Melon Optics Diablo Goggles Review
Words by Robert Johnston & Drew Rohde | Photos by Matt Morris & Drew Rohde
Melon Optics has established quite the presence in the mountain biking community recently, with more and more riders being spotted on the trails sporting their fully customizable mountain bike goggles. The brand began in 2013 with the release of Snow goggles and casual sunglasses and has since grown to include dedicated motocross and mountain bike goggles in their lineup. Melon Optics operates from an online web store, which provides buyers with the option to choose from a selection of different designs for each element of their eyewear, from plain black through to eye-burning bright colors. Without a doubt the coolest thing about Melon Optics offerings is their ability to customize your eyewear at an affordable price.
The recently released Melon Optics Diablo goggle is the second generation of dirt-based eyewear from the brand, taking the good parts of their well established Parker goggle and adding in a single piece outrigger and removable nose-guard. The goggles feature their Switch Fast strap system, which allows the strap to be swapped in a matter of seconds. Melon also uses a 360-degree venting system and triple-layer face foam. The lenses are available in clear, smoke, and four mirrored colors; and provide 100% UV protection with anti-fog and anti-scratch treatments. They don’t feature any unique optical tech beyond this, á la Oakleys’ Prizm or Smiths’ Chromapop, which allows Melon to keep the price down at a reasonable £60/$74 with a mirrored lens.
Melon allowed us to build our own goggles as if we were purchasing a set of our own. You have the option to select your preference of color and style for the frame, outrigger, lens and strap independently, fine-tuning your style and allowing for a serious amount of kit matching if you desire. We built and personalized three sets of goggles in total and they all showed up looking just like we imagined.
After pulling the goggles out of the box for the first time, it’s clear that Melon has developed a clean product – no signs of stray foam or adhesive showing here. The outrigger allows the goggle to conform to the contours of your face. One thing we noticed was how flimsy the frames of the goggles are. If you’ve every taken a goggle and tried to twist it like a pretzel, you’ll know what we mean. Goggles from Oakley and Leatt are stiff, and offer a sense of facial protection, but can sometimes be uncomfortable on certain face-types. These are flexible and conform nicely, but do leave us wondering what a face full of rocks would do.
Melon uses an ultra-soft outermost layer of foam that caresses your cheeks. It’s almost a velvety sort of texture, and although it gets warm and stays wet if you sweat a lot, it looks and feels nice.
There’s plenty of range on the strap to fit near enough any size of helmet, though the strap did stretch a small amount over the test period as we had them cranked up super tight – this isn’t a major concern though since the straps are easily replaceable. The removable nose guard pops on and off with a good ‘snap’, and adds some aggression to the look of the goggles in addition to providing roost and sun protection.
The clear lens is optically correct as far as my eyes can tell, and the view is as wide as they come. We did have some trouble with the mirrored lenses however and would not suggest using them, despite their cool looks. After a first run with some less-than-desirable depth perception we reached out to Melon and found out that we had received goggles from a batch that they discovered had a small flaw, although they said nobody else had reached out yet.
We were sent some replacement mirrored lenses and although they were a bit better, still had some lateral chromatic aberration. The problem isn’t too bad in lower light, but when riding in bright, sunny days with grasses or rocks that are similar in color to the dirt, we had a very hard time focusing and getting a good read on depth. If you primarily ride with clear lenses, then this won’t be an issue for you.
When up to speed, the ventilation on the goggles does the trick, combining with the anti-fog coating to leave the goggles clear and free in a majority of conditions. We did have some fogging on slower climbs but this cleared as soon as the speed picked back up. The ultra-cushy outer layer traps and holds moisture, which is great for preventing any stray sweat from finding its way into your eyes. This does, however, mean if you get the goggles damp and take them off, then putting them back on gives your face a cold and wet welcome. These are certainly not the only brand of goggles this has happened with, but it seems that the ultra-soft fabric absorbs more sweat than others.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Melon’s second offering to the mountain bike world takes another step up the quality ladder, but still aren’t on par with performance optics from brands like Scott, Leatt, or Oakley. For example, Leatt’s 4.5 goggles offer better optical performance and a safer feel and cost just $49, but you can’t build your own. Melon’s customization process is bar-none the best out there and makes goggle shopping more fun that it already is! On top of that they do it at an affordable price point. The downside to that price point comes somewhere and sadly, we’d have to say it comes from the flexy frame and lower quality lenses. If customization and looks are most important to you, these are a solid choice for mountain bikers looking to add some extra style to their kit. We still love how cool our goggles look.
Wide Field of View
Chromatic Aberration in Mirrored Lenses
Can Fog on Climbs
Face Foam Holds Moisture
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