OAKLEY AIRBRAKE MX GOGGLE
COLOR: Twelve Standard, Three Signature (Villopoto, Herlings, Troy Lee Designs)
PRICE: Starting at $160
Leave it to Oakley to design what has been touted as the most technologically advanced motocross goggle in history. Borrowing the name and basic design of its snow sports brother, the Airbrake MX was made to maximize every aspect of protection, vision, and comfort. As the marquee product in the company's motocross line, it has become the goggle of choice for every professional racer on Oakley's roster, including Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart, and Chad Reed.
What sets the Airbrake apart from a standard motocross goggle? Oakley owns a number of patented materials, and many are used in the construction: the lens is injection-molded Plutonite, which boosts optical clarity and protection from flying objects, and the frame is made of durable O Matter and urethane. The pronounced curvature on the frame and lens increases the field of vision, namely peripheral, and there is slight vertical angle across the frame that becomes truly level when a rider tilts their head when on the track. The final feature is the ability to fully replace parts of the goggle, thanks to the Switchlock lens and swappable outrigger, strap, frame, and face foam.
– We noticed two things when we put the goggles on for the first time. The most obvious was the massive field of vision; because lens is slightly recessed into the frame, there is nothing to block what lays ahead. Second was how well the frame fit onto our faces. Our testing staff has a variety of face shapes and each person felt equal pressure across their nose, cheeks, and forehead. This seal will keep almost anything from getting between the goggle and face.
– Plenty of effort goes into making the Airbrake lens. Rather than just stamped Lexan, the injection-molded Plutonite material offers increased clarity and does not distort incoming light. Thanks to Oakley's extensive collection of lens colors, finding an option perfect for your conditions is easy to do.
– There is something special about Oakley's laminated tearoffs and outriggers. While you may not think there is a difference between brands, we have never had an issue with accidentally pulling an entire stack when reaching for just one.
– The triple-layered face foam is supple and comfortable, but absorbs sweat quickly and does not let it splash onto the inside of the lens. The ventilation foam is also well made, as it allows air in but keeps unwanted material out.
– We've been able to swap out parts, including face foam and lens, in short breaks between motos. The Switchlock system is foolproof and lets you put in a lens without covering the inside with smudges, and there is nothing better than fresh face foam on a warm day.
– Roll-offs are necessary for muddy motos, but for some, they are a hassle to install. Oakley offers a complete lens with film canisters installed that lays right into the frame.
– 160-dollars for a pair of goggles is an astronomical sum of money for the average motocross rider. The Airbrake costs twice as much as Oakley's other high-end offerings, the Mayhem and O-Frame. To Oakley's credit, every part of the goggle is replaceable and reasonably priced; a replacement lens starts at 25-bucks, a strap is 20, and tearoffs are 15.
– As great as the Plutonite lens is, it has a few flaws. The material has a tendency to become pitted or scratched, so always make sure that it is loaded with tearoffs or clean when put into a bag.
– Fitting the massive frame into some helmet eyeports can be a challenge. Try it in your helmet before purchasing if you can, and take care when putting it on to avoid knocking dirt inside the frame.
Oakley achieved everything they set out for with the Airbrake. The massive frame is durable, comfortable, and attractive, the lens makes for an unreal view, and the materials used in construction are top notch. Is it worth the price tag to the average rider? That's for them to decide, but the Airbrake has earned a permanent place in our gear bag.
For more, visit oakley.com