THE TESTING STAFF OF TRANSWORLD MOTOCROSS DETAILS THE FEATURES OF THE NEW HIGH-IMPACT MOTOCROSS GOGGLES
Technology has improved virtually every aspect of our sport. From the suspension to the engines to the brakes, today's four-stroke motocross bikes are more powerful and better handling than ever before. The same goes for the protective gear we wear. Whether it be helmets or knee braces or boots, the advances in design have helped us stay safe at the greater speeds that today's motorcycles allow us to reach. What about goggles, though? A modern-day four-stroke is capable of propelling roost off of its rear wheel at a deadly velocity. Couple that with the speed you could be going when you come into contact with said roost, and it could very easily spell disaster for your eyes. Blake Baggett suffered an injury to his right eye a few years ago from an impacted lens, and his near-blinding experience has forced everyone to think about eye protection a little differently.
"It's no joke," Baggett said. "Look at all the abuse that the front number plate and fender of your bike take during a moto. When you're racing, you're staring right at the rear tire of the bike in front of you. That guy might be doing 40 miles per hour or faster, and that tire is spinning faster than that, so the rock could be thrown at your face at nearly 100 miles per hour. Combine that with the speed you're going, and the impact from something that's as small as a pin could be pretty severe and it could be an injury that would end your career.
"I had an experience that cut it pretty close and I nearly lost my right eye. With that being said, I don't take any shortcuts on goggles now, and I'm stoked on the new developments in safety. Close your eyes and walk around for a few minutes and you'll see how fun that is."
Featured belwo are a half dozen new-age goggles that are far superior to the traditional offerings that we all grew up with. Equipped with thicker lenses and mounting technology that's meant to prevent an injury just like the one Baggett suffered, these high-impact goggles are all something you should seriously consider when investing in your next pair.
Features: The crew at 100% likes to keep things simple—and simple is good! In addition to offering one lens shape for all three of its goggle models for interchangeability, 100% addressed the trend of high-impact protection in a similar manner by producing an injection-molded polycarbonate lens that would fit inside all of its existing goggles. However, the Racecraft+ is the only goggle in its lineup that comes outfitted with the special lens. How did they do it? The outer edges of the 1.75mm thick lens are machined down to fit inside the channels of the existing frames. The Racecraft frame also adds additional impact protection with a taller inside frame surface to protect against flying rocks or roost. The 45mm wide strap is affixed to the frame with outriggers for an excellent fit. All goggles come with a removable nose guard and a microfiber bag.
Editorial Feedback: The 100% Racecraft + looks identical to the very popular original Racecraft goggle, but what sets it apart is its high-impact, injection-molded lens which adds impact resistance in the event that a large dirt clod or rock is roosted straight towards the lens. What is really ingenious about the Racecraft+ lens is that it can be retrofit inside not only the standard Racecraft, but inside all adult-sized 100% goggles. The Racecraft+ itself is a nice fitting goggle that offers up plenty of sweat absorption, thanks to its quad-layer face foam. It is on the smaller side in comparison to the oversized offerings from Oakley and Scott, which makes it ideal for a wider range of face shapes and helmet sizes. The removable nosepiece is a nice touch, and the frame and strap color combinations are bright, vivid, and well designed.
Features: Blur Optics is O'Neal Racing's in-house goggle brand, and although it is a lesser-known brand, the B-50 Magnetic goggle boasts a ton of innovation and technology. The injection-molded polycarbonate lens is affixed to the frame by nine powerful magnets, and the goggle's frameless design places the lens on the outside of its chassis for added impact resistance and a massive field of vision. The goggle comes with a three-pack of tear-offs, a mud visor to keep dirt from working behind the tear-offs, and a microfiber bag.
Editorial Feedback: The most unique goggle in this feature, the Blur B-50 Magnetic goggle draws attention and questions whenever we wear it. Many have asked if the lens will pop off in a crash or when you pull a tear-off. We can report with confidence that the answer to both is no. We've crashed several times while wearing them, not intentionally mind you, and have encountered no issues. Further, our attempts to foul-up a tear-off pull have resulted in not so much as a shift in the lens placement. The strength of the magnetic bond between the lens and the frame of the goggle is quite strong, and the lens is tough to pull off when not using the specific levers on the lower corner of the frame. Of course, removing the lens for cleaning or replacement takes literally a second or two at most. The B-50's quality and field of vision is excellent, and the frame is soft enough to form to all face shapes and sizes. If we were asked to nitpick the Blur goggle, we would wish for an optional nose guard for roost, and perhaps a thicker goggle strap for aesthetic reasons.
