Whether you’re a hardcore biker — or just want to look like one — motorcycle goggles protect your eyes from the sun, dust, dirt, and insects that share your open road. (Not to mention, they instantly transform you into the baddest dude or dudette on two wheels.) In truth, motorcycle goggles are essential equipment for any serious rider’s comfort, safety, and performance. If you prefer a shorty helmet or an open-faced helmet, you’ll want a great pair of goggles to counteract high winds, bugs, and debris thrown up from vehicles in front of you.
The best goggles fit snugly to stay in place at high speeds — speeds regular sunglasses can’t take. While cool-looking sport glasses may work fine for in-town driving at low speeds, any highway travel or high-speed routes require specialized eye protection. Motocross-, sport bike-, and ATV-riders should consider motorcyle goggles for eye safety as well.
For prescription eyeglass wearers, some goggles are styled to fit over your glasses. Or, you can buy goggles with prescription inserts.
Goggle Features to Consider
Just as goggles are available in different styles, they also come with different features. Bikers should choose features that best match their riding habits and their local road conditions.
Popular features include:
- Shatter- and scratch-resistant coating for impact protection and durability. Scratch-resistant coating helps protect lenses from everyday handling, as well as dust and dirt from the road. Even hard-shelled insects can scratch your goggles. To avoid scratching your own lenses, make sure you properly clean your lenses with a microfiber pouch/cloth or lens cleaning towelettes.
- Anti-fog coating for difficult weather conditions. Goggles fog if they don’t have either anti-fog coating or adequate ventilation. Ventilation systems are simply airways that let air flow in and out from behind your goggles, allowing your eyes to breathe and letting heat escape. Anti-fog lenses help you avoid a major safety hazard, and a snug fit will support your goggle’s ventilation system.
- Curved lenses for optimum peripheral vision. While some wrap around goggles are two lenses connected over the nose, others have one lens that spans both eyes. Whichever you prefer, good peripheral vision is vital to your safety.
- Ultra-violet protection from the entire UV range. Long exposure to UV rays damage your eyes and cause fatigue, something you never want to experience while riding your bike. Goggles with polycarbonate lenses provide 99.99% UVA/UVB protection.
- Flexible frames and adjustable straps for a customized fit.
- Polycarbonate lenses for ultimate durability and protection. Goggles with polycarbonate lenses are shatterproof, which is imperative when it comes to motorcycle safety. If you skid or get into an accident with your bike, goggles with polycarbonate lenses will help protect you from eye injury.
- Various lens colors for any time of day or night. Clear, tinted, and interchangeable lenses let you see safely no matter when you’re on the road. During the day, a tinted lens will block out bright sunlight, while mirror coatings and polarization reduce glare and enhance visual acuity. At night, clear lenses let your eyes take in as much natural and artificial light as possible for greatest safety.
Most ardent bikers own several pairs of goggles to match different riding conditions, because they know one indisputable fact: motorcycle goggles are much more than fashion accessories. Instead, they’re essential for safe riding. For a relatively small investment, motorcycle goggles provide critical protection against the eye hazards every rider encounters at one time or another while out enjoying the road.