Review: Shoei CWR-1 Transitions Photochromatic Pinlock Shield

Actual photo of me trying to wear sunglasses in my helmet
I know what you are going to say and you don't even have to go there. $200 for a helmet face shield is outlandish, crazy, maybe even stupid... but oh no it isn't, not when it is the Shoei Transitions Photochromatic face shield!

My sunglass addiction isn't just to pretend I'm a cool gal. I have very light sensitive eyes so doing any sort of motorcycle travel without the proper shades just isn't feasible. I have never mastered the sunglasses under full face helmet circus. Somehow my glasses always end up looking like an outtake from Revenge of the Nerds. Then there's the steaming up and the pain from the ear pieces, it's generally just not my thing.

For several years I rode with a Scorpion EXO 1100 which includes the flip down style tinted face shield underneath the main face shield. I really liked this solution except for the cut in your line of vision caused by the drop down shield.

When it was time to upgrade helmets, the Scorpion brand no longer fit my tiny head so I moved onto a Shoei. I won't bore you with the details of my Shoei helmet except for that it's an RF-1200 and I love it.

Along with not being a fan of wearing sunglasses under a full face helmet, I'm even less of a fan of carrying two different face shields. I have a habit of dropping things. I also have a habit of cramming things into too tiny spaces in already overcrowded motorcycle luggage, so extra shields don't tend to last very long in my hands. I'm also one of those people who tend to stay somewhere WAY longer than I initially planned which means getting caught with a dark face shield at night when you should have brought both, ugh... planning.

The Shoei Transitions shield cures all of these issues. It is clear when you want clear and turns dark when you need darkness (that sounds so goth). It makes the full transition in about one minute from perfectly clear to the darkest it will get. It also does a nice job of staying somewhere in the middle on over cast but bright days. I was concerned that while riding through shade or tunnels that the shield would not turn light quick enough and I'd be temporarily "in the dark" but after riding with it for two years I've never had that happen.

Inside - no UV exposure 
Overcast and bright
Full sun

The care and feeding of this shield is a little more involved than your typical face shield. Shoei recommends cleaning with a mild detergent and soft cloth. I am most definitely guilty of picking up the window washer at the truck stop and squeegeeing my face shield while my helmet is still attached. I had to stop that ritual upon using the Transitions shield. The darkening will decrease gradually over time with long exposure to UV rays so I've also made it a habit to bring my helmet inside with me while eating or taking a break. My helmet now also lives inside of a cushy helmet bag when being stored for more than a few days.

Time to get down to business:


  • Eliminates your need to carry multiple face shields
  • Eliminates your need to fit sunglasses under your helmet
  • Causes you to take better care of your helmet 
  • Transitions while you are on the bike so no need to pull over to add or remove sun protection


  • Price, I own a couple of motorcycles that didn't even cost me $200
  • More maintenance than a normal face shield
  • Makes you take better care of your helmet
  • Only fits select models (RF1200, RF-SR, & X-14)

Would I buy this face shield again?
Yes, I'm going into my third year with this shield and I wouldn't replace it with anything else.

(I should also mention that I do not work for or am endorsed by Shoei... but I'm always available to talk if they are interested.)

About Shoei motorcycle helmets and face shields

Founded in 1959, Shoei helmets are handmade in Japan and offer outstanding levels of comfort and protection. They are a well-known leader in the field (along with several others) and used by race teams (and regular women) worldwide.


  1. I am so jealous, I wish Shoei would make this for the Qwest. I learned recently that they are making photochrome pinlocks, which would be a good alternative, but I can't seem to find any in the US.


Post a Comment