The Ultimate Guide to Dirt Bike Goggles

The Ultimate Guide to Dirt Bike Goggles main image

Motocross goggles are a must-have piece of protective equipment for dirt bike riders, and if you've browsed our range, then you'll know there's an endless amount of designs, colours, brands and even prices to choose. So how do you choose the right dirt bike goggles for you? We cover all the bases in this ultimate guide.

What are the main differences between entry-level and premium dirt bike goggles?
Motocross and enduro goggles widely range in prices, with some entry-level offerings, like the Fly Racing Focus, starting at $36.95, while a selection of premium offerings, such as the Oakley Airbrake, go for $279.95. There's a substantial difference in price between the two, but there's also a major difference in design and comfort.

Majority of entry-level goggles, which are usually under the $60 mark, are a bare-basic goggle - they generally have a basic frame, clear lens, two-layer face foam, lower field of view, and the strap attaches right onto the goggle frame itself.

Premium motocross goggles feature big differences in design - most will utilise an 'outrigger' construction, which you'll see on the Scott Prospect, and that means the strap is attached to 'outriggers' which are then attached to goggle frame. This ensures the goggle has the perfect fit and placement on a rider's face, and isn't hindered by the helmet.

Top-end goggles will have the most advanced face foam, and this generally comes in the form of triple-layer foam with moisture-wicking features. Internally, the frame is matte black, or a dark colour, which reduces glare, and the frame and lens combination is designed to give you the maximum amount of peripheral vision. 

The other key factor is that premium goggles are designed to seamlessly integrate with the manufacturers' premium roll-off system, which is essential for any motocross or enduro racer, while the lens that is fitted as standard usually offers greater eye protection in the way of a stronger and more robust lens.

What do the different types of lenses do?
There are many different types of lenses in dirt bike goggles, although the most common are clear and tinted lenses - the latter often coming in a 'mirror' effect on the front. Majority of goggles will some sort of anti-fog properties, although some brands offer a dual-lens that provides superior ventilation and fog prevention, which is ideal for riders who are spending significant time on the bike without removing their goggles. 

Other lens types include a yellow or amber lens that helps your vision in the low-light scenarios, such as riding at dusk or dawn, or during low-light events like a local arenacross or night enduro. 

The latest advancement is a light-sensitive lens, and most brands offer this on their premium goggle. Light sensitive lenses, including the Oakley Prizm, come in many different varieties and have their own unique characteristics, however the main benefit of them is they filter light - they cut down glare, while they brighten up shadows. This makes them perfect for riding tracks or trails where there the light conditions are constantly changing. 

What are tear-offs? 
Goggle tear-offs are used by motocross riders to clear their vision after getting covered in roost during a race - they're essentially a thin plastic sheet that covers the goggle, and riders simply tear them off for clear vision. Riders will stack anywhere from just one tear-off all the way through to 24 tear-offs, depending on how long they're racing for and what conditions they're racing in. 

Tear-offs come in a standard, individual version, or as a laminated stack. The laminated stack is a pack of tear-offs that are stuck together (yet easily removed!), this prevents water or dirt getting between each tear-off, while vision is greatly improved, especially if you're stacking multiple packs of tear-offs. 

In recent years, Motorcycling Australia has moved to ban tear-offs unless tracks seek an exemption, which has prompted many riders to switch to a roll-off system. Tear-offs can still be used at tracks that have an exemption.

How do roll-offs work? 
Roll-offs are a system that you fit your goggles that allow you to continually have clear vision until the roll of film runs out. There are two canisters at either end of the goggles - one is the clean side where the fresh film sits on the right, while the other side is where the 'dirty' film goes and sits alongside a pull system. 

The film, usually around 40mm, goes across the goggles in line with your eyes, and is activated by pulling the string on the left-hand side. Once pulled, which you may have to do twice to get the full width of your goggles, you'll have a clean strip of vision.

How do I install tear-offs?
Installing tear-offs only involves a couple of steps, and it starts with ensuring your goggles are clean and that there is no sand or moisture on the lens. 

