Transitions Adaptive Motorcycle Shield Survey Reveals Desire for Innovative Technology

Research from the Transitions Adaptive Motorcycle Shield Survey found that riders desire the latest technology in their helmets and believe that manufacturers need to do more to innovate. More than eight in 10 motorcycle owners (84 percent) surveyed agree innovation in shield technology has been lacking in the helmet industry.

Research from the Transitions Adaptive Motorcycle Shield Survey found that riders desire the latest technology in their helmets and believe that manufacturers need to do more to innovate. More than eight in ten motorcycle owners (84 percent) surveyed agree innovation in shield technology has been lacking in the helmet industry, and the majority of those surveyed (97 percent) say major manufacturers should regularly do more to optimize their helmets with innovative technology (i.e. adaptive shields, digital connection, impact-resistance).

Motorcycle owners are united in their definition of “innovative”: nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents agree that the No. 1 factor for “innovative” helmets is defined by shield technology that offers the highest vision quality, followed by improved safety features, such as built-in suspension and impact-resistance capabilities (61 percent); improved comfort with regard to stronger, lighter weight materials (56 percent); improved comfort with regard to temperature/ventilation (54 percent); and smart technology, such as heads up display and advanced digital capabilities (50 percent).

The survey found that one in five respondents (21 percent) ride their motorcycle daily—with a quarter saying their motorcycle is their primary mode of transportation. Millennial riders in particular are more likely to mainly travel by motorcycle: 38 percent use their motorcycle as their primary mode of transportation, compared to 21 percent of Gen Xers and eight percent of Baby Boomers.   

Recreational riders hit the road often as well: an additional two-thirds asked (67 percent) report that they ride recreationally, but that their motorcycle is not their main mode of transportation, and two out of five (41 percent) ride three to five times per week. This riding frequency is especially popular with Gen Xers (71 percent) and Baby Boomers (81 percent) over Millennials (55 percent).  

Nearly half of motorcycle owners say they own an accessory shield or visor separate from the one that comes standard on their helmet. In fact, survey respondents own two on average and buy often, with 48 percent saying they buy a new replacement visor every year. However, carrying multiple shields is inconvenient and a potential safety threat. Almost half of respondents (44 percent) say it is a burden to carry and store an extra shield when not riding, with one-third (35 percent) expressing frustration at the possibility of forgetting the shield they need. 

Shields are an important part of overall protection, and 94 percent of respondents agree–and half strongly agree—that the type of shield their helmet has is a significant criterion in their evaluation of the product’s safety. However, riders are engaging in risky behavior to compensate for changing light conditions while on the road. More than half (57 percent) of riders surveyed strongly agree that their riding experience would be safer if they did not have to change shields while they are out on the road, but only a quarter (26 percent) of respondents have used an adaptive tint or photochromic shield to adjust to changing light in the past six months. 

The Transitions Adaptive Motorcycle Shield Survey found that a majority of motorcycle owners see significant value in in helmet shields that automatically adjust the level of time as sunlight changes throughout the day. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of survey respondents say that it would be “very convenient” to have a shield with photochromic technology, while a majority (97 percent) said that they agree there is a benefit to having automatically adapting shields standard in all helmets that have shields. Even with clear benefits to utilizing photochromic face shields, half of motorcycle owners (52 percent) have worn sunglasses under a face shield in the past six months to compensate for changing light when riding, while only a quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed used an adaptive tint or photochromic shield.

However, once riders try an adaptive shield, they don’t like to ride without it. Nearly all riders (99 percent) surveyed that have tried an adaptive shield say they are satisfied, with three out of five (62 percent) reporting “extreme satisfaction” with their adaptive tint shield. Once motorcycle owners purchase a photochromic shield, they’re likely to buy again. Ninety-six percent say they are likely—with 68 percent reporting extremely likely—to purchase another photochromic shield when it comes time to replace their current one.    

Survey Methodology
Online survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Transitions Optical, Inc. in December 2015 among 1,000 U.S. motorcycle owners ages 18+ who ride on average at least once per month and wear a full-face helmet or dual-sport helmet with shield.

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