have ventilation and dehumidifying systems. For helmet visors, the popular solutions are either an anti-fog coating or a Pinlock insert.
How Does Pinlock Work?
The Pinlock system works on the same principle as double-lens ski or snowboard goggles. A Pinlock insert creates a sealed chamber of air between itself and the inside of your shield. This pocket of air insulates your shield against the differential between the colder outside temperature and the warmer microclimate that you’ve created inside your helmet. The use of physics means that your visor should stay mostly fog-free assuming that the seal between shield and Pinlock are airtight.
Pinlock is a far more stable and durable solution than hydrophilic coatings that prevent water from condensing on the inside of the shield. While these coatings do a fantastic job when the shield is new, over time they become less effective – particularly if you have to clean it often. There exist anti-fog sprays, but they are never as effective or durable as the factory-applied coating.
That’s not to say Pinlock is the superior solution in every way. The Pinlock insert is literally a second lens that goes between you and the outer shield. The extra layer can reduce light transmission and clarity, especially if there is dirt and dust trapped inside the airtight chamber. If you keep it clean and smudge-free, you’ll get a pretty clear view in daylight conditions. It’s in nighttime conditions where the Pinlock system pales against the anti-fog coating. The second lens tends to cause “seeing double” of lit objects such as taillights. It can be annoying, but it’s more a distraction rather than the full-on vision impairment of a fogged visor.
Helmets that offer Pinlock can also be more expensive. Few manufacturers offer Pinlock-compatible shields in the box along with an insert, while some may offer just the Pinlock-ready shield, leaving the rider to buy the insert. Sometimes manufacturers will sell the Pinlock-ready shields separately, requiring the customer to buy both parts and potentially spend upwards of $100 more. I personally don’t like being nickle-and-dimed, but Pinlock is something worth investing in.
Photos Via: Essential Moto, Pinlock