How to Choose a GREAT pair of MOTORCYCLE GOGGLES

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Easy Rider?   Wild Hogs?   Ghost Rider?   Terminator 2?

What kind of look are you going for?

As a motorcycle rider you will spend money not only on your bike, but the essential accessories: helmet,   boots, gloves, leathers, jacket and goggles. If you use a full-coverage helmet with a full-face shield you may not need goggles.  But if you prefer an open-faced helmet or a short helmet, then you need to buy riding glasses or goggles.

The amount you spend on your goggles will depend on the make and model. Some brands are more expensive than others. Every model has certain features and the number of features will help determine the price.

Shop around for the best price because you can find goggles at many retail stores, on the Internet, and even at your local dealer.

In addition to the price, which can range from $15 to $200 for all purpose goggles, you will want to shop for a good fit and helpful features. Comfort and safety is important when you are out there enjoying your ride.

Needless to say, Cycle Stables offers great goggles in our  our online eBay store.

Your choice of motorcycle goggles will be a combination of safety, comfort, style, and the “look” you want when riding.  However, hidden amidst the mystique are some pretty simple concepts:

1.    SAFETY
You want something to protect your eyes that is specifically designed for the environment and conditions that you will experience while riding.

Your enemies are wind, dust, sand, rain, bugs and even the sun.  Keeping your eyes protected is absolutely critical when riding.  It is not like a car, where you can take one hand and clear your eyes while trying to just stay on the road.  (I know. Some of you use BOTH hands to eat or text message and drive with your knees.  This doesn’t work on a bike.)

If your eyes get screwed up, you have to stop. Period.

If you are riding on longer rides or driving at higher speeds you will require goggles that prevent the wind from getting around and behind the goggles and drying out your eyes.  If your ride includes a lot of in-town driving with traffic and stop lights, then you’ll want goggles that permit more air flow in order to minimize fogging and perspiration around your eyes.

And NOW…. More then you ever wanted to know about the choice of LENSES!

Polycarbonate Lenses
Polycarbonate plastic is a remarkably light, yet strong composite material that is designed to absorb high-energy impacts and protect your eyes from flying objects. Polycarbonate lenses are lighter and more scratch-resistant than glass lenses, and they also offer built-in UV protection.

Polycarbonate is virtually indestructible, and it is used exclusively by many of the world's finest sports glasses manufacturers. It is thinner, lighter, and stronger than glass. Polycarbonate naturally blocks almost all of the sun's harmful UV rays.

The strength of polycarbonate is partially derived from its flexibility. It is not brittle and will not shatter. This strength also contributes to its main weakness. Because polycarbonate is so flexible, it is also easily scratched. New lens coatings and hardeners have significantly improved polycarbonate's durability, but choosing a polycarbonate lens still requires an informed consumer. Quality lens treatments match the refractive index of the lens material and allow light to pass directly through. If light passes through the lens coating and the lens at two different speeds, vision will be blurred.

ANSI Approved Safety Glasses
ANSI Approved Safety Glasses have been subjected to numerous tests to ensure that they will protect your eyes, even under the most extreme circumstances. Motorcycle safety glasses are not only great for riding, but they are ideal for law-enforcement, military, construction, laboratory, or industrial usage as well.

UV Protection
Ultraviolet treatments provide your eyes with protection from the Sun's harmful UV rays. Overexposure to ultraviolet light is believed to be the culprit responsible for causing cataracts, and other severe eye problems.

Scratch Resistant Coating
Although no lens is scratch-proof, a hard, scratch-resistant clearcoat is applied to many sunglasses and goggles. This clearcoat helps to provide additional protection for the lens against light nicks and scratches that might otherwise appear under normal use.  The best way to clean goggle lenses is to use a micro-fiber cloth.  Many goggles come with a cloth or a pouch that doubles for storage AND cleaning.

Anti-Fog Treatment
Many sunglasses and goggles have an Anti-Fog coating applied, which helps to reduce fogging and keep your lenses clear while you ride. This semi-permanent coating may be maintained through the use of commercial anti-fogging products.  An additional helpful feature found on some goggles is “double-sided” anti-fogging, which is great for avoiding fogged lenses in varying temperature extremes.

Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses are the most effective way to cut glare and get a clean, crisp view of the road.  Polarization is not a lens coating.  It is a series of crystals sandwiched inside the lens that blocks scattered light from reaching your eye.  Sources of glare most often include sunlight reflected from wet roads or glass buildings, windshields, and of course direct sunlight.  There are, however, some reasons NOT to get polarized lenses.  Some LED instrumentation is not visible through a polarized lens.  Polarized lenses can also cause distortion when worn under some full-faced helmets.  Also, polarized lenses are more expensive than traditional lenses. 

Still Riveted??  …. Here is more info …on LENSE COLOR!

The object of your lenses is to maximize clarity and contrast.

Here are some helpful hints on what to choose:

Tint Hint    The darker the tint, the more light it absorbs.

Amber and Orange    Reduces blue light (a chief component of glare), increases contrast, brightens and enhances detail. 

Brown    Cuts glare and works well in variable light conditions. It also provides excellent contrast.  Because it is darker, it minimizes eye strain and is good for motorcyclists.