Step 1: Placing your tear-off on the goggles
The first step to installing a tear-off is a case of aligning the holes in the tear-off with the tear-off posts on the goggles, and then simply pushing the tear-off so it sits on the lens. Ensure the pulling tab of the tear-off is on the left-hand side. Following that, most goggles will have an additional post on the outrigger or on the strap, which the tear-off should also press onto.

Step 2: Stacking multiple tear-offs
When you're stacking multiple tear-offs, you'll need to do the same process as above, however with each tear-off you put on, you'll need to fold back the pulling tab and lock it onto either the post on the lens or outrigger with the above tear-off. This needs to happen before each tear-off goes on. 

If you're using laminated tear-offs, the whole stack can be pushed onto the tear-off posts, although the pulling tabs will still need to be folded and locked in by the above tear-off on the outrigger or strap post for each one you have on.

How do I prepare roll-offs?
Preparing your motocross goggles roll-off system to go riding and racing is a fairly simple process, and taking the extra steps will ensure you have a clear lens and don’t run into dramas while out on the track or trail.

Step 1: Preparation
First things first - make sure your MX goggles and the roll-off system are clean. This is incredibly important - any dirt or debris that makes its way past the helmet visor into the roll-off system is bound to cause failure, and that’s why starting with a clean set is crucial.

Ensure the goggles, lens and roll-off system have been cleaned thoroughly before you ride your dirt bike, and also ensure they’re all dry.

Step 2: Assembly
The next step is assembling the roll-off system - if your goggle set is clean, then you would’ve likely taken the roll-off system from the goggle itself. If you didn’t have to, then you can skip this step.
Once you assemble and install the system (or the side canisters), doublecheck no dirt has made its way inside. The best practice is to blow into the canisters with either your mouth or an air compressor.

Step 3: Installing the roll
Next up is installing the roll. If it’s a brand-new roll of film, it will already have sticky-tab that you can attach to the ‘dirty’ roll on the other side. If the roll you last used has plenty of roll film left, simply cut it where it’s clean and use tape to stick it to the dirty side.
Once you’ve attached the film to the ‘dirty’ roll, lock it in place.

Step 4: Installing the mud-flap
If it’s a brand-new roll-off set, you’ll need to install the mud-flap. This is a super simple process, where all you need to do is line up the mud-flap on the top of the lens where it meets the goggle frame, and simply apply it.
Once you’ve completed that, or if your mud-flap is already installed, make sure the film sits nicely underneath.

Step 5: Finishing up
The last step involves putting each canister cover on and then testing the system.
Pull the roll-off string a number of times, ensure it retracts easily and that the film scrolls across nicely without getting crinkled or caught on anything. If it’s not working correctly, try the process again.
If it works flawlessly, you’re ready to ride!

How do I clean my motocross goggles?

The best way to clean off-road goggles is to remove your lens and roll-off system from the goggle frame, and then place the goggle inside a laundry garment bag and put it in the wash with your riding gear. This ensures your goggles will come up like new, and by putting them in the laundry garment bag, they won't get damaged in the process. 

To clean the lens and roll-offs system, use a soapy water mix and a microfibre rag to scrub off any dirt - this will prevent any scratches on the lens.

How do I know if my goggles will fit my helmet?
Most modern dirt bike goggles and helmets are designed to seamlessly fit and accommodate each other, however there are potential circumstances where they won't. It's always recommended that if you have a youth helmet, that you use youth goggles, and if you have an adult helmet, you use adult goggles. This will prevent the possibility of a pair of goggles being too big or small for your helmet.

How do I store and transport my goggles?
The best way to store and transport your goggles is by using a goggle bag. Goggle bags are quite affordable and a must-have for anyone with more than one set of goggles. They generally have slots for up to five or six goggles, and there are a number of compartments to fit your tear-offs, roll-offs, and spare lenses. Not only that, but they protect your goggles from getting damaged in transit, and they perfectly inside your motocross gear bag.


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