The Arai Pro Shade Visor System
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Owner Comments (Below)▪ wBW
Motorcycle Helmet Reviews
The Arai Pro Shade system adds a fold-down tinted sun shade to an
Arai SAI-type face shield.
The system cannot be installed on a standard Arai face shield;
instead, it replaces it with a modified face shield that has the special
attachment for the sun shade.
The sun shade sits over the face shield and it can be tilted up or
It has a single detent, so it’s an on or off device and the sun shade
can be removed for cleaning.
When it’s in the up position, the sun shade locks into position to
prevent sudden closing.
The system may look slightly odd, but it works well and doesn’t seem
to change the aerodynamics or sound levels of the helmet, whether the
sun shade is in the lowered or raised position. The new face shield also
has adjustable brow vents.
The downside is the expense. Since you’re replacing the entire face
shield to get the sun shade, the cost is significant.
Evolution at Arai is deliberate and conservative and the company has
specific design beliefs about the way a face shield should be attached
to a helmet; that is, the helmet shell should not be compromised with
indents or recesses for the face shield rotating mechanism.
But the popularity of the sun shade in recent motorcycle helmets has
apparently motivated Arai to develop a unique solution that would not
require an internal recess for the rotating sun shade. According to the
Otte helmet study (YouTube video) and others, approximately 22% of
measured helmet impacts in a crash are focused on the left and right
brow portion of the motorcycle helmet.
This means that the addition of an internal sun shade must be
carefully designed and implemented so that it doesn’t compromise safety.
Some or most helmets with an internal sun shade have either a thinner
shell in the forehead area or thinner EPS underneath (or both) to fit
the device inside the helmet, which can compromise safety. That’s not
Arai talking; it’s me.
And since in my opinion, most of the sun shades perform poorly anyway, add weight
and complexity and don’t offer as much tint as a good pair of
sunglasses, I’ll take safety over a mild tint any day.
The mounting system for the sun shade on the Arai Pro Shade.
The Arai Pro Shade
Arai had to come up with a sun shade system that wouldn’t compromise the
“impact energy management” of its helmet shell design philosophy. That
meant designing some type of an add-on device for the sun shade.
I’ll admit, when I first looked at the Arai Pro Shade, I thought it
looked a bit clumsy at best and perhaps even slightly goofy. I’ve seen
add-on sun shades like this before and they look kind of dorkish. So the Pro Shade sat in the box for a while, until one sunny day I
decided to mount it on a new Arai Defiant we’re reviewing.
The installation was easy enough — as long as you’re familiar with
the idiosyncrasies of installing an Arai face shield. Remove the
original face shield and install the Pro Shade system and you’re ready
The Pro Shade flips up and down manually; it has one “up” position.
When you lift it, you sort of automatically push it back anyway and this
locks it into place in the raised position so that it can’t suddenly
There are triangle-shaped clips on either side that hold the sun
shade in place on the Pro Shade face shield. These can be removed if you
need to clean the shade or the face shield.
The new Arai SAI (Super AdSis “I”) face shield with the Pro Shade system has specially designed
brow vents that are different from the Arai standard brow vents on the
original equipment face shields. The new vents can be opened half-way by
tilting up the inner edge or opened fully.
On the Road With the Arai Pro Shade
All told, the Pro Shade system works very well and the sun shade
provides good coverage with excellent optical quality. When engaged, the
sun shade angles up on either side but I quickly became accustomed to it. The
clear area below the sun shade allows a good view of the bike’s instrument panel.
I was surprised to find that there doesn’t seem to be any difference
in aerodynamics or sound levels with the Pro Shade installed. This is
true whether the sun shade is raised or lowered; I just don’t notice any
It’s also easy enough to use with a quick left-hand tug to lower the
sun shade or a quick push to raise it.
I have to say, I’m not a big fan of riding with dark tinted face
shields because I think it’s important for the people in other vehicles
to see your eyes and realize there’s an actual human being under that
helmet. A dark shield somehow
de-humanizes the rider, in my opinion.
I recently asked several non-motorcyclist drivers what they
think about motorcycle riders with dark tinted visors and the consensus
was roughly that they don’t like it because — in their words — it makes the rider look
“weird” and “like a robot”. I suspected this, which is why I don’t use a tinted face shield, but at least the Arai Pro
Shade can be lifted up and then employed only if it’s really necessary.
Arai says that with the Pro Shade in the raised position, the rider
only has to tilt his or her head a little bit to get some sun blocking
capability. I didn’t find this to be the case, however, because when
it’s raised, there’s only a tiny sliver of Pro Shade up above my brow.
Video: Arai Pro Shade
Alternatives for a Sun Shade in Arai Helmets
By the way, another option for shading inside an Arai helmet is the Sunax Max Sun
Shield (review), which fits between the liner and the shell in Arai
and other helmets. I have been using one on my
Arai RX-Q (review)
for a couple of years and it works well.
The downside of the Arai Pro Shade is the cost. The Pro Shade, which includes the sun
shade on the specially designed face shield, has a list price of
$100.95 (current street price is ~$91.00). The Arai Pro Shade system is Pinlock-ready, but if you already
have a Pinlock insert on your OE Arai face shield, you’ll have to buy
That’s a significant cost difference that adds to the already very
high price of an Arai helmet.
The Arai Pro Shade system works very well and provides good coverage
with about the darkest legal tint available. The cost is significant but
if you can get over that, the Pro Shade is a worthwhile option.
Review: Arai Pro Shade
List Price (2014): $105.95
Colors: Visor: Clear. Sun Shade: Dark Smoke.
Made In: Japan
Sizes: Arai SAI-type visors
Review Date: May 2014
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From “M.R.” (May 2014): “When I initially saw the Pro Shield
publicity material online I was most skeptical. However, I decided to put my
faith in Arai and their conservative principles and get one.
I quite literally bought the demo unit off the Tucker Rocky rep early
this month when he was at Bobs BMWs open house. Ended up paying full
list plus tax.
After riding with it everyday for about 3 weeks now I’m very
satisfied. There has been no significant increase in wind noise or any
whistling and the system plain works.
Having used a similar system on an AGV and Nolan modulars in the past
my only caution to buyers would be that they ensure that grit and debris
trapped between the two shields if any is cleaned after every ride to
prevent scratches on both shields.
The system though a bit clunky, works well. I also feel the price of
under $100 is justifiable for a sun shield system that preserves the
thickness of the EPS liner in the crucial forehead area and therefore
retains the helmet’s Snell rating.
The only full face helmet with an internal sun shield from Arai’s
traditional competitor Shoei, the GT-Air is not Snell certified. An
added benefit of the external design is it helps reduce raindrops on the
clear face-shield ensuring just that extra bit of clearer vision in
heavy rain. Highly recommend with the caveat that it works for me.”