The Goggle Buyer's Guide
Being able to see while riding on a motorcycle is pretty important. And while you always
want to dress for the crash, having a good pair of goggles will help you avoid a crash due
to lack of visibility. With any kind of riding, your eyes are going to have a lot of enemies.
From wind to dirt to bugs, getting something in your eye mid-ride really isn't
advantageous and trying to clean it out while still riding is only going to heighten your
chances of meeting the ground in an all too painful way. Instead, invest in a good pair of
goggles to keep your eyes open and free of debris.
Of course, with so many different types of riding, there are tons of different types of
goggles. From street goggles to off-road goggles and tinted lenses to clear lenses, the
choice can be a little difficult to make so let us help you out with this goggle guide.
There are so many different styles of off-road riding and goggle manufacturers have
pretty much thought of every aspect of every style in order to customize goggles to make
them perfect no mater what kind of riding you are doing. This means that you'll need to
know what kind of riding that you will be doing when you're goggle shopping and buy
accordingly. You will always want to buy based on the riding conditions you'll be
wearing them in and how much activity you will be doing while riding. These
ProGrip 3458 Goggles with Roll-Off System have literally everything
you would need for off-road goggles. But there are a few basic features that you'll want with every pair of goggles.
Any goggles that you buy should have a good range of vision. In any type of riding,
you'll need to be able to see everything ahead of you as well as to the sides. When you
try goggles on, be sure to try them on with your helmet and check to see if the edges of
the goggles obstruct your vision in any way. You also need to make sure that the lens is
not in any way distorted even where it curves to fit the frames.
The frames of a well fitted pair of goggles should recess into the eye opening of your
helmet while still giving you a full view of your surroundings. Make sure that the foam
padding on the goggles rests on your face around the whole goggle and that there aren't
A good set of frames should be flexible in order to allow the frames to fit your face and
helmet. Frames should also come with a good venting system especially if you're going
to be doing a lot of activity while riding. Your body will be throwing off heat and
moisture and vents will allow your goggles to breathe and keep them from fogging up.
You might also want to coat the inside of your goggles with an anti-fog chemical.
These lenses for Scott goggles
are great because they already have the anti-fog coating. Many goggles will also come
with an extra layer of moisture wicking material in the foam for riders who tend to work
up a sweat. This keeps the moisture out of the goggles to keep down fogging.
The straps on your goggles are also extremely important. Simply put, if your straps don't
stay in place, neither will your goggles. And messing with your straps can get very
annoying very quickly. Most straps are made from a heavy woven nylon that should be
both elastic and adjustable. But cheap straps can tend to have a mind of their own and
slip, slide and readjust themselves. In order to avoid strap mayhem, buy a pair of goggles
that has silicone beading or patterning on the inside of the strap. This will allow the strap
to grip to your helmet and stay right where you want it to be while you ride.
Unlike with street riding, off-road riders have a tendency to get dirty a whole lot faster
and, especially with MX racers, they often don't have the time to just stop and clear the
mud off in order to see again. This is where tear-offs are a great thing to have on a ride. If
you know that you're going to be playing in some serious dirt and mud, slap some tear-
offs onto your lenses before riding. These handy little items are just laminated sticker-like
films that go over your lens and can be peeled off mid ride in order to clear away any of
the mud and grime and allow you to see clearly again. However, we really love the
Dragon MDX Rapid Roll Sysyem which can be attached to any
Dragon goggles and have a roll-off system instead of a tear-off system. This method is
essentially the same as tear-offs but allows you to have more film strips for each
installment. Tear-offs often only fit up to ten tears while a roll can have twice as much.
This kit also comes with a handy mud visor for extra protection from the elements. Many
goggle manufacturers make both tear-offs and roll-offs for their goggles.
Depending on the conditions that you'll be riding in, you'll want to get the right tinted or
shaded lenses. Check out the lens color explanations below for more help on choosing the
right ones. Just as with many street-riding goggles, it's also better to spend the extra
money on a pair of goggles off-road goggles that have UV protection as well.
With street riding, many riders tend to get up to a pretty decent speed. Without a car
windshield in front of you, the wind whipping past your face can get pretty intense. Many
people try to eliminate this by either wearing a full-face street helmet or by installing a
windshield on their bike. With a full-face helmet on, you might be able to avoid having to
purchase any eyewear as long as you get the right shield to go with it. Otherwise, eye
wear is a must have even with a windshield. Many people feel that sunglasses or
motorcycle glasses give them enough coverage to keep their eyes comfortable. And while
motorcycle glasses do indeed get the job done in some cases, goggles hold a few
advantages over them. We really love these
Eye Ride The Works Goggles.
