I've been using a SY-MAX III helmet since the middle of March. Upon first use of the SY-MAX III, I felt that the stock (smoke) sun visor was inadequate for use during the brightest daylight hours. I could get away with the stock sun visor during early to mid morning and late afternoon/early evening. For the hours in between, I needed to wear sunglasses. I knew that HJC had a dark smoke sun visor replacement, but just dealt with putting on sunglasses for past several months. I'd been meaning meaning to pick up the dark smoke replacement, but never got around to it. Well, fast forward five months later, my dark smoke replacement sun visor came in today and have just finished installing the sun visor and here is my initial impressions. I have two minor quibbles. The first relates to visor construction and durability. The second applies to the effectiveness of the 'darker' sun visor. I'll discuss these caveats below.
I saw a review on another website where the user removed the sun visor for thorough cleaning and broke the the retention clip that secures the sun visor to the operating mechanism. As of the writing of that review, he went through 3 replacement visors. The little tabs/fingers of the retention clip do look fragile and look like they well bend and/or break easily if you are not careful. It would be best to remove the sun visor gingerly as it is easy to break the little tabs/retention clip that secures the visor to the operating mechanism. I would imagine this would be more of an issue in colder climates where the plastic retention clips may harden. As a precaution, one could try lightly warming the retention point with a hair dryer to soften the plastic a bit if you are removing the installed sun visor. I did not encounter any difficulty removing the stock smoke sun visor. I gently pulled on the sun visor to disengage the retention clip and from there lifted the visor away from sun visor hinges. Removal and installation was quite easy and only took a couple of minutes to do, seconds really. But if you rush it and are not careful, I can see those little mounting tabs breaking off if you man handle the sun visor too much.
The other quibble I want to address is that the dark smoke sun visor isn't that much darker than the stock smoke sun visor. In photography terms, the dark smoke sun visor is about 1 to 1.5 stops darker than the stock smoke sun visor (see attached pictures). As I mentioned earlier, the stock (smoke) sun visor tint isn't sufficient for the brightest hours of daylight approximately between the hours of 10:30am - 5:00pm here in Hawaii. While the stock sun visor is better than nothing, I prefer wearing sunglasses otherwise I'll be squinting during my ride if I were to rely solely on the stock smoke sun visor. For reference, my sunglasses are about 1.5 to 2 stops darker than the smoke sun screen. Even though the dark smoke sun visor is only slightly darker, I would say that the dark smoke is an improvement over the stock sun visor.
I have not gone riding with the dark smoke replacement sun visor yet, but I did perform a quick test - I put on my helmet and lowered the sun visor and took a look outside from my front door at 1:30pm. I raised the sun visor and quickly put on my sunglasses and what I found was that the degree of darkening was pretty close. However, the optical quality of the sunglasses were better and is a half shade/stop darker. My sunglasses get the extra edge as well because they are polarized. Mind you I paid $20 for my sunglasses from outdoor outfitters retail store, so I consider them cheap sunglasses. Now, how much better is the dark smoke replacement sun visor than the stock smoke sun screen? It is definitely a lot better. We'll see if I still need to wear sunglasses. I know that I won't be squinting with the dark smoke sun visor if I were to be riding mid day like I did with smoke sun visor. I'll post a followup after I've ridden with the new visor.
Final note, in the product description it says that, "Shields may look slightly different from images." I would say that the dark smoke replacement sun visor is quite different from what is pictured and is inaccurately represented. Prospective buyers will be disappointed if they are hoping for a sun visor as dark as what is pictured above. I was aware of this occurrence prior to buying my dark smoke sun visor after reading reviews. I hope that the images I provided are helpful to those wanting to know how much darker the dark smoke sun visor is in comparison to the smoke.
PROS: • Dark Smoke is darker than smoke (but not much more darker as depicted in the official product photos) • Easy and quick to install • Cheaper than buying a full face shield • Eliminates need to change out shields (inherent feature of helmet), possibly eliminates need for sunglasses
CONS: • Optical quality could be better, a polarized coating would be awesome • Fragile connecting mechanism