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How to select the right goggle & lens

Bryan Bosch

Goggles are a crucial accessory in any off-roader’s gear bag. They can be the difference between a comfortable ride and a dirt-in-the-watering-eyessunburned-face miserable experience. It is important, however, to properly select a goggle that best suits one’s riding tendencies and locations. There are so many types of riding, as well as many different riding conditions, and the proper goggle (and lens) can make all the difference. Every goggle should have these core features:

  • Quality hydrophilic foam
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Silicone-lined strap
  • Venting
  • Polycarbonate lens

The aforementioned features are vital to the performance of the goggle, but it is also very important that the goggle fits the riding application, face, and helmet. The better a goggle fits inside the opening of a helmet, the easier it is to create a nice seal of foam around the eyes. When choosing a goggle, have your helmet close by. A goggle may fit nicely around your face alone, but it may fit completely different with the helmet on, or even the opposite. Sometimes a goggle can compliment a helmet by naturally fitting inside the opening and creating a seamless connection of goggle and helmet. With your helmet on, try different goggles on, making sure the strap is even and straight around the sides and rear of the helmet. Grab the sides of the goggle frame and adjust the fit inside of the helmet opening, doing your best to seal the foam around your face. Make sure the goggle does not press down too much against your nose; for this can limit your breathing through the nostrils.

Once you have found a frame that matches well with your face and helmet, it is time to choose the best lenses for you style of riding.

Every off-road enthusiast should have a clear anti-fog lens. They can be used in all conditions and perform the primary function of goggles---protection. As conditions vary, and can potentially hinder vision, different lenses can be used to compensate. The following breaks down a variety of lenses offered by Scott, including their tint and ideal application.


In addition to standard lenses, thermal models are also available for cold conditions. Offered by Scott in a variety of tints, these dual-paned lenses work under the same principle as a home’s storm windows. The insulating airspace between the two lenses reduces the temperature gradient between the outside environment and the eye port. This drastically reduces fogging in harsh conditions.

For a lot of riders, motocross and off-roading are more than just a hobby. For some, it is about racing, competing, winning, and advancing. For those riders, more advanced goggles and accessories are available to help provide an edge over the competition. Goggles equipped with multi layered face foam, tear-off posts, and attachments such as noseguards and ventilation visors used along with tear-offs and film systems are the best tools to battle roost, mud, rain, and sweat.

Tear-offs: stacks of thin, clear shields that cover the original lens. When the top layer gets covered with mud or moisture, the rider can tear off the top layer, revealing a fresh, clean layer, and thus providing a clear view. Film Systems: An alternative to tear-offs (or used in conjunction with) is a film system. Using the same idea of a camera, a film strip is stretched across a goggle lens with canisters on either end. As the goggle gets covered with mud, etc the film can be advanced to reveal a clean section and a clear view through the goggle. In the most extreme cases, film systems and tear-offs may be used in one system, such as the Scott WORKS Systems available on NoSweatXi and HiVoltageIII goggles.

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Great info! I've been running a 'regular', non adv style helmet for years with simple sunglass style goggles (with foam seals) for years. I keep thinking on changing to a helmet with a visor that is designed for goggles but just love my Shoei. Any advantage you goggle users can see over sunglass style goggles?

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