Goggles are great because, if they fit properly, there's no way unnecessary or excess air
is getting around the rims and into your eyes whether you have a windshield or not. If
you ride without a windshield on your bike, your face will be what cuts through the wind
so motorcycle glasses may not give you enough coverage. Instead, goggles will help you
slice through the air without eye problems.
The second common eye irritant that you will have to deal with while riding your bike
during the day is the blaring sun (especially if you live in Alaska during the summer
where the sun is up for almost 21 hours a day). On sunny days, the weather might be
perfect for riding but trying to ride with the sun in your eyes can ruin it all. So, just like
motorcycle glasses, motorcycle goggles have a variety of tinted lenses to make sure that
whatever lighting you're riding in doesn't affect your vision. For information on all of the
various lens colors, check out the explanations of them all below.
The best goggles for daytime riding will be treated for ultraviolet rays. Since over
exposure to UV rays can cause serious eye damage, be sure to get goggles that shield and
protect your eyes from them. Another great feature that you'll want your motorcycle
goggles to have is polarized lenses. These types of lenses have a series of crystals
between the layers of the lens that blocks scattered light from reaching your eye that
would cause glare. Glare is the worst in direct sunlight but can also be caused by wet
roads, buildings and windshields and can cause a rider to be unable to see. These lenses
are, however, more expensive but well worth the crisp view you'll have even in the
Goggles are typically made with a strong plastic and we highly recommend getting a pair
of goggles like these
Pacific Coast Airfoil 7610 Series Goggle that have polycarbonate plastic lenses. This type of plastic is virtually
indestructible yet extremely light weight. Plus it's thinner, stronger and lighter than glass
lenses and automatically comes with UV protection. Lenses made out of this material are
great at absorbing high-energy impacts from flying objects that you may encounter while
riding. Unfortunately, this material does have a tendency to scratch easily if they do come
into contact with a fast moving flying object. If you're really worried about your lenses
getting scratched, buy a pair of goggles that have a clear scratch resistant coating.
With any goggles, you'll want to make sure that they fit well. Because goggles come with
adjustable straps that allow you to make them bigger or smaller depending on the size of
your cranium, this shouldn't be too difficult of a task. Still, you'll want to make sure that
the goggles have straps that can go as big or as small as you need. If you can't get your
goggles to be small enough, you'll find that loose goggles can be very annoying and will
have a tendency to do whatever they want and distract you while you ride.
On the other hand, goggles that can't adjust to be big enough will be very uncomfortable.
You want your goggles to be snug without making it impossible for blood to flow to your
cranium. If it sucks so much when you leg falls asleep, just imagine what it must feel like
if your head falls asleep. If you get a pair of goggles that are too tight, you'll also notice
that the frames will be too close to your eyes and end up obstructing your view. Buy a
pair of goggles that have straps that are not only adjustable, but are adjustable to the
extent that you will need.
Because face structures vary, different goggles will fit differently on different people.
Even if your goggles fit perfectly, keep an eye out for any pressure points where your
goggles could irritate your face while riding. If it seems like you just have one of those
faces that can't agree with goggles and continuously comes across painful pressure
points, get a pair of goggles with outrigger straps instead. Many top of the line goggles
come with this system to allow for the best fit possible. You always want to try your
goggles on with your helmet to make sure that your helmet and goggles can live happily
together while you ride. A pair of goggles can agree with you but disagree with your
helmet and cause odd lifting in areas or pressure points in others.
Foam is the main reason that riders need to buy a new set of goggles. Cheap foam will
not only be less comfortable but will deteriorate a whole lot faster as well. When
shopping for goggles, keep in mind that a high end pair might cost a few extra bucks but
the foam will be a higher quality and will last longer, which will save you from having to
replace them more often. A good foam construction should be anchored well to and
slightly denser toward the frames. The softer the foam is where it will be resting on your
face, the more comfortable the goggles will be. If you plan on riding in sandy terrains,
check out special desert goggles such as these
Scott Recoil Sand/Dust Goggles that have specialized foam. The foam in these goggles
has smaller pores in order to still allow for air to flow without letting sand in.
