VIRIS BRAND ONYX GOGGLE REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Product photos by Adam Lievesley
Action photos by Ben Gerrish
Viris Brand is a relatively new company to the mountain bike world, hitting the market in 2018 with their first goggle offering. For 2022 they released their next generation of performance goggles – the ONYX – taking what they had learned from their previous goggles and their riding glasses to offer the best performance for mountain bike, BMX racing and moto that they could. We were stoked to get our hands on a set to put to the test over a couple of months of bike park lapping and came away suitably impressed.
The ONYX is the singular goggle offering from Viris Brand, a new model for 2022 which looks to improve upon their outgoing model by offering a stack of new features. To satisfy the £75 (approx. $90) price tag, the ONYX goggles are supplied as standard with lenses which have a TAC anti fog and anti-scratch layer, which is laminated into the lens instead of being applied as a coating and therefore should last the lifespan of the lens. The frame is vented to promote airflow through the goggle, with foam covering these vents to prevent the ingress of dirt. Against the face sits a 3-layer foam, with the final layer featuring a breathable and moisture wicking material to improve comfort. The goggles are built with a heavily modular design, meaning the silicone gripper-equipped straps are interchangeable; the face foam and strap can be removed for washing or replacement; and the nose guard can easily be removed to tailor the style. The final piece of the modular puzzle is the 4Klik lens change system, making lens changes straightforward and only take 10 seconds.
The ONYX goggles are supplied with a clear lens as standard, with mirrored and tinted lenses available aftermarket for £25 ($30), and the option for a roll-off system for the wettest and wildest days at £35 ($42). This roll-off system uses standard 50mm wide films that should be available worldwide; is equipped with a clear lens that features the same TAC coating; and has a self-cleaning canister and mud flap to resist the gnarliest mud conditions. The Viris Brand ONYX goggles are available in a choice of six standard colorways, from a subdued black to brighter models like the Teal color tested.
The Viris Brand ONYX goggles are clearly a high-quality item from first impressions, with a clean finish and neatly considered details. The looks of the frame are purposeful and aggressive, with the brow venting and outriggers giving off the moto vibes that just about every rider tries to emulate when the full-face helmet goes on. Add in the nose guard and you perhaps go a little too far towards the Moto side for a bike without an engine, but thankfully it pops on and off easily enough for you to decide on the looks for yourself.
Going on, the ONYX goggle is comfortable, with well distributed pressure across the face even when the strap is cranked down hard. Compatibility with a range of size medium and large helmets proved to be without issue, from pedal-friendly full faces such as the TLD Stage and Fox Proframe, through to 100%’s Aircraft and the Bluegrass Legit carbon. The silicone grippers on the strap do a good job at keeping it in place down to relatively low tensions, which was a relief as I found the adjusters would slip a touch after multiple on-offs and require readjusting. Thankfully the big adjuster buckles are easy to locate when on the head, and they never loosened when under tension and riding. The ultra-soft face foam is nice against the face, though it felt a touch on the hot side under harder pedaling efforts. It clearly does a good job at wicking sweat judging by the lack of seepage into the eyes on the hotter efforts, however it would hold moisture for a while and made for a cold face when put back on.
In terms of optics, the ONYX goggles continued to impress, with a vast field of vision. The blue mirror lens has a slight red-purple tint when looking through and feels to increase the trail contrast in very bright conditions and in dappled tree light, which is much appreciated in the densely packed Alpine woods. There was no notable magnification or distortion in the clear lens or the blue mirror lens, nor any funky color shifts or pronounced glare. True to their claims, I was unable to produce any fogging on the inside no matter how hard I tried, after nearly an entire season of bike park abuse including rainy days and savage climbs in the heat. When it came to changing lenses, their 4Klik system was a real pleasure to use, and the 10-second mark was regularly achieved for a last-second lens swap to tailor it to the trails ahead.
I try to take care of my lenses, but they always inevitably end up dropped or scuffed from a brake lever or rogue branch on the trail. The Viris lenses have held up impressively well though, with only a couple of minor marks to show for their abuse. The face foam is certainly looking used after the testing period but holding up well considering and clearly has a lot of life left. The modular design means deconstructing the goggles to give the face foam a soak to clean the dust and grime away is easy, so it never got to a particularly nasty state. The strap has begun to look slightly tired through use, but there’s been no change in the tension required so it appears they’re not stretching off.
Even though my Scottish testing grounds often involve copious rain and saturated trails, the roll-off system is new to me on a mountain bike, and I’m sure that’s the case for many other riders. The Viris Brand ONYX roll-off system adds considerable weight to the goggles, as I’m sure the other roll-off systems do, which you can immediately feel in the hands and when around your neck. However once on the head, so long as the strap tension is sufficient, the overall additional weight to the head-helmet-goggle combination didn’t prove to be uncomfortable. What was uncomfortable – at least to begin with – was the amount the vision was obscured. The canisters sit well within your peripheral vision, which when combined with the distortion (albeit minor) caused by the edges of the roll-off film, leaves you with only the 50mm tall and not full-width window through which your vision is good. Much to my relief, after the first half-lap of becoming accustomed to this, I was able to focus on the benefits that were possible thanks to the roll-offs, and oh boy do they work well. The toggle was easy to find after the first few fumbles, after which I was pulling the strap at any given opportunity on wet and muddy rides to enjoy the ultra-clear vision that is instantly provided once the film slides across. I appreciate the considerably improved environmental aspect of preventing tear-offs from littering the trails, which then encourages their use on regular rides, opposed to purely in racing scenarios. This allows you to keep your vision clear in the worst weather conditions so you can focus better on the trail. They certainly won’t be for everyone, but their unparalleled wet weather performance can’t be ignored.
The Wolf’s Last Word
They’re not cheap, but I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the performance of the Viris Brand ONYX goggles all round. The flipside of their cushy comfort against the face is a slight excess heat compared to the breeziest out there. Otherwise, they’ve got solid optics, impressive anti-fog and a good build quality that seems to be able to take a lot of abuse. The roll-off system has its merits for the most disgusting conditions but won’t be to everyone’s tastes.
Price: £75 /$90 (approx)
Distortion free lenses
Nice contrast boost
Easy lens changes
Roll-off vision impairment and weight
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