When I first started riding in the 80s as a a kid, the choice for dirt bike goggles were really limited.
There would be a grand choice of all of 3 brands of goggles available to dirt bike riders that I could remember, which were Scott, Oakley and Smith.
These guys were still figuring out how to build the right goggles for dirt bike riders and choice was really limited.
I even remember when the chin guard used to attach to the goggles and you would wear an open face helmet. lol
Fast forward 30 years and the choice available for dirt bike riders now is nothing short of astounding.
The research and development that has gone into developing goggles specifically for dirt bike riders have resulted in some really impressive gear.
The competition to win your hard earned cash is fierce.
This means that dirt bike riders can get a great pair of high quality goggles at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
In fact, thanks to the low cost it is not uncommon riders to own quite a few sets of goggles in the kit. This is to handle all different sorts of riding conditions.
#1 The must have features for dirt bike goggles are UV protection, replaceable lenses, anti fog technology. silicone strapping and they must be comfortable to wear.
#2 Use different types of lenses to suit various riding conditions such as glare, shade and sandy areas.
#3 If you ride in extreme cold or heat, consider double lensed goggles.
#4 To manage lots of mud on your goggles, use either tears offs or roll offs on your goggles.
#5 If you are riding in fine sand or dust, goggles with finer filters will protect your eyes from dust.
#6 If you wear prescription glasses, there are goggles available that can fit your glasses within the frame.
#7 Wash your goggles using mild washing up soap and avoid harsh chemicals.
#8 When travelling with your dirt bike goggles, get yourself a goggles bag that can fit a few goggles and lenses so they don’t get squashed in transit.
#9 Avoid breathing into your goggles as that can ruin the anti fog properties on the lens.
Not all dirt bike goggles are the same!
As usual and with most products, you have the cheap and nasty end of the market and the premium end.
There’s really no point in getting a dodgy brand when the premium brands with all the features cost under $100!
My advice here is to stick with the main brands.
These brands have spent millions on research and development and you will always get the best product that your money can buy.
Saying this, there’s a few must have features that you will need.
Must Have Features With Dirt Bike Goggles >>
a. UV Protection.
Protecting your eyes from UV rays is a must. There’s no excuse here.
Riding all day, even in overcast conditions can damage your eyes as the UV rays can be really strong.
UV protection against UVA and UVB spectrum rays is a must and should be at the top of your list.
b. Replaceable Lenses.
Dirt bike riding really thrashes your goggles hard and the first area of the goggles to get damaged are always the lenses.
This happens especially when you are riding through thick scrub or forest and branches whip you in the face.
Scratching happens all the time and you need to be able to have googles that allow you to switch out the lenses quickly to get on with your ride.
c. Anti-fog Technology.
Whether you are riding in hot or cold, wet or dry conditions, you will face the same problem that every dirt bike rider faces the world over – Fogging.
Lens fogging is a pain in the ass! It blocks your vision which is bad news if you are in a technical area or are riding at high speed.
Fogging occurs as body heat and sweat gets trapped inside the goggles and causes precipitation on the lens.
You will want to avoid fogging like the plague.
Trust me, you don’t want to be in the middle of a great ride and have to stop to try to clean your dirt bike goggles with nothing to use except your dirty glove or jersey.
It’s best just to avoid the problem all together by buying goggles that have already figured out this problem and have anti fogging technology installed.
Remember when I talked about companies investing research and development money into goggles?
Well most of this cash goes into solving the fogging problem.
Thanks to this research, goggles can now absorb absorb fog through the lens as well as provide advanced ventilation systems to keep your face area as dry as possible, while keeping out the dirt.
Saying this, I have found though that no matter how good the quality of goggles you have, fogging will always occur from time to time, but minimizing the problem helps a lot.
Top quality goggles as well as anti-fog spray is the best defense against fogging. After going through a few brands,
I have settled on Scott Anti fog Spray. I always have a bottle in my kit with a micro fiber cloth to apply to my lenses if it is a humid day.
d. Silicone Strapping
Goggle straps should contain fine strips of silicone on the underside of the strap that fits around your helmet.
