Why do Mountain Bike Helmets have Visors? – Detailed Guide

This thought might have crossed your mind: why do mountain bike helmets have visors? So, let’s answer that first!

Mountain bike helmets have visors because it protects a rider during a fall and since the rider has a more upright position during mountain biking, it provides the biker with a clear view. Also, the wind drag that comes with a visor is of no issue as most MTB riders move slowly.

Besides, it is not possible to go mountain biking without a helmet. In the past, open face MTB helmets were in use. But, just like mountain bikes that have evolved, the same is the case with mountain bike helmets too. Now, MTB helmets are lightweight, provide ventilation, and contain visors.

Why do Mountain Bike Helmets have Visors?

Why do Mountain Bike Helmets have Visors

What is a Visor?

It is a section of plastic that attaches to the front of a helmet and protects a cyclist from injuries during mountain biking.

Types of MTB Helmet Visors

Visors on a mountain bike helmet can be of the following types:

Types of Visors

1. Fixed Visors

As the name suggests, a fixed visor on a helmet does not move up or down. Since the visor is secured to the helmet, it results in an extremely sturdy attachment. Compared to an adjustable visor, a fixed visor is shorter in length. This shorter length prevents blocking of vision when riding.

2. Adjustable Visors

Higher-end helmets have adjustable visors in which the visor attaches at two points on either side of the helmet, allowing a rider to move the visor up and down whenever required. It is relatively longer than a fixed visor and you can move it out of your way when not needed or properly shield your eyes when needed.

3. Detachable Visors

Both fixed and adjustable visors can be detachable too. Detachable visors allow you to attach or remove the visor whenever needed. This is beneficial for cyclists who constantly switch between off-road and on-road riding because they do not have to keep separate helmets and can use the same helmet for both types of riding.

Different Ways of Attaching a Visor to a Helmet

Moving on, a visor can attach to a helmet in the following ways:

Different Ways of Attaching a Visor to a Helmet

1. Molded-In Visors

Fixed visors usually use this type of attachment as it prevents the visor from moving up and down the front helmet. It was popular once but is rarely seen now. In a molded-in visor, the lip was shorter which did not help much with glare reduction.

2. Snap-On Visors

Snap-On visors are mostly found on cheaper helmets and are not durable. This type has a disadvantage. If you get a slap from a branch during your ride, it will damage the snaps and ultimately cause the breakage of the visor.

3. Screw-On Visors

High-quality MTB helmets or full face helmets have their visors screwed on. The screws go into a molded nut and thus it allows tilt adjustment of the visor. With this visor, you get the benefit of removing it anytime to clean any debris collected between the helmet and the visor.

Do you need a Helmet for Mountain Biking?

Of course, you do. Without a helmet, you will only risk your life. During mountain biking, you will face many falls and jumps and for this, you will need a full face helmet with a suitable visor to keep you fully protected.

What is the Best Helmet Visor Length?

There is no standard length when it comes to MTB visors. It is more of a personal choice. If you are a sunny day rider, a longer visor is better for you as it would protect both your face and nose from the sun. But, a longer visor is not suitable for climbing as it inhibits your view. Therefore, it is best to get a helmet with an adjustable visor that you can adjust according to your needs.

Drawbacks of Visors on Mountain Bike Helmets

If you ride a terrain overgrown with leafy branches, the visor can catch branches and leaves between the helmet and visor which can be annoying. Besides, leafy branches come with a lot of bugs. These bugs then enter the helmet.

If you are going downhill, a visor can be problematic, particularly if you want to crouch to reduce wind resistance. When you bend, the helmet visor will come into your line of sight and will block your view.

Why don’t Road Bike Helmets have Visors?

For road riding, cyclists need to be aerodynamic. Having visors slows down a cyclist by causing a major drag. Besides, the chances of obstacles and dirt are few on the road. So, there is no need for visors on helmets designed for road bikes.

This sums up your query, ‘why do mountain bike helmets have visors?’ If you still have questions, read further.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a visor on a mountain bike helmet?

Yes, you do. In 35% of bike accidents, it can be seen that these accidents impact a rider’s chin. Therefore, a full-face helmet with a visor is a must. Also, when you are racing with a lot of people, it happens that sometimes you are behind a biker, and dirt or mud may come from that bike into your eyes. So, a visor can protect you from this.

Should my bike helmet have a visor?

If you are riding off-road, you have to have a helmet with a visor. But, if you are riding on a paved road, you will not be needing a visor since there are fewer obstacles on the road compared to off-road biking.

What is the point of a visor on a helmet?

The major purpose of a visor is to provide protection against eye injuries, rain, dust, and rubble and thus improve your overall performance.

Why do off-road helmets have visors?

When going off-road, a rider often comes across mud, tree branches, and debris flying from the track toward him. To prevent these things, helmet visors help. Also, it protects the eyes of a rider from direct sunlight.


If you already have an MTB helmet and wish to add a visor to it instead of buying a new one, you can get a soft flexible visor and attach it to your helmet. These days it is rare to see MTB helmets without visors. Manufacturers make them lightweight without compromising on the protection they would provide.

In short, adding a visor to bicycle helmets is for your safety and protection.

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