Visin heated visor insert review: an anti-fog game-changer?

Visin heated visor insert on Shark Spartan GT helmet

This product presents an effective solution to a near-universal biking problem, but it’s not perfect

Quickly and effectively clears the visor, reasonable value, good packaging
Fitting requires care, could look better, adds pre-ride faff

A fogged helmet visor is at best inconvenient and at worst downright dangerous. The ubiquitous remedy is a Pinlock insert, and while these do help, there’ll still often be occasions where you have to crack open your visor just a little bit to clear the mist. 

There’s a new solution from a British brand called Visin which aims to use a more technologically advanced method to tackle the issue. We’ve had one in a Shark Spartan GT helmet for several thousand miles to see if it’s any good.

How the heated visor insert functions

The Visin heated visor system is comprised of two main components - the insert itself, and a lithium-ion battery pack/control unit that goes in your jacket/trouser pocket or perhaps a tank bag. A small charge of electricity is drawn from that pack and passed through the transparent, conductive surface of the visor insert, heating it up and clearing the fog. 

Does it actually work? 

Yes. Very well, in fact - it’s noticeably more effective than a Pinlock insert, and you soon find yourself relying on the Visin, especially when the temperatures start to drop and/or it’s raining. There’s something quite satisfying about seeing the parts of the visor beyond the completely clear insert still fogged up, showing that the setup is doing what it’s supposed to. 

Visin’s claim of the system clearing a fogged visor in 20-60 seconds seems accurate, as does the eight-hour battery life. On that front, the battery indicator is fairly simple - there’s a red LED that’ll only show when there are 30 minutes of life remaining, accompanied by the control unit vibrating three times. So, if you’re going on a longer jaunt planned and have lost track of how much you’ve used it, it’s worth sticking it on charge beforehand to make sure it’ll definitely last. 

The big button on the controller is easy to use through a thick jacket (so long as you haven’t stuck it in your pocket the wrong way round, as I did a few times!), and the vibration feedback means you know it’s definitely turned on. So long as the battery level is over 20 per cent it defaults to a 40-second boost mode, before switching to a ‘Standard’ mode. Boost can be turned back on once every 10 minutes by pressing the button once, while holding it down turns it off, signified by the control unit vibrating three times. 

The power pack is quite thick, and not the most aesthetically pleasing thing thanks to its industrial-looking grey plastic housing. Meanwhile, the brown/blue wires going into the insert make it look a bit ‘DIY’. Speaking to the developer Jason Eite, who runs parent company Diamons Coatings, he seemed open to tweaks to make future versions of the product a bit easier on the eye.

What’s unlikely to change is the thickness of the ‘bezel’ around the insert. Admittedly, while conspicuous at first, you do get used to it being there, and it eventually becomes less noticeable. 

The fitting is straightforward and Visin has a handy video guide which is easy to follow, and there's a paper insert included in the neat, almost completely plastic-free packaging. Care is needed, though, as once it’s stuck down - that’s it - if it’s not gone in right, a ‘do-over’ isn’t possible without ruining the adhesive and potentially creasing the insert. My insert in the Shark was installed by Visin at a press event, but to get the proper ownership experience, I fitted another to an Arai visor and found very little room to manoeuvre thanks to its vents. 

Should you buy a Visin heated visor insert? 

Fair-weather riders whose bikes go away once it gets cold and/or wet out may be happy sticking with a cheaper, simpler Pinlock, doing without the extra expense and pre-ride faff of routing the power cable and plugging in before the ride. Those who are on the fence may want to wait and see if the product becomes a little nicer to look at. 

But if you’re more of a year-round rider or you find fogging to be a particular issue, the Visin is well worth considering. It certainly does a better job than a Pinlock, but it is more expensive, with the battery pack and one insert costing £179.95. Additional inserts are £45 for the 'sport' and 'enduro' styles, while the Shoe-specific version is £60, which seems like a reasonable outlay to get multiple lids ready for heated visor goodness. Visin only sell directly to the consumer, as selling through retailers would significantly increase the price, it says.