Lens Color and Tint
Goggle manufacturers have made tons of different lens colors and tints in order to give
you the best visibility in all conditions. This means that there is an overwhelming amount
of options for the type of lenses you should buy depending on when and where you will
The most basic type of lens is clear. These lenses are just your straightforward plastic
lenses that are great for low-light conditions such as if you'll be driving at night or on a
gloomy day. Because these lenses have no color to them, they let through the most
amount of light without filtering anything out. Most of these lenses do not come with any
UV protection because they are not meant to be worn in intense sunlight.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are gray lenses. Gray is a perfect color for
minimizing light while still maintaining colors to their true hues. These lenses also help
reduce glare from direct sunlight. Many goggles can have a varying darkness of hue and
the darker the gray, the more light the lens will absorb and the less light will hit your eye.
Get a darker lens for high light conditions and a lighter lens for more low-lighting
If you don't want to have to buy different lenses or goggles for different light conditions,
some goggle have lenses that are transitional. These lenses adjust their level of darkness
depending on the amount of sunlight so they can be worn at any time.
In between clear and gray goggle lenses are many varying colors that will give you
differing advantages in different conditions. Amber and Orange tinted lenses reduce the
amount of blue light, which is what causes glare, that will hit your eye. These lens colors
also help to pump up the contrast, brighten in lower lit conditions and enhance details.
Yellow lenses are also great for days with minimal light. These allow you to see without
needing a lot of light while cutting down on glare and improving depth perception. Rose
tinted lenses also help to give better contrast, cut down on glare and reduce eyestrain in
well lit conditions. A green lens will work really well in the most general conditions.
This color will enhance contrast in low light conditions but reduce eyestrain in well lit
situations. These are just a few of the hues that lenses come in. Other colors include
brown and copper. The general rule is that the darker it is, the better it will be on a sunny
day while the lighter lenses are better for gloomy days or night time.
Lenses can also be mirrored. Almost any color lens including clear and yellow can be
flashed with a mirror coating that will allow you to see out while keeping others from
seeing in. This will give you a more "private" feel and will also look pretty cool. A
mirror coating can also help to cut down glare. This is great on clear lenses that don't
have any glare protection which can be annoying when facing oncoming headlights at
Having a lens for every type of light situation that you might encounter is always a good
way to be prepared. There are two easy ways to do so: either buy a pair of goggles for
each lens color or buy a pair of goggles that has interchangeable lenses. We love having
interchangeable lenses but this is totally based off of preference.
Don't have perfect eyesight?
If you don't happen to have 20/20 vision, there are a few different options for buying a
pair of goggles that will still allow you to see clearly. If you wear glasses, many goggles,
such as these Bobster Phoenix OTB Goggles, are shaped to allow
you to wear your glasses under the goggles. Be sure to check to see if your glasses fit
comfortably under the goggles before riding. You'll want to get a pair of goggles that
won't lose their comfort and seal with spectacles on as well. These goggles are a bit more
round and convex so many people might think that they look goofy. If that's the case,
you'll need to invest in some pretty expensive prescription lenses, start wearing contacts
or just get Lasik.
Maintenance and storage for all goggles
Keeping your goggles properly maintained is paramount when it comes to keeping them
in top condition and keeping you from having to replace them more often than you need
to. Be sure to always wash your goggles daily or after each use. The best way to wash
your goggles is with warm water and a mild soap. Never use harsh cleaners on your
goggles as they will break down any coating on your lenses as well as corrode any foam.
When drying off your goggles, use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching them and then
let the foam and strap air dry thoroughly before storing them.
Do not store your goggles in direct sunlight or in places that can get extremely hot. Sound
familiar? Hanging your goggles from your rear view mirror or setting them on your
dashboard may make you look cool or be convenient, but it will break down the integrity
of your goggles a whole lot faster. When you're not using your goggles, be sure to store
them in a goggle case like this Fox Goggle Case so that
they don't get damaged of scratched.
In order to get rid of finger prints, bug guts or dirt during a ride, use a goggle lens
cleaning cloth or microfiber cloth to wipe them off. Avoid the urge to just use your shirt
or jersey to wipe them down as these fabrics can cause scratching as well as can many
other forms of cloth.
Once you've figured out the characteristics that your street or off-road goggles will need
to have to allow you to see clearly while you ride, feel free to get creative. As with all of
the rest of your motorcycle gear, motorcycle manufacturers make tons of different styles,
looks and colors to allow you to express yourself from head to toe. Whether you're a
chopper riding cruiser and want to be decked out in chrome from head to toe or an off-
road rider obsessed with bright neon colors, buy your goggles to fit your look.