Why? So the strap has plenty of grip when it is wrapped around the back of your helmet. This means that they won’t slip off under extreme helmet movement.
All the goggle straps I know of contain this as a standard feature. It’s still worth mentioning though as it is one of the most important features.
e. Comfort and Function
Goggles contain a perimeter of ventilated foam around the goggle frame that is designed to mold to your face.
The ventilated foam is designed to keep a constant barrier between your face and the environment. As well as allowing the moisture from your sweat to be expelled efficiently.
The key here is that dirt bike goggles need to mold to your face.. Perfectly. If they aren’t perfectly molded, they won’t work properly and you will always be suffering from dirt, moisture and fogging issues.
Saying this, all goggle brands are slightly different in shape. Some may not suit the shape of your face or may be uncomfortable.
It is really important that you find a design that works for you and maintains a perfect barrier on your face while they are on.
Over time you will find the most comfortable brands that fit your face the best and it may take a couple of tries to get this right.
Also, if you purchase products from RockymountainATVMC.com and they don’t fit. you can post them back and swap them with another brand or size within 45 days. They will even pay for return shipping. Very cool!
When you have worn dirt bike goggles, perhaps you have noticed that objects can appear larger or smaller than they actually are?
Or have you ever noticed that objects can appear closer to you or further away than they actually are?
This is a common occurrence with any type of goggles, whether for snowboarding or bike riding and it occurs because of the curved shape of the lens distorts the vision.
I know that sports people that need absolutely precise vision to catch or hit a ball (like golf) pay big bucks to have this vision anomaly corrected in their sunglasses to improve their game.
Well some goggle makers like Oakley have sorted this problem by modifying the lens to provide a completely accurate view without distortion.
They call this HDO (High Definition Optics) and they are specifically designed for the serious sports person that demands the most accurate vision. Cool stuff.
I’m still waiting for a manufacturer to create a heads up display (HUD) in a pair of goggles. Still hasn’t happened yet to my knowledge, although I know that Oakley had made one for snowboarders in 2013.
Unfortunately they were full of problems and so I think the tech was discontinued.
What type of Goggles will you need?
When you are buying a pair of dirt bike goggles, you need to ask yourself a few questions first. I’ll go through each question below and explain why these questions are so important.
#1 Is it a sunny or overcast day?
The brightness of the sun will determine which type of lens to use. A clear lens on a sunny day is a nightmare for riding visibility and so are mirrored lenses on an overcast day.
In this case, I recommend 3 types of lenses with your purchase – Clear, tinted and mirrored.
This way you are able to try each one to see which type suits you the best on the day. I always have all 3 available on all rides.
#2 Will you be riding in a lot of shade?
Riding on shady tracks can be tricky. Shade can cover over over some nasty potholes or ruts in the track. In this case I would recommend orange tinted lenses.
These lenses are designed to reveal areas of the track that are covered by shade.
I would also recommend these types of lenses for riding on sand. To the naked eye, sand looks pretty flat and smooth under the suns glare until you hit a bump or dip that you didn’t see.
#3 Will you be riding in extreme cold, wet or humid?
If you will be riding in areas that are either extremely wet, cold or humid, you are going to have serious lens fogging issues.
As I mentioned previously, fogging is a straight up nightmare and can really fuck up a fun day out. In this case I recommend that you buy double lens goggles.
Double lense goggles have two lenses attached which are separated by a thin layer of foam around the perimeter of the lenses which creates an air buffer zone.
The outer lens is a standard lens while the inner lens is designed to absorb moisture.
With double lens dirt bike goggles, don’t touch the inner lens or get it wet as it is quite delicate and can damage easily.
#4 Will you be riding in mud?
Of course you will! There’s nothing better than hammering your dirt bike through mud until you and your dirt bike are completely recognizable. Happy days!
This means that you are going to need dirt bike goggles that can get rid of the mud from your lens so you can see where you are going. In this case, there are two options –
a. Roll off lenses.
These are my personal preference. Roll off lenses are a piece of plastic film that slides from right to left on top of the outer lens.
