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Thread: Mirrored face shields

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    Member Saxeus's Avatar
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    Mirrored face shields

    This might seem like a redundant issue to the veteran riders, but I haven't come across much in the way of practical explanation anywhere so please bear with me.

    I've noticed lot of motovloggers on youtube seem to have mirrored face shields. Is there any benefit with these that is different to a normal smoke shield? Is it just a style thing or are they deliberately concealing their faces?

    Also, how much darker are these mirrored shields, generally speaking? Is it enough to be a real hazzard at night even in well-lit urban roads? And are there any additional distortions that these might have over the clear/smoke shields?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saxeus View Post
    This might seem like a redundant issue to the veteran riders, but I haven't come across much in the way of practical explanation anywhere so please bear with me.

    I've noticed lot of motovloggers on youtube seem to have mirrored face shields. Is there any benefit with these that is different to a normal smoke shield? Is it just a style thing or are they deliberately concealing their faces?

    Also, how much darker are these mirrored shields, generally speaking? Is it enough to be a real hazzard at night even in well-lit urban roads? And are there any additional distortions that these might have over the clear/smoke shields?

    Honestly, I think it's a bit of a "look how cool I am" syndrome. Few will admit this, I think. (or get overly offended at my opinion, I hope. I like and use them too, so feel I can say something without total predjudice)


    I love my gold mirrored shield because it's like a little happy window to view the world through. It seems to filter sunlight down to eye soothing levels just fine, but it's not dark. It seems to both block the sun, yet make everything pleasantly bright coloured-hard to describe, but maybe I have permanent Seasonal Affective Disorder...


    I have had a silver mirrored shield on a previous helmet years ago, but didn't like the reflections from the inside. I found it distracting. The gold one on my Icon doesn't seem to do the same thing, or if it does, I don't find it noticeable.

    I have a blue iridium one on my Shoei that is quite dark, but not as dark as a true smoke shield.

    No tinted shield is smart to use at night. (though having said that, I rode home at night in a blizzard of snow a few months back and forgot my clear shield. The gold mirrored one was passable for me to see through, rather than ice and snow blasting me in the eyes and face at highway speed, I discovered.)

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Mirrored face shields 670cc's Avatar
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    I had one many years ago and hated it so I threw it away. It was either for a Bell Star II or an HJC CL-10. The reflecting seemed to work in both directions, so that when riding into the sun, the sun illuminates your face and you see a big reflection of your nose in the face shield. Shields may vary in design and they may not all exhibit this trait, but it would be something to watch out for.
    Last edited by 670cc; 19th June 2014 at 17:08.
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    I have a silver mirrored on my Shoei Qwest. Seems to split the difference between the dark smoke and light smoke. I ride in good weather and day light hours, so fine with regard to safety.

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    Senior Member Bullseye's Avatar
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    I've got a Fly Trekker with a mirrored face shield ....I like it a lot. I haven't rode with it on the NC yet but have rode with it on my old KLR. My girls (daughters) say I look like "Master Chief" with it on ....soooo I think I am cool !!!
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    I suppose that mirrored shields are similar to mirrored sunglasses in terms of function, style, and so forth. You can accomplish different things with mirror coatings than just plain gray tint. Whether or not you, the user, likes whatever else the mirroring does is individual, I think.

    I have a gold mirrored shield for my Arai. Arai's mirrored shields are 'built on' their smoke shields, so they're darker than the smoke shields. I don't recall, though, whether Arai told me they're built on the light smoke, or dark smoke, shields; sorry.

    My mirrored shield is MUCH LESS reflective internally than the clear shield that came with the helmet. I don't have a smoke Arai shield, so I can't compare either to that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CaptDL's Avatar
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    Mirrored shields are great for oogling when cruising thru the college district.

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    ............................

    Mirrored face shields-dscf0809-jpg

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    No offence to anyone, but I feel very uncomfortable looking at someone with a mirror shield. Can't explain it... just do....
    Agree with L.B.S. on the color though. Even sunglasses with a brown lense artificially makes things look more pleasant and does cut thru fog better.
    The gray lense does not distort the true colors, that's why pilots wear that G15 (?) gray lense.
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  10. #10
    Member Saxeus's Avatar
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    I've been doing some digging with regards to mirror coatings (mostly to do with sunglasses but I assume the same process is used for motorcylce face shields since I believe the same materials are generally used - polycarbonate).

    I've heard before that polarised lenses are good for outdoor activities, including driving, as the polarisation eliminates the glare from a horizontally polarised reflected light (wet road surfaces, flat car panels, chrome, etc). However, the drawback is that lcd screens sometimes become difficult to read, which seems to be why pilots don't wear them. The only alternative that provides some glare reduction for pilots are mirrored lenses, hence the prevolence of the "Aviator" style of mirrored shades.

    Another disadvantage of polarised lenses is that contrast is reduced making it hard to see contrasts such as bumps and ice patches when skiing or snowboarding. Reduced contrast may also impact negatively on the wearer's depth perception and thus be particularly important to motocycle riders.

    As I understand it, mirror coatings do not suffer from either of the above drawbacks but do not offer the same level of glare reduction as polarised lenses. So it's a compromise worth investigting if you use devices with lcd screens a lot.

