What to look for in a motorcycle helmet sun visor


All you need to know about motorcycle sun visors when buying a new helmet

More and more helmets these days are being made with an integrated, drop-down sun visor. The reason’s easy: it means you don’t have the hassle of fiddling around with sun glasses or swapping out visors for a dark visor, but when things get bright, you’re still protected.

If you do want a helmet with a sun visor, click the link to see all our helmets with an integral drop down sun visor.

So what should you look out for in a sun visor when buying a helmet?

Mechanism Type

You can find either binary or analogue sun visors. By that I mean some are either fully up or fully down (with no in between position) whereas others let you drop the visor down as much or as little as you like.

In practice I suspect most of us will drop it down fully when we need it and retract it fully when we don’t. But if you want a sun visor you can drop down just a little bit, then read our reviews carefully as we’ll try to mention the type of sun visor it is.

Also, some sun visors are manually dropped-down and retracted. But others make use of a spring system – so you can press a button and it’ll retract itself. They can be nice and quick to use, but mean you have to locate two buttons instead of one – so can be fiddly to use in practice.

Slider position

Most sun visors use a type of slider to drop or retract them. But some are positioned in weird and wonderful places and some are more out of reach than others.

We generally find the best place to have them are somewhere towards the lower left hand side of the helmet – some are placed at the bottom left of the helmet and these are usually easy to find.

But you’ll find some with sliders that are behind the visor pivot point (a bit more tricky) and others that are waaay up top behind the crown vent and these can be trickier still to find and use.

UV protection

Of course, you use a sun visor to cut out glare and sunlight so you can see better. But the added benefit is that in doing so, you’re reducing the amount of harmful UV rays that enter your eyes.

The best level of protection is the UV400 level which should block out all UVA and UVB ultraviolet (the bits that damage eyes in natural sunlight) and while we think pretty well all sun visors will do this, unfortunately not many manufacturers actually say so.

However, if they do happen to mention the level of protection their sun visors give, we’ll put it in our helmet reviews.

Depth of Drop

Some sun visors drop really low, while others don’t. That means some visors cover all your vision while others can leave an annoying ‘stripe’ of bright sunlight at the bottom.

Of course, what works for one person (and their nose) won’t necessarily work for you and yours. But if lots of folks say a sun visor drops down really low or hits the bridge or the nose (or whatever) then we’ll always mention it so you can judge for yourself.


We’re all becoming used to anti-scratch and anti-fog main visors, but it’s different for sun visors. Most will be anti-scratch, but fogging is a different matter and you can find if it’s cold and you drop your sun visor down, it suddenly turns opaque as your warm breath instantly condenses on its cold surface.

Having made you aware of this, there is, unfortunately, little that’s done about it. Some makers say they’ve coated their sun visors with various anti-fog treatments, but we’ve invariably found these to be, erm, lacking.

The good thing is that – and maybe it’s because they’re darker than the main visor so warm up quicker – or maybe because they’re not usually directly in front of your breath-holes – but fogging doesn’t seem to be a massive problem people encounter on their sun visors.

Well, in our research, not many people mention it as a problem anyway.


Finally, it’s worth remembering that most countries limit the amount of tinting that you can have in front of your eyes when driving – whether that’s a car, truck or motorbike.

Which probably accounts for one of the most common moans about drop down sun visors: that it’s not dark enough!

Some makers offer a range of darknesses of sun visor so you can sometimes buy a darker-than-stock replacement. Or you can stick with swapping out your main visor for a dark smoke visor or wack on a pair of shades like you did in the 90’s.

Either way, expect that your sun visor probably won’t give you Ray-Ban levels of tinting on the sunniest of days, but should keep off most of the most annoying glare – enough to keep you safe, which is the main thing.

If you do want a helmet with a sun visor, click the link to see all our helmets with an integral drop down sun visor.


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