Ryan Villopoto wearing Oakley’s all-new Airbrake MX goggle at the start of the 2013 Supercross season.
Whether you’re launching off the face of a jump or trailing into inside rut, in motocross, vision is everything. Oakley, a leader in the world of optics aims to push the envelope of what we as riders come to expect with its latest Airbrake MX Goggle. Oakley’s latest eyewear features innovative design features that not only improve performance but safety, too.
“We’ve take the culmination of every break-through that we’ve developed over three decades of refinement, fit and comfort,” says former Supercross champ and Oakley front man Mike Bell. “It’s so vastly different from the status quo out there; the difference will be night and day.”
To accomplish this Oakley tapped some of its brightest minds within its ultra-secretive engineering department with one goal in mind: perfection.
“It is a game changer and when you go to the starting gate, it’s going to help,” says two-time Supercross champ James Stewart.
“I’m really excited about this goggle. It revolutionizes the goggle world,” adds legendary Supercross and motocross champ, Ricky Carmichael. “When you think of Oakley this is what you associate them with. The biggest thing that blew my mind was the peripheral vision and how clear it was when you were looking through it.”
Oakley’s Supercross and motocross factory pilots speak before an audience at Oakley’s HQ in Foothill Ranch, California.
The Airbrake uses a modular design in which each component can be replaced when necessary. The frame of the Airbrake consists of Oakley’s proprietary O Matter synthetic plastic. It is designed to be both lightweight while offering the optimum blend of flex and stiffness. A lever-type mechanism on each side, dubbed by Oakley as Switchlock, allows the rider to easily switch lens based on preference or outside light. Another key feature is that the frame holds the lens in such a way that it doesn’t apply any pressure on the lens for enhanced clarity.
“Switchlock allows the lens to be changed super-fast,” says Bell. “So a rider can adapt to what Mother Nature throws at them. You have all of our performance lens tints available. Whether you’re going through a day session out on the track doing practice laps, to the night time main event you can pop in the perfect lens to suit those conditions.”
Perhaps the biggest attribute of the new goggle is its lens. For the first-time ever Oakley is using its proprietary Plutonite material – similar to what’s used in its sunglasses. Not only does it provide superior impact resistance from dirt and rocks it features an extremely wide viewing angle which enhances the rider’s peripheral vision.
The Airbrake features a modular design in which each component can be removed and replaced if necessary.
“A typical MX lens is stamped from a flat sheet of generic material and literally bent to fit inside that goggle frame. That sort of warping causes visual distortion,” Bell explains. “We injection mold the lens under extreme pressure to obtain precise optical geometry.”
In addition to tear-off posts the goggle can be outfitted with a new roll-off system in which canisters are attached inside the strap. The roll-off is activated by pulling on a left-hand-side strap thereby exposing an fresh film, strip which allow you to see during treacherous riding conditions.
“The roll-off system is huge for every rider that rides in the mud,” says reigning Supercross champ Ryan Villopoto. “It may be a little more expensive looking at it but what you get when you buy that goggle; you can have one goggle with a tear-off set-up, and can go straight to the roll-off system with the same goggle. It’s so universal.”
Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac has already recorded the Airbrake’s first win racing win at the inaugural Anaheim Supercross round a few weeks ago. The standard Airbrake MX goggle will be available beginning March 15, 2013, at a cost of $160. The Race-Ready, roll-off edition will be priced at $200 and available May 1.