WIDE PERIPHERAL GOGGLE COMPARISON
Oakley Airbrake | Scott Prospect | Fox Vue | Leatt 6.5 | Velocity | 100% Armega
I took the five industry leading wide-peripheral goggles for a few months to see how they performed and what I thought of each of them. Not a shootout. Just a comparison.
Goggles are all the rage at the minute with companies, not usually known for their goggle prowess, stepping up with industry leading options. Shit, they had to, with the ever increasing number of goggle companies sprouting up like gorse across the Waikato. But what makes a good goggle and why? We have gathered up what you might call the industry leading brands of the new generation, wide-peripheral style goggles to see the pros and cons of each and what you might be looking for in a goggle.
We focused the evaluation five aspects; fitment in helmet, comfort, ease of lens change, foam absorption, cost. Using the newest helmet to hit the market in 2019 as the control helmet for the testing process, the new FOX V3 should (if they had any sense) have been designed to easily accommodate this new style of wide goggle from any goggle maker.
For some people, cost is going to be the determining factor above all else, which might eliminate one brand from their options. For others, heavy sweat absorption is paramount, while others might prioritise comfort as number one. Pick out what features you need for you from our testing and make your mind up about what goggles might be best suited for your face - then try some one with the helmet you use. Everyone will be different, but whatever you decide, just make sure you enjoy the ride.
Price for this goggle: $289.95
In The Box: Case, Bag, Laminate tear offs
When creating the Airbrake somewhere around 2013/14, Oakley threw everything anyone knew about goggles and went down a path of not really giving a damn about cost. They wanted to make the best goggle… period. What consumers got was the Airbrake. Oakley made their top google with all the bells and whistles a $290 goggle (other Airbrake models priced from $199), and that seemed overpriced and available to the elite on dream island somewhere. Who was going to pay that much for a single goggle? Turns out, a lot of people. Today, the wide peripheral vision goggle is where it is at, and that’s probably, in most part, thanks to Oakleys brave new design.
The Airbrake has the easiest lens changing system with the Switchlock setup. Two leavers with pins lock the lens in place while the lugs on the frame centre the lens. You don’t have to touch the inside of the lens either when you change them out which I think is a very important aspect.
Field of vision from the Airbrake is fantastic, even though it’s probably the smallest goggle width wise (similar to the Fox Vue). This aspect also helps the Airbrake fit into the control Fox V3 helmet extremely easily and form a great seal on my face with very little adjusting required to get it where I want it.
The only other goggle that comes close to the PRIZM lens technology is the 100% HD HiPER lens. But if I had to pick a winner it would be the Airbrake by a smidgen, then the Armega then the Fox Vue. They have had a few years to perfect that PRIZM tech and they have it pretty darn good. While the Airbrake is the best lens in the bunch, it is also the softest. The lenses drawback is its ability to scratch easily compared to all the other brands, especially the Scott Prospect. If you had to wipe off some gritty mud with your finger mid-moto you would notice it after. So keep a tear off on the lens to keep it tip top. But you should do that on all goggles anyway.
The ventilation on the Airbrake on a warm day is pretty good. You can feel air coming in from the vents and it does a really good job at collecting sweat from my face. Now full disclosure, I seem to be a heavy-ish sweater, so I did experience some dripping onto the lens. But this was an extreme case on a hot day putting in work. In fact, I encountered dripping on all the goggles eventually, it was just about how long it took. The lens also did fog up on a colder day of riding, when on technical tracks with minimal airflow.
The outriggers also come away from the frame, to be replaces with roll-off outriggers. That’s how you install a set for the super muddy days. It’s a bit fidgety but still cool. Yeah they are the most expensive, but if you want the clearest goggle vision, with possibly the best equal fit on your face, then this goggle is the one for you. The Airbrake is the pioneer and still probably the best in my opinion, so you do get what you pay for.
For when you want the best google with sharpest lens, and cost is not a factor.
Easy lens swap
Lens scratches easily
Price for this goggle: $179.90
In The Box: Bag
There are two aspects that make the Armega stand out. The ventilation and the lens quality. But let's first quickly skip over all the small stuff.