    As useful as the integrated sun shields may be, I have not seen anywhere where it is specifically stated that these are polarised or not so I assume they are simply grey tinted, which is also preferred by pilots as there is no colour alteration. Although colour alteration can potentially be a good thing - see below. Note the sections on mirror coatings and particularly the back-side anti-reflective coating.

    The following is taken from Tinted Ophthalmic Lenses: Features and Benefits

    Each color of lens is suited for specific situations. You will notice that many of the color properties overlap with each other. Whether they are performance, therapeutic, or fashion tints, each color causes the patient to perceive their surroundings differently.

    The most common tinted lens color is grey. At it's darkest it can hide a poker face, help a deep sea fisherman snag the catch, and improve visual performance when driving. Grey lenses are color neutral, which means that they do not distort the integrity of colors, keeping them true. In fact, grey lenses have been in use by the U.S. Military for over 45 years because of their superior performance in various lighting conditions.

    Some patients prefer a grey/green lens to the traditional brown, citing that it provides crisper contrast, while being more color neutral than brown.

    Brown/Amber lenses are also a popular choice. They provide better contrast and depth perception than grey, but colors are distorted. Brown/amber lenses are great for bright light conditions, but are especially suited to overcast, hazy, or foggy conditions. They block out blue wavelengths, which highlights the differences in greens, which can be helpful for golfers and baseball players.

    Individuals who do a lot of driving would benefit from yellow lenses. The added contrast will decrease fatigue and increase visual acuity when driving in fog or haze, in overcast conditions, and at evening/night. For these same reasons, bikers, pilots, tennis players, hunters, and sport shooters can benefit from this lens.

    Orange lenses eliminate blue light. They are perfect for sports that require an object to be tracked against the blue sky, such as a baseball. These lenses are often the lens of choice for clay target shooting on a cloudy day, but can also be helpful to bikers, skiers, and hunters.

    Vermilion is a reddish/orange lens often used by individuals who like to hunt and fish. It is chosen for its contrast capabilities. There are patients who are more satisfied with this color than with the more common brown and grey.

    Red is a robust color that provides contrast and is another variety best suited for specific purposes. Clay target shooters may use this color in extremely sunny conditions. Fishing enthusiasts may opt for this lens when fishing in the early morning or later evening.

    Violet deserves mention as more than a fashion tint. Sport shooters and other athletes will use it for contrast in mid to bright conditions.

    Whether the eyeglasses are for fashion or functionality, it is very important to educate patients on the fact that the pigment alone will not protect from ultraviolet light rays, and that every pair of eyeglasses should have ultraviolet coating applied, or be made from a UV absorbing material such as polycarbonate, Trivex or high index plastic.

    Mirrored lens coatings perform double duty as both a fashion tint and a functional tint. Skiers and those who spend a lot of time on the water in bright conditions can benefit from the fact that the mirror reflects light away from the lens. The color that is chosen for the mirror is the patient's preference and will not affect the base color of the lens.

    Back side anti-reflective coatings can aid in creating an optimum sun lens by eliminating glare and allow the patient to get the most out of their sun wear. Anti-reflective coating cannot be applied to the front of a tinted lens, as the lens treatment process is not conductive to tinting.

    Polarized lenses are different than tinted lenses, and not every tinted lens is polarized. They are made using horizontal strips of pigment to diminish flat glare, such as that found on water, metal and chrome. Polarized lenses diminish glare more effectively than tinted lenses are able to.

    Tinted lenses have been found to have an ever increasing therapeutic benefit.
    The Irlen lens system was created by Helen Irlen to remedy Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/Irlen Syndrome, which is a visual/perceptual disorder. The disorder is displayed by some patients with learning disorders such as dyslexia, autism, and other developmental disorders.

    The disorder is often triggered by aspects of lights, such as the source, brightness, reflection, glare, color and color contrast. When reading, words and letters on the page will vibrate and move. Patients can have problems with contrast, tunnel, or peripheral vision, and have difficulty paying attention. Some autistic patients report that they perceive their surroundings as pieces of a puzzle, with sparkles, tones, and movement.

    The Irlen lens system started out as a series of transparencies that patients put over sheets of reading material. The color of the transparencies reduced the contrast between black and white, and the intensity of the colors. The chosen color of the transparency depended on each patient's specific needs.

    Irlen also used colored lenses to achieve the same outcome. Many autistic patients also wear colored lenses to alter how they perceive their environment, and see their surroundings in context with one another, rather than unrelated elements.

    Psychologically, colored lenses have improved mood for patients suffering from types of depression. Patients who have light sensitivities, who work under fluorescent lights, or who use a computer may benefit from a light to mid range tint of rose, brown or grey. It will decrease eye strain and fatigue.

    Melanin is the pigment found in our skin, eyes, and hair. It absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays and has been used in lenses for over 30 years. It is generally an orange/brown color. However, claims that melanin lenses can cure age related macular degeneration are unfounded. Any UV absorbing lens, with or with out melanin can reduce the chance for AMD and cataracts if worn from childhood.

    Blue colored lenses are being researched as a therapeutic tool for the treatment of epilepsy. Studies have been conducted with both cross polarized lenses (the axes of polarization are perpendicular), parallel polarization (axes of polarization are the same), and without polarization. Epileptic seizures have been reduced in some patients with the varieties of blue lenses, while other patients have experienced no relief with this therapy.

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