OAKLEY AIRBRAKE MTB GOGGLE
Words by Drew Rohde & Nic “U-Turn” Hall | Photos by Drew Rohde & Sourpatch
It’s hard to think about performance eyewear and not think about Oakley. They’ve been around forever and have some of the best optics in the business, of course they also have the price tag that lets you know, they’re proud of that. The Airbrake goggles have been some of our favorites for a couple years now, and with the introduction of new technology, like Prizm, found in their Prizm Low Light glasses we reviewed last year, we’re always excited to get new Oakley products in the mail. We’ve been riding the Airbrake MX goggles on our dirt bikes and DH bikes for a while and are happy to have the new Oakley Airbrake MTB google to join the lineup. We have been wearing these goggles for months now and are happy to report on the Airbrake MTB and the differences between this and the Airbrake MX google.
Most goggles were first developed for motocross applications, which has some similarities to mountain biking, but also has some major differences that can hinder a product’s effectiveness in either application. Dirt biking is a cardio activity, and riders sweat a ton, however speeds are often much higher than those achieved on mountain bikes. Combine that with the occasional climb and frequent stops and you’ve got a serious difference in air flow that will lead to foggy lenses and “Oh shit” moments.
Air flow and moisture management were some of the main factors that took Oakley to the drawing board when it came time to develop an Airbrake worthy of their mountain bike athletes. In an effort to increase air flow at lower speeds, Oakley eliminated the foam barrier between the goggle and lens, replacing it with a micro screen called the Factory Lite Vent mesh. It is small enough to prevent mud and debris from entering the goggle, but allows enough air movement to prevent fog or moisture build up.
The lens is attached with a Oakley’s quick release system, which offers very quick lens swaps with the push of two bright red tabs. Speaking of the lens, the model we tested came with the Prizm low light, which offers 75% light transmission while increasing contrast between colors. There are many other lenses available and we experimented with quite a few during our test period. The strap has three large silicone grip strips and the attachment points are offset from the frame.