The fitment inside the V3 is snug. It uses all the room in the eye port but still manages a good seal around the face. Lens changing is a breeze with a clip system on each end and a few securing points around the frame. The clip system is the same principle as the Leatt goggle and the two actually look similar in some of the design points. The bottom of the lens has a bit of a ‘run-off’ area that mud can slide off the goggle without impediment from the frame. This is a cool feature that is also on the Leatt goggle. The Airbrake runs it’s lens near flush in an attempt to achieve the same outcome. If you said the two companies (Leatt & 100%) helped each other out along the way somewhere I could believe that. You don’t have to touch the inside of the lens to swap it out either which is great. It’s a large goggle and the view from wearing them is very wide, so field of vision is great also.
A bonded, dual-injected frame incorporates 100%’s sweat management system that collects sweat as you ride and forces it away from the lens through an integrated channel towards either side of the goggle. The Armega is probably the best anti fog goggle of the lot, with the two air ports on the front sending air through the frame and into the foam, which is perforated. There is a lot of air getting moved through which helps with fogging for sure. The channels worked well, but not enough to stop sweat from getting on the lens eventually. But I do sweat a lot don’t forget.
The Armega HiPER lens rocks the claim of being an Ultra HD lens. Whether or not you can turn everything you see in HD with a set of goggles is up to you. However, the reds, greens and blues really do pop when looking through this goggle lens. HD...probably not, but definitely enhanced and super clear. It is a shatterproof and impact resistant polycarbonate material and is very very close to being on-par with the Oakley Prizm lens. Though it beats the Oakley easily with its scratch resistance.
The Armega goggles are cheaper than both the Oakley and Fox goggle with plenty of benefits that should put them in that higher price bracket. Though they are a large goggle so fitment in helmets that are a size Medium and below could be an issue.
For when you are a little more cost conscience and want a lens that is as close to the Oakley as possible with great ventilation.
Good anti fog
Lens ‘run-off’ for mud
Very large frame
Price for this goggle: $169.90
In The Box: Bag, Spare clear lens
The Prospect is not an injection moulded lens, the only one in this group of five goggles. Though don’t hold that against it as the lens itself is nearly as thick as the Airbrake. Though as it is not injection moulded it does have a couple drawbacks compared to the others.
This is made clear during the lens changing process. The procedure for replacing a lens is popping out two locking pins at the top of the goggle and two at the bottom. The lens then easily comes out. Getting it back in again requires getting the lens back into the grooves and touching the inside of the lens. It's by no means difficult and I got the job done in about 30-40 seconds. You don’t have to locate 10 different groves with little nubbs all around the goggle like other goggles, so it's really not hard. But when you’re up against the likes of the Fox Vue and Airbrake, it just makes it annoying.
The only other issue that was minor is how the foam around the nose is designed to accommodate those with a larger snozz, or more technically, relieve pressure from the nose. There is a bit of gap with my nose not being huge, so I needed to tighten the strap a little to get a good seal around the face. After that it was no problem really.
The view from inside is as good as any of the goggles - very wide and unrestrictive all around. The Prospect is very comfortable and light and the outriggers rotate to help sit the goggle into the face. If you have a short face that sits more inside the helmet the rotating outriggers will allow the Prospect to enter further into the helmet eye port. This is the only goggle with outriggers that rotate so chances are that this goggle will fit a wider range of faces and face depths.
The lens itself is pretty clear, but obviously not as crystal as all the other injection moulded lens. Though the benefits here is its scratch resistance beats out all the other goggles by far. So you have to decide do you want an ultra clear lens that can scratch easy or a pretty clear lens that can take a beating. Could be a motocross vs enduro scenario.
The Prospect also did an above average job of keeping sweat off the lens for the longest, which was surprising because the foam isn’t as thick as the other goggles. And being the cheapest goggle has its benefits too.
For when you want a goggle that is light, with a lens that won’t scratch easily.
Good anti scratch
Vision distorts quickest when adding tear-offs
Price for this goggle: $239.90
In The Box: Bag, Tear offs
When you have the likes of Ken Roczen help you develop googles that will be the flagship of your range, chances are that you are going to produce something that will be pretty good. The Fox Vue is only a couple of years old now but what it lacks in experience, it makes up for with features.
Outriggers are all the rage in the world of wide peripheral goggles, and the Vue makes use of those in a number of ways. The first and obvious way is to help with goggle fitment, using the outriggers to get a great seal onto the face. This is what all the other brands use them for too. But what is different with the Vue is they double as the lens locking mechanism for removal and installation. Pretty good idea. The rotate and remove system is so good, it’s only beaten out by a hair width by the Airbrake.