Features: Developed closely with Team Honda HRC racer Ken Roczen, the Fox VUE was introduced earlier this year and establishes Fox amongst the sport's premier goggle makers. Featuring a unique lens retention system that doubles as the strap's outriggers, the entire goggle quickly disassembles into three pieces—frame, lens, strap and outriggers—which makes lens cleaning and changes super simple. The injection-molded polycarbonate lens is attached to the outside of the frame that features a dual-compound construction for sturdy impact protection on the outside, but soft conformability on the inside. The goggle has a medium-sized build, and the frame is lined with triple-layer face foam. The goggles come with tear-offs and a microfiber bag.
Editorial Feedback: The Fox VUE goggle's frame is more traditionally sized in comparison to the oversized offerings from Oakley, Scott, and Blur, but not quite as petite as 100%. The foam is comfortable and the frame conforms to all face shapes and sizes quite well, and the VUE fits nicely inside every helmet we wore it with. The manner in which the entire goggle comes apart to remove the lens is clever and easy to operate, and this also makes the VUE the easiest goggle to clean after a muddy moto. Vision is expansive and only limited by the eyeport of your helmet, as it is nearly impossible to detect the frame while riding. The VUE's shallow frame places the lens closer to the user's face. This is a huge positive when it comes to mud or dirt on the lens, as it makes it less distracting and easier to look past, but we were able to fog the VUE goggle on extremely cold days, or in some chilly trail riding conditions where speeds were low and body heat was up.
Features: Oakley changed the goggle game with the introduction of the Airbrake in 2013. In development for three years prior, it was field tested by pro racers at the highest levels before being introduced to the public for sale. The injection-molded lens is thicker in the center than it is on the sides, thusly yielding distortion-free, optically correct vision. In addition to the thicker, harder lens, the design of the Airbrake places the lens on the outside of the frame, making it impossible to be pushed inward toward the rider's eyes by a flying rock or roost. The Switchblade lens retention system employs an ingenious two-sided locking mechanism that makes lens changes a simple affair. This goggle comes with one stack of laminated tear-offs and a zippered goggle bag.
Editorial Feedback: When Oakley introduced the Airbrake, we must admit that it took a few rides to grow accustomed to because of the physical size of the lens and the level of clarity offered by the first injection-molded lens we'd ridden in. Oakley's Prizm lens technology yields extra definition in varied light and track conditions, and we've been impressed with all of the hues. The field of vision offered by the Airbrake is amazing, and it is virtually impossible to detect the frame while you're riding. The manner in which the lens attaches to the frame is ingenious, and removing the lens to clean or replace it is ridiculously easy to do without fingerprints. The Airbrake vents well and we've never been able to fog the lens. The face foam is replaceable and/or washable, as the gasket it's glued to can be unclipped from the mainframe. The only downfalls associated with the Airbrake? Due to its stiffer frame, the foam will not conform to all face shapes and sizes, and its large size may pose a fit problem for riders who wear smaller helmets.
Features: The Prospect goggle was several years in the making and Scott's solution to the problem of lens dislodgement is simpler and more straightforward than some of their competition. A thicker 1mm stamped Lexan lens (most traditional goggles use 0.8mm) provides superior penetration protection, while four retention pins built into the frame ensure that the lens cannot be dislodged by a flying rock or roost. The Prospect lens is extra tall and yields a large field of vision. The all-new frame features a removable noseguard and is lined with Scott's renowned three-layer molded face foam. Articulated outriggers and an extra-wide silicone-backed strap pull the goggle toward the rider's face for a snug, secure fit. All goggles come with an extra clear lens and a microfiber goggle bag.
Editorial Feedback: Of all the goggles in this feature, the Scott Prospect has the most flexible overall feel because of its stamped lens and is thus the easiest to fit snugly for a good seal against your face. The field of vision is excellent and the large frame fits well inside all but the smallest helmets. The two-pin tear-off system operates great and keeps dirt from sneaking behind the tear-off better than other oversized goggles with a single retention pin. Scott's trademark NoSweat face foam is excellent and near impossible to sweat out. What's the only downfall? Even when you have it down to a science, installing a lens into the Prospect frame requires some patience, as the Lens Lock System is the most complicated to operate among the goggles in this feature. We have tested a pre-production, extruded thermoformed, light-sensitive Lexan lens in the Prospect, and its pre-curved design makes installation much easier. Furthermore, the light-sensitive technology and optical clarity is amazing.