Clear    Sort of self-explanatory. Useful in low-light conditions. No UV protection. Best for rain and night driving.

Clear-Mirrored    A clear lens with a flash mirror coating that provides a one-way mirror for "private eyes" They're cool! Popular for bright and low-light conditions. Cleared mirrored lenses offer all of the advantages of clear lenses such as no color distortion and a clear field of vision. In addition they offer the extra advantage that they reflect some of the light/glare of on-coming headlights.

Copper    Varying shades of copper can provide the best contrast, and copper will always sharpen colors like reds and greens.

Flash Mirrored    A smoked lens with a partial mirror coating.

Gradient    A lens that is darkest at the top and gradually becomes lighter

Gray    Best choice for maintaining true color.  Keeps color distortion to a minimum.  Also reduces glare.

Green    Enhances contrast in low light conditions and will reduce eyestrain in bright conditions for greatest visual detail. Best general purpose lens.

Mirrored    Smoked lens with a silver mirror coating

Rose    Offers high contrast and is very soothing to the eyes while still providing excellent light and glare protection. Works well in all daytime light conditions.

Smoked    Distinctive gray tint decreases sunlight without distorting colors.

Transitional    Can be worn in low light or sunlight conditions.  The lenses automatically adjust to the amount of ultraviolet light.

Yellow tint    Increases depth perception.  Ideal for overcast, hazy or foggy days.  Also great for dusk or early dawn riding. Light rust lenses also work well. Cuts glare and improves contrast.

Yellow Tint Mirrored    The advantages of yellow tint with a partial mirror coating.

The best goggles will provide a snug fit. Particularly if you ride with no windshield, your face will bear the brunt of the wind force. Often this can cause a vibration in loose fitting goggles, which blurs your vision and can make reading road signs a challenge.  A snug fit will keep the goggles in place while protecting your eyes from insects and dust and other evils.

If your goggles are vented – a good choice for warm days or temperature extremes (fogging), a snug fit also supports the ventilation system.

So what if you happen to wear glasses?  Many riders who wear contacts still choose to wear their glasses because they find that the wind and other irritants are a problem.  But even if you wear glasses, you will still need some kind of goggle protection.

The sunglasses that you see all of the “cool” motorcyclists wear are usually very tight-fitting or they even have rubber or foam seals to keep out wind and dust.  Your normal vision glasses will definitely not be enough for riding a motorcycle.

There are basically 3 options:
a)    Get lasik surgery so don’t need glasses any longer.  You can now be officially cool.
b)    Find goggles to fit over your eyeglasses.
c)    Pay for prescription goggles.

Not all goggles will fit over your eyeglasses. If you wear prescription eyeglasses then you will want goggles that are big enough to sit over your glasses. There are a number of good styles out there and Cycle Stables offers them in our auctions and store.

Another option for you to consider, if you wear prescription eyeglasses, is prescription goggles. Many styles are available with prescription lenses. Unfortunately these can be very expensive and your ability to experiment with different lenses and colors are limited. (Unless you have some crazy insane budget/time to work with.)

One of the best features you can find in motorcycle goggles is the interchangeable lenses. During the day, a tinted lens will help you see by blocking out the bright sun.

But at night, your eyes need to take in all the artificial and natural (moonlight) lighting they can to help you see. Pop in your clear lenses once the sun sets and you have regular night vision.

The final part of the comfort section is about fit: make sure your goggles are easily adjustable.  Most manufacturers use an elastic strap with an adjustable slide.  They still make the retro kind with the double eyepieces and tie-on head strap, however, so if you are into looking …um.. retro…and fumbling with your gloves and tie string, then this is for you!

Cleaning Lenses:

Wash lenses daily with a mild soap and warm water to remove dirt and oil and avoid buildup.

•    Dry lenses with a lens cloth or non-abrasive cotton. Avoid using paper towels, facial tissue or camera lens cleaning paper.
•    Buy an eyewear lens cleaning cloth and lens cleaner to remove fingerprints, dirt buildup and smudges that are difficult to remove with soap and water.
•    Hold the glasses firmly by the frame with one hand, while gently buffing the lens in a circular motion with the other.
•    Be sure to wash your cleaning cloth weekly with a mild, non-abrasive soap. Do not use fabric softener when washing or drying the cloth.

3.    STYLE and “LOOK”
Almost as important as the safety and comfort features are the way your goggles look, right?
Some of you prefer the “Eddie the Birdman” look, while others want to emulate John Travolta from “Wild Hogs”.

You can choose from a wide variety of lens and frame colors.  Some very high quality goggles are relatively inexpensive, so you can experiment with purchasing a few options!

Try this:

a)    Always have a clear lenses for night or impaired visibility driving.
b)    Get a pair of mirrored lenses and keep them guessing.
c)    Try rose tinted lenses – they’re different and you look smarter.
d)    Buy colored frames.  Find something that matches your bike color!
e)    Find a frame color that matches your bandana – or hair! (If you still have some)

As always – ride safely, stay alert, and keep your vision clear and sharp.

Cycle Stables offers great GLOBAL VISION goggles our online eBay store.
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