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Old 07-15-2013, 02:53 PM   #1
mjfields_228 OP
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Bell Transitions Photochomatic Faceshield ISSUE

Greetings all,

I have, and love, a Bell Star Helmet. I also bought a Transitions SolFX Photochomatic Faceshield with it after reading all of the reviews.
Loved it--was perfect. For about 1 year that is and then it abruptly stopped working (it would not get darker at all). This seems to have happened very quickly--in about 2 or 3 weeks from fully working to not working.

I contacted Bell and they sent me a replacement free of charge.

Approximately 1 year later, however, the replacement one does the same as the original. I am waiting to hear back from Bell on this one.

The first time I asked Bell the following questions:

Have they had any issues with any of their vendors using defective materials?

Does using water with a very small amount of Dawn dish soap to clean it cause some kind of a break down in the active material?

Does big temperature swings have anything to do with it losing its active properties?

They answered 'no' to all of the above.

I repeated the same questions, again, this time and they said they would get back to me.

So, now that I put probably too much information up front I am asking any of you that use a Transitions shield if you have any issues similar to mine.

I searched this forum and found many positive reviews but it was all short term stuff. If I missed a similar thread to the one I just started I apologize.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:43 AM   #2
seevtsaab
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I don't have the Bell but I've got an Akuma Phantom (now discontinued) with the
Transitions shield. First time I've heard of an issue. Love the shield (3lb helmet is nice too).
I don't use Dawn but occasionally wash with dishsoap (Costco variety usually),
or Plexus. Mine will react to temperature changes and has been out many times in sub-freezing temps. I've been loving this shield since 2010. Still works great.

Do update this thread?

I am definitely planning on going with a Transitions shield again and Bell is the only manufacturer using them as far as I know, hope I can find a good fit.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:20 AM   #3
bikefreak47
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I too have an Akuma Phantom with the SOL-FX photocromatic face shield. Mine is also three or four years old and still darkens and lightens as if it were new. It's not my everyday helmet so it isn't being asked to change shades on a daily basis. Worn mostly on the random overcast day. Rain water and a washrag for cleaning and an occasional wax job.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:38 PM   #4
k-moe
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I had a similar problem with the Transitions lenses on my glasses. My optician said to freeze the glasses, then set them in direct sunlight for 20 min. They've been working perfectly since, and get darker than they did when I first got them.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:50 PM   #5
mjfields_228 OP
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I would try the freezer experiment, however, the shield is all packaged to return to Bell. They are also in the process of sending me a new one at the same time.

I requested that they let me know what they determine as to the cause, but I am not sure they will get back to me.

Bottom line is I will get a brand new one and hope it lasts more than 1 year.

I am very impressed with Bell's customer service.

I still would like to hear from anyone that has issues with theirs.

Thanks!
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
jesse v
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I just ordered a Bell Vortex (my second of this model helmet), this time w/ the Solfx shield. My initial impression is that it does not get as dark as my previous dark smoke shield did. But it's pretty close. Sun still hurts my eyes though.

I initially wiped it clean with Windex (before using it for the first time). Could this cause damage? Google search isn't helping me.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:38 AM   #7
StuartV
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I have a Bell Vortex with Transitions shield that I got in May, 2011. It still works fine. I am going to try the freezer trick, though, just to see if it gets it to be darker.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:47 AM   #8
Swashbuckler
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I have the star with the transition lens. I clean it with soap and water at least twice a week over the past 7 months with no issues. I honestly didn't seeing my lens lasting this long due to the little chips here and there but it's still going strong. I'll order another as soon as I see fit. This was the main selling point of my helmet.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:03 AM   #9
jbhawley
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I had the Bell transition shield on a Bell Arrow helmet a couple years ago. The shield worked OK for about 3 months then I noticed it did not get dark enough...similar to your situation. Eventually, 6 months or so of continuous usage the shield stopped transitioning totally. I have thus since stopped using the helmet and gone to an Arai.

The concept is very good and when the shield worked it worked "OK". Honestly, it did not get dark enough nor clear enough even when new. These shields are too costly to not work properly.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:05 AM   #10
jesse v
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After a couple more days of use, I've come to appreciate my SolFX shield much more. It's not QUITE as dark as my old dark-smoke shield, but has much better optical quality. There's a subtle "rose colored" tint which seems to take the place of all-out darkness.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:21 PM   #11
tjduexjr
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Transitions shield still working after 3 years

I've had a transitions shield on my Bell Star helmet for 3 years now. Still works great. It has a number of scratches and dings, but the transitional ability is still going strong.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:19 AM   #12
mjfields_228 OP
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I got my replacement shield (delivered/free) last Friday. This time I am going to try only using DI water to clean it in an effort to see if it last longer than a year!

Another thing that I thought of is due to the significant amount of riding I do, most here in Florida, whether or not the sandy roads conditions are causing subtle abrasive action that is wearing the Photochromic coating off of my shield.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:02 AM   #13
mefly2
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Transitions glasses neither darken sufficiently nor lighten sufficiently to make a pair of sunglasses no longer needed ... I will stick to the clear shield and add G lenses for cutting the glare.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:35 AM   #14
syaufu
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transitions

3 yrs on 2 separate Bells ..work fine ..1 strip of black electric tape along the top border takes care of most of the glare on any shield including the transitions..bj
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:56 AM   #15
kilroy1
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Got 2 years on mine

I have had one of these shields on my RS-1 for the past 2 years. They work really well. I do have to still sunglasses under it on occasion for really bright days but for daily commute it is great. I love that I don't have to change shields for the different conditions because some days I am on throad before dawn or home after dark and the shield does the work for me. I am going to try the freezer trick though to see if I can make a little darker. Also been cleaning it with glass cleaner or soap and water for the entire time.

For the people who have had the shield crap out on them, do you all leave your helmets on your bikes during the day? The reason for this is that there was very specific instructions to not leave the helmet with the shield on it in high temperatures or hard direct sunlight for very long periods of time. This might be the reason for them not lasting. Just a thought.

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