How to fit a Pinlock insert

Advice: How to fit a Pinlock insert for perfect vision

SBS Choice

Author Bio

Tony Hoare

Former RiDE product tester and journalist with MCN and Bike, with 17 years experience writing about bikes and kit. He's just bought a Yamaha FZ-1 Fazer and seems to be stuck with a shabby old Yamaha XJ600 Diversion as well. He's now editor of SBS Mag.

A Pinlock insert is a plastic laminate that attaches to the inner surface of your visor and protects it from mist caused by the moisture in your breath.

It makes a big difference to keeping clear vision, especially when riding in cold, wet or damp conditions. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have clear vision in no time.

Get prepped

Make sure you have pins on the visor and a Pinlock insert in the box. The pins are small protusions on each side of the visor’s inner surface and the insert itself will be in its own packaging inside the helmet box. Not every helmet with Pinlock pins comes with a visor insert. If you need to buy one separately, they’re around £30 depending on the helmet model. On Sportsbikeshop’s helmet listings, ‘Pinlock Ready’ means you need to buy an insert, while ‘Pinlock Included’ means you’ll get one in the box.

Whip off the visor

Each helmet’s visor detaches differently so checking the the manual first often avoids snapped plastic. Make sure the inner visor surface is clean and free of fingerprints. Take the Pinlock out of its packaging and identify the side that has the silicone bead around its edge. There’s an opaque film on the Pinlock that needs to be peeled back slightly to reveal the two slots that will seat against the visor pins. Some inserts have film on each side – if there’s a film on the side with the silicone bead then remove it completely now.

Stretching exercises

You’ll need to flatten the visor out to seat the insert in place. It feels abusive, but a visor is designed to be resilient enough to cope. Hook one end under your belt and push down on the opposite side to flatten the visor. Now take the Pinlock and, making sure the silicone bead is facing the visor, position the recess around the pin nearest you.

Now for the other side

Keeping the visor flat, roll the insert up slightly and slot the opposite side recess around the other pin. Now give the visor a proper flex with two hands and the insert should sit down against the inner surface. Now peel off the protective film – riding a bike is much easier without a blurry green film restricting your vision.

Check the seal

A tight seal between insert and visor stops moisture getting between them.Try sliding the edge of a sheet of paper between the Pinlock and visor. If it won’t fit, you’re lucky and already have a tight enough seal. If you can fit the paper in, you need to tighten the seal and life is about to get slightly trickier.

The tension mounts

Pinlock pins are mounted eccentrically (ie the post itself sits off-centre) so rotating them in their mounting holes alters the distance between them. This, as a consequence, increases or reduces the tension of the insert. Rotating them so they’re closer together will create extra tension and remove any clearance between insert and visor. Easy? Yup, except there are various methods of rotating those pins…

The outer screw

This is the simplest way of adjusting a Pinlock, if your helmet has this set-up. Turning a screw on the outside of the visor moves the post nearer the centre of the visor, increasing the tension. Look at the post from the underside and you’ll see it get nearer the centre of the visor as you turn the screw. Turn each screw an equal amount until you can no longer slide paper between the visor and insert.

The push-pin

The cheapest Pinlock pins are held in the visor by resistance. To adjust these you need to push the pin out and press it back in place, this time with the post sitting closer to the centre of the visor. Sportsbikeshop’s helmet technicians use a pair of bullnose pliers to push the pins in or out, using just enough force to pop the pins clear of the housing or back into place again. As with other methods, check you have a firm seal by trying to slide a sheet of paper between insert and visor.

Remove the Pinlock film

You’ve already done that? Definitely? The most common cause of complaint from riders is that they can’t see through their Pinlock because the world is blurry and slightly green-tinged. It’s because the protective film is still covering the Pinlock. Just make sure it’s been peeled off before trying to ride.

Maintenance

Pinlocks are made from a material with microscopic holes that soak up moisture to stop it turning to mist on the visor. This needs ‘recharging’ every so often by running it under the cold tap. Remove the visor, straighten it out using the method in step 3 and pop the insert free. Run it under the tap, shake off excess water and let it air-dry or wipe with a soft cloth before refitting it to the visor and putting the visor back on the helmet.

Oh, one more thing…

…If rainwater gets past your visor seal it will find the slightest gap between Pinlock insert and visor and cause you a vision nightmare. The best way to avoid this is to never lift your visor when it’s raining, as that’s an open invite for water to run inside and spoil your day.