This plastic film is rolled into a canister that is fitted to the right side of the goggles.
When the roll is activated, the plastic gets pulled across the lenses and rolled into another canister on the left side. This removes the dirt from your vision and leaving you with a clean plastic film.
The film canister contains up to 24 feet of film so there is plenty available to keep your vision clear.
b. Tear off lenses.
Tear off lenses are a stack of thin plastic lenses that snap over the top of your main goggle lens in a tight stack.
All brands of dirt bike goggles are designed to fit tear off lenses. When things get too muddy, simply tear off a lens and your vision will be clear again.
With tear offs, you can buy refills in small or large stacks. They will let you clear your vision up to 28 times, depending on your needs.
Here is a great video that shows you how to use tear offs.
Personally, I don’t like tear off lenses. They are a great idea and they work really well but they are a bit of an environmental hazard.
Tear offs contain about as much plastic as a plastic grocery bag. Discarding them on the ground is bad for the environment.
Which brings me to my next point..
#5 Will you be riding in a motocross park?
Always call ahead to see if the motocross park allows tear offs. Some don’t allow them.
Why? because walking around a motocross park to clean up plastic tear offs is a royal pain in the ass.
#6 Will you be riding in a lot of fine dust or sand?
Dirt bike goggles contain a thick layer of ventilated foam that molds to your face. This creates a barrier between your face and the environment, keeping out the dirt.
This system can breakdown however, when there is really fine dust and sand involved.
Fine dust and sand can penetrate through the ventilation systems wreaking havoc on your vision.
If you are riding in these conditions, I recommend buying a pair of dirt bike goggles that are specially designed with finer filter systems and denser foam.
The Oakley O Frame Goggles are designed with denser foam to filter out the sand and fine dust while still allowing proper ventilation to your face.
#7 Do you wear prescription glasses?
If you wear prescription glasses do not fear! There are a couple of great options for you.
Some goggles can be made especially to fit your prescription glasses inside the goggles!
These goggles contain all the features of standard goggles but contain deeper frames that will fit your glasses inside.
The Oakley L Frame goggles are designed to fit prescription glasses under the goggle frame.
Scott Split OTG Works goggles are designed to fit prescription glasses and they are also fitted with a roll off system..
The second option is to have prescription lenses fitted to a pair of dirt bike goggles. I don’t know of anyone that has had these made personally but I only hear of good stories about this option.
If you are interested in this option, go to SportRX.com. Just send them your prescription and they will be able to fit a prescription lens to your favorite pair of goggles.
Just like your helmet, it’s important to keep your goggles clean to keep performance at optimum levels. There’s a couple of ways to achieve this.
Firstly, the best way to wash them is to throw them in the kitchen sink. Grab some mild soap and wash them by hand.
Avoid using any harsh chemicals. Normal washing up soap will do.
If you prefer to just throw them in the washing machine, I recommend that you pop out the lenses and place your goggles in a washing delicates bag first.
This will protect the foam and ventilation systems from being damaged in the spin cycle. This little trick will extend your goggles life by a wide margin.
After washing, keep your goggles in the pouch that you received with the goggles upon purchase. This pouch will protect them from dirt and moisture.
Travelling With Goggles
When you are travelling, place your goggles inside your helmet when in transit so your goggles don’t get crushed by luggage.
As another great option, Dirt bike goggle cases are great for travelling with multiple goggles that offer full protection against them getting crushed.
What Not to do With Goggles
I see this a lot on my rides. When riders stop to chat or grab a drink, they place their dirt bike goggles over the face guard of their helmet.
When you do this you are breathing your hot air on the inner lens. This quickly destroys the anti-fogging properties of the inner lens.
A better solution is to simply spin your goggles around so they are facing backward on your helmet when you are at rest.
This way the lenses are being protected by the helmet shell and they are not being damaged.
As with all quality gear. Look after your dirt bike goggles and they will look after you.
Pack the right type of goggles and lenses for the right riding conditions.
Take care of those inner lenses and make sure that you wash them after each ride and pouch them up safely.
Let me know what type of goggles are your favorite? What are some of the biggest problems you have with your goggles?
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