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Oakley Airbrake Goggle Review

Oakley Airbrake

The Oakley Airbrake  Goggle came into the motocross market and gave everyone a scare. $160+ for motocross goggles? That’s just insane. You could by 2 pairs of “normal” goggles with a year supply of tear-offs for that price. So the question comes down to: Are the Oakley Airbrakes worth it?

Unique Features

The first look at the Oakley Airbrake made me ask myself “So what?”. They look like typical MX goggles with a slightly larger lens. Once I got my hands on these goggles, I noticed a few additional features that you wont find on any other goggle.

Shape

The Airbrakes are definitely styled after Oakley’s snowboard line of googles, giving them a bulbous look. Oakley claims that this unique shape gives you more peripheral vision.

Lens

The Lens is probably the most significant feature. It’s made out of Plutonite (Oakley’s version of polycarbonate), similar to street bike helmet visors. Its thick and stiff, unlike the cheap flimsy plastic used in most goggles on the market. These lenses are rated to surpass impact requirements based on ANSI Z87.1 and EN 1938:2010 standards, which means from a protection standpoint, these are the best motocross goggles money can buy.

Replacing the lens is easier than any other goggle, by far. Two latches come undone with little effort and the lens pops right off. No more struggling with getting the grooves in your lenses to line up with their designated posts. Swapping out a lens takes all of 10 seconds.

Lens Protectors

Finally! A goggle company comes out with stick-on lens protectors. These thin films of plastic allow your lenses to stay scratch free for longer than ever. You’re going to need it, because these lenses are more expensive than ever at $25 a piece.

Carrying Case

Oakley decided to make you feel a little better about spending nearly $200 on a pair of goggles by including a nice little carrying case. It’ a great way to keep dirt, dust and humidity away from your goggles before the race.

Replacement PartsGoggle Review Oakley

This is the best part about the Oakley Airbrake, in my opinion. Every part is replaceable. The lens, strap, and foam all have replacement units available. You can also change colorways if you’re a MX fashionista.

Performance

For me, Oakley goggles have always fit perfect. They seal to my face well and leave me with no gaps for unwanted debris to find its way through. The Airbrakes have an advantage over other Oakleys because of the additional angle of vision you receive from the re-engineered lenses. Oakley claims to have added more peripheral vision, however, I did not notice that at all. I did notice quite a bit more vision area from top to bottom. The goggle gave you more room for your eyes to wander, allowing you to look further ahead or see the obstacle directly in front of you without having to change your position.

The foam was very plush and absorbent. Even on a 95 degree day, my eyes were dry and sweat free. The goggles set nicely on the face with even pressure all the way around. One thing I did notice was the extremely adjustable strap. No matter how big or how small, the strap is going to accommodate. It’s almost overkill really.

The goggles seemed to breathe well, but that’s a double edge sword. Although I was enjoying the extra air on the hot and humid day, I can already feel the dust sneaking by and irritating my eyes. Nothing a little Vaseline on the foam won’t fix, but for $160 I expect these things to have A/C.Airbrake Goggle

There are also roll-offs available that give you a solid 3 inches of clear vision, even in the nastiest conditions. We haven’t tested them yet, but plan to in the future. We’ll keep you posted.

Pet Peeves

Okay, for $160 I’m going to point out every last flaw the Oakley Airbrake has. First and foremost is the tear off system. The tear offs do not lay flat all the way across the lens. On the sides where Oakley has worked so hard to give you more peripheral vision, there is about a half an inch gap where the tear offs do not lay on the lens. This is a total bummer. Just as you’re enjoying your new-found vision, it gets taken away from you. What’s the point, Oakley? C’mon.

Also, the lens protectors can be a huge PITA to install. Just like cell phone screen protectors, one wrong move and it’s ruined. Luckily, they’re not too expensive.

Conclusion

The Oakley Airbrakes are not worth $160 to me. There are a bunch of other goggles on the market for half the price that can do the job just as well for the conditions I ride in. Keep in mind that I live in Florida where there are no rocks to speak of. If I were living in a state where rocks play a big role in racing, I wouldn’t ride with any other goggle. No goggle can compete with the  Airbrake in terms of protection.

Being able to replace virtually every piece of the Oakley Airbrake is something other goggle companies need to take note of. Foam and straps wear out fairly frequently and there wasn’t a solution until now. The Oakley Airbrake could be the last motocross goggle you ever buy. However, $160 is just outrageous for a pair of goggles.

Pros:

  • Protective Lens
  • Look Great
  • Replace Everything
  • More Lens Area = More Vision
  • Lens Protectors Are a Nice Touch
  • Fast & Easy Lens Replacement

Cons:

  • Crazy Expensive
  • Tear off System Block Peripheral View

 

 

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