What Fox maybe did not take into account is the fact that they created the first super easy accessoriz-able google. You can pull the strap off the Vue and put in on a different set of Vue goggles to mix and match your frames with different straps and gear colours. Sure it’s not a practical design feature but it is worth mentioning. The same can be done with the Airbrake but its more difficult.
It is very similar to the Airbrake in its overall design and fits on the face very similar to the Airbrake too. It’s the only goggle in the group with no nose guard but I don’t see that as a draw back. That made it kinda easy to get into the helmet. The view from inside is also like the Airbrake. Nice and wide with very little to distract your from the track ahead.
From a quick glance, the goggle looks very simple without much going on. But using what Fox call their 360 venting makes for a goggle that is damn hard to fog up. I would put it on par with the Scott Prospect in ventilation and fogging. Getting the sweat away from my face and away from the lens was again better than the Airbrake and maybe on par with the Armega. The lens itself is crystal clear, only matched by the Oakley (best lens in the group) and slightly by the Armega too as the HiPER lens makes the colours really pop.
This goggle fitted my face the best of them all by a fraction. Now before you think that was because I was using a Fox helmet too, I also tried them all inside a Bell and Shoei helmet with the same results. At over $200, it is still cheaper than the Airbrake but a bit more than the rest of them.
For when you don’t want to pay the cost of an Oakley but want the same comfort and feel.
Ease of lens change
No lens ‘run off’ for mud
Leatt 6.5 Velocity
Price for this goggle: $169.00
In The Box: Bag, Tear offs
The Leatt 6.5 Velocity is the first incarnation of the companies jump into the eye protection market. And they started off guns a blazing. It is very similar to the Armega is its visual dimensions and lens locking system, but that is basically where the similarities end. The injection moulded lens is by far the thickest of all the goggles here, while also being the only goggle with a dual pane system too. This is where there is an outer lens, and an inner lens, held together with a thin layer of foam around the outside. This is usually found of goggles that are designed for say desert or endurance riding and helps prevent fogging.
The lens itself has been branded by Leatt as Bulletproof to some ballistics bullet standard, which is great if you are racing through the bush and come across a tree branch.These should be the safest lenses of the lot when it comes to protecting your eyes from an impact. Though proving this is something we are going to steer clear of.
The removal of the lens uses the outriggers as levers that snap in and hold the lens. A cool feature that also makes these outriggers super simple to replace using a screw system. What I don’t like about the lens changing is that you have to push the lens from inside to get it to pop off. That leaves fingerprints on the inside which is annoying. It does have a run off like the Armega on the front of the lens for mud which is handy.
Looking through the goggle it gives the same vision as the Armega and is nonrestrictive from left to right and top to bottom. The fitment on the face is comfortable, though it also has a small nose/foam alignment that looks like it would accommodate the large nosed rider. Not as significant as the Prospect but still there. The frame is very rigid, but the face plate that holds the foam, which is separate is nice and soft, helping the foam mould to your face
With the lens being dual pane, it was basically impossible to fog up, so that’s a cool feature that is standard on all the lenses. The moisture wicking was pretty good too, but slightly behind the Armega and Prospect.
The last gripe is with the tear-offs and how the posts on the lens have a large square foot on them, not allowing the tear offs the ability to sit flush with the lens. Meaning mud and debris can get under the tear offs. Not sure what the idea around this design was but it could be better.
Safety was paramount when designing these goggles, as is everything that Leatt creates. If that's all you are about then the Velocity, with its bulletproof lens might be your number one option. This could be a bush/hard enduro riders choice. Though like the Armega, they are a large goggle so smaller helmets could have fitment issues.
For when you want the maximum protection possible for your eyes from your lens.
Dual pane super-strong lens
Goggle parts easily replaceable
Touching the inside of the lens during changing
Tear offs don’t sit flat
The truth is that all these goggles are pretty damn good. You just have to decide on what your price range is and what is important to you when it comes to goggles. Just a bit of a be careful note about these wide- peripheral goggles. They don’t fit in a lot of helmets. Mainly when you start getting into the sizing of Medium and below. So try before you buy, because once you get roosted in them, there is no backsies.