Words & Photos by | Jun Song |
I think I found my favorite new gear of 2016: Maska helmet visors from the Equilibrialist. This company is based in California and the company just released brand new helmet visors called Maskas (I’m going to call them visors for simplicity’s sake), and they make them for Biltwell Gringos, NEXX XG100, and Ruby Castle helmets.
If you’re not a reader, see my YouTube video review of these Maskas, posted far below.
I’m genuinely surprised that something like this hasn’t come out sooner. I’ve seen visors like this, but they were one-off custom made. NEXX XG100 does come with visors, but they are not that appealing (click here for my full XG 100 helmet review). Although I love my XG100 helmet, I stopped using the NEXX stock visor/shield long time ago because it was flimsy in high speed. On top of that, I can’t use normal goggles because goggles don’t fit on XG helmets! So I had a problem, but this new start-up company out of California called Equilibrialist pretty much solved my problem.
As I mentioned before, the company only makes visors, more specifically, visors for Biltwell Gringo, NEXX XG100 and Ruby Castle helmets (sorry Bell Bullitt owners, you’re out of luck). The company calls its visors Maska and has different names for each helmet types:
Gringo visor – Knox
XG100 visor – Leo
Castle visor – Felix
Before I continue with this Product segment, let me give you my two cents on these names. I think Equilibrialist, which I have no idea what the correct way to pronounce is nor do I know what it means, went slightly overboard with the whole naming. I understand the company was going for unique and high-end vibe with the one of a kind name, Equilibrialist, and exotic sounding names such as Maska, Felix, Knox, and Leo, but me being a consumer: 1) it’s actually hard to remember all of that: call me stupid, but I’ve had these visors for 3 weeks and completed a full video review of them and I still can’t remember which visor is Knox, Leo or Felix! And I probably couldn’t remember the company’s name if I wasn’t doing a blog review on it, 2) I think their product speaks for itself: i.e. the product physically presents itself as a premium good, so are all these names necessary? Anyway, sorry for going on off tangent, and I probably shouldn’t be the one to criticize about names since this blog, Sideroist, is a completely made up word that nobody can pronounce or remember…
Resuming: Visors and straps for all helmets come in four-color options and all four-color options come in either clear or tinted shield. Colors include:
The straps and the visor shields can be bought separately, so if you wanted to, the colors can be mix/matched.
PRICE / VALUE (Score: Totally Worth It)
You have three purchase options:
- Complete visor set, which includes both the shield and the strap, for $145
- Visor only, which is ONLY the shield without the strap, for $110
- Strap only for $45
Now, if you’re familiar with my reviews, I have a tendency to review premium gears, which are generally a bit overpriced and being overpriced has always been the biggest negative of any premium gear I’ve reviewed so far. Obviously, definition of “overpriced” is subjective and relative since a $1500 Ruby helmet may be cheap to you, but for average consumers, it definitely isn’t. A $145 for a set of visors may sound expensive and overpriced, especially if you own a Gringo, which starts at $160, but I’m going to make an exception for this product and say that it is NOT overprice. I think paying $145 for one of these visors is perfectly reasonable because it adds tremendous aesthetic and practical value to your helmet. This leads to my next sections STYLE and FUNCTIONALITY.
Just keep in mind that 100% Barstow Deus x Machina goggles cost $95, which is just plain plastic goggle with a Deus logo on it.
STYLE (Score: Solid 9/10)
I LOVE the style, including all the fine details that went into making this visor. The leather trim around the shield, leather detailed straps with button release mechanics, and all the fine details make this visor just an amazing accessory to any of the applicable helmets.
This visor genuinely transforms your helmet into a new and better-looking helmet. Going back to the value, one of the reasons why I think the $145 price tag is reasonable is because these visors will more than double the aesthetic look of your Gringo helmet. Not only that, this visor will even improve the look of your $1000 Ruby helmet. Now that’s saying something. Obviously, these are my subjective opinions, but I’m confident that 9 out of 10 of you will agree that these visors do significantly improve the look of the helmets.
I can’t be happier with how this burgundy visor on my XG 100 helmet looks. I’ve never owned Gringo helmets, but I’m now very tempted to buy one just because of what they look like with these visors on. I really really really wish they made a visor for Bell Bullitt helmets as well, and I’m sure Bullitt owners feel the same.
FUNCTIONALITY (Score: 8/10)
You can’t just lift and drop the visor in-between the helmet’s eye-slit as you would with a normal pair of goggles. You have to align the edge of the visor-shield to the outline edge of the helmet eye-slit. This requires some effort on your end to get it right, especially if you don’t want wind to seep through your visor during the ride.
Also, due to the rubber friction of the strap, the visor isn’t easy to put on/off when you’re not wearing the helmet. I think this is just due to the unnatural hand-to-helmet position, because when I was wearing the helmet, the visor was relatively easy to slide on and off.
I was highly skeptical of how this visor would handle while riding, especially at high speed, but it’s really solid in such condition. NEXX XG100 helmet’s stock visor is terrible in high wind, as it lifts up and shuffles around when faced with highway speed, but the Maska visor didn’t budget even at 80mph/130kph.
The visor’s tight fit on the helmet provides a very good seal around the eye-slit of your helmet. I was expecting wind to seep through and cause some whistling noise (like my Bell Bullitt, which has unbearable wind noise), but it was dead quiet. Problem with such good seal is that it didn’t provide any ventilation. The XG100 has chin ventilation, which isn’t great but still better than nothing, but the Gringo doesn’t have any and I’m sure it can get somewhat stuffy inside the Gringo during the summer.
To provide additional ventilation, I rode with the visor slightly lifted, which provided sufficient ventilation but the wind came right on to my eyes, which became unbearable at high speed.
Another test I did was to ride with the visor fully lifted. The strap has rubber-grip lining, so it grips the helmet really well. I was able to ride with the visor up near the forehead of the helmet at about 40mph/65kph, and it’s very doable. I wouldn’t do it at highway speed, but it works great for riding around town. Due to its tight friction/grip, I found it fairly difficult to lift the visor while riding, like I would with a normal helmet visor.
Although the visors are not cross-type compatible, i.e. Gringo visor will NOT fit on a XG helmet, the straps are removable and interchangeable. So if you own multiple helmet types, lets just say you own all three: Gringo, XG, and Castle helmets, then you only need one strap for all the helmet visors. One way to reduce cost.
CONCLUSION (Score: Best of 2016)
I’m genuinely serious when I say this is my favorite new gear of 2016. I think the price is more than reasonable. Just for the aesthetic value this visor adds, I would definitely buy it and even pay more for one of these. Especially, I think this is a game-changer look for Gringos, and a perfect replacement of the stock visor you get with the XG 100. For Ruby Castle, I think this visor should come with the helmet for free considering how much you pay for the helmet, but what’s another $145 when you’re already dropping $1,000 plus on a helmet.
Disclosure: The company, Equilibrialist, did send me the visors for free; however this review is not a paid-advertisement nor do I have any obligation to write a review for the product. This review is my genuine opinion of the visors without any external influence.