Fox Versus Oakley: The Ultimate MotoCross Goggle Comparison
All of the goggles featured here are for off-road use. There is a considerable increase in the adventure bike market, fact. Also, with over-sized visors on MX style helmets designed to be more aerodynamic, more road riders are wearing goggles than ever.
It’s no coincidence that MX goggles employ the latest cutting-edge technology in their manufacture. Both of the big names featured in our comparison are at the top of their game. So will there be an outright winner, or will the top shelf features available in all of these goggles, cancel each other out? Read on to find out.
You know you’ve made it when one of the world’s top MX gear manufacturers seek you out to make a pair of goggles to your exact specification. These goggles are world champion Ken Roczen spec and feature a pre-curved injection molded polycarbonate lens.
This curvature gives incredible peripheral vision and apart from excellent impact resistance, gives superb optical clarity. The lenses comply with ANSI Z87.1-2010 and EN1938:2010 safety standards, and changing them takes seconds thanks to the VUE’s TruLock system.
A TPU faceplate is comfortable and supple enough to form to your face, while ABS nylon outer means they can take the knocks too. The strap is 45mm wide, and with a silicone inner, the goggles should stay put.
Three layers of foam will keep ‘sweat sting’ to a minimum, and there is ample venting to keep heat build-up at bay.
If like me, you thought Oakley only made shades for sidewalk-surfers, you must be living in a cave! The Airbrake range of MX goggles featured the most advanced lenses ever seen when launched back in 2013. Five years down the line, and they can still hold their own against the best of the rest.
The Oakley PR department went into superlative overdrive with these goggles, with “Prizm” lenses made from pure “Plutonite” and featuring Switchlock technology. In real-world terms, this relates to unmatched vision, immense impact-resistance, and lightening-fast changeability.
Like the Fox VUE’s, peripheral vision is vast, meeting ANSI and EN safety standards, but the three layer foam gasket also gets a fleece lining. Airflow vents run along the top of the frame, which gets a tough exoskeleton exterior combined with a pliable TPU faceplate.
Fox has stayed with an injection molded, pre-curved, polycarbonate lens for the Air Defence, and why not? Not only does it allow for brilliant peripheral vision, but also almost bulletproof impact resistance.
The face gasket is 17mm of thermoformed foam that also features sweat channels embossed into the design. Together with Fox’s Smart Venting system, which rams air into the viewport, airflow and moisture control are well controlled.
Lenses are held in place by an 8-pin system, which makes changeovers a cinch and comes, three post-tear-off ready. A removable rock guard adds extra security, and the silicone infused 45mm strap, keeps them planted.
The Mayhems may not be quite as high on the top shelf as the Airbrake, but they still pack enough smart features to make the family resemblance unmistakable.
With the same amount of curvature and the high impact Plutonite anti-fog lens as its bigger brother, vision is nothing less than exceptional.
The frame design, although very flexible, is described as aggressively contoured, which in real terms translates to providing excellent head to goggle interface. Dust and sweat are kept out by triple layer foam, which benefits from the final fleece covering.
The wide elasticated strap, which ensures a balanced fit and provides ease of adjustment, is attached to outriggers on the frame. This feature also helps to keep airborne gunge out by maintaining even pressure on the face gasket.
These are goggles where fit and comfort have been a priority, a fact attested to by pro/am riders across the globe. Ok, lens replacement isn’t exactly slick, and the nose guard is easily snagged, but at least it’s removable leaving the wearer with seriously comfortable goggles.
These are Fox’s bread and butter, no-nonsense goggles that have sold by the bucket load since their day of launch. Why? Because in the Fox Racing book, no- frills doesn’t translate to no features.
MX biking is hot work, but throw in some Californian sun or southwestern humidity, and it can get hot enough inside your goggles to grow mushrooms.
Here the Air Space score big, thanks to the Smart Venting System; 30% more gets rammed inside the frame. Wide-angle viewing is guaranteed thanks to the curvature of the Lexan lens and Fox’s 8-pin retention system hold it in place.
The lens is also 100% UV protective, the 45mm wide strap is silicone treated on the inside to prevent slippage, and there’s a removable rock guard on the nose section.
Launched in 2009, the O-Frame is a classic example of ‘’if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’’ Considering the specification and reputation these goggles enjoy, as with the Air Space, they represent incredible value.
Like all the Oakley’s listed here, the O-Frame come with an anti-fog / anti-scratch lens and industry-leading impact resistance. Three-Layer silicon infused foam gasket around the frame is snug yet comfortable thanks to the wide adjustable strap.
Talking of the frame, Oakley claims that thanks to its urethane construction, the frame remains flexible even in extreme cold. This handy feature means the goggles can pull double duty for winter sports too.
The goggles come with the option of choosing from three lens tints and like all of our featured goggles, come tear-off ready. Some of the most prolific MX champions have worn O-Frame’s across the wining line, and it’s not hard to see why.
Although goggles like the Fox VUE and Oakley Airbrake most definitely reside on the top shelf, they’re still packed with a sufficient number of technologically advanced features to justify any outlay.
Step down to the next level, and the Air Defence Preest and Mayhems could go head to head all day long without either coming out a clear winner. As for the Air Space and O-Frame, features that have made both these makes, the industry standard in MX eye protection is there for all to see.
In the Fox Versus Oakley, the Ultimate MotoCross Goggle Comparison the choice will most likely come down to brand loyalty, and so the Fox VUE does it for me.