What are the best goggles for mountain biking? We brought together five pairs from 100%, Dragon Alliance, Julbo POC, Scott, and put them in the hands of our goggle aficionado and all-round jumpy rider, Rob Mitchell, to see which ones we’d recommend for UK mountain bikers. Over to Rob for the full review!
An aggressive name for a pretty aggressive looking pair of goggles. These are the MXV Max goggles from Dragon Alliance. Possibly more well known for its snow orientated goggle selection and range of sunglasses, Dragon also make goggles for motocross and MTB.
Onto the goggles then, and a completely new design in the MXV Max. The MXV name is something we’ve seen before in the Dragon line up, with the standard MXV, the MXV Sand, Hydro and RRS versions. The MXV Max is not only a new shape for this year, but a completely new model, and with that, a step up from the standard model in both features, and price.
Spec Talk For The MXV Max Goggles
We’ve got the MXV Max in the ‘Podium’ (or black as far as we’re concerned) colour way, which comes with the lumalens red ionised lens along with a clear lens in the box. There are many a punchy colour to choose from though if you don’t want to be a stealth shredder.
Out of the box then, and upon initial inspection, the shape of the goggle is aggressive, with an angular silhouette, a punchy strap, the very distinct nosepiece and the outrigger frame design feature. On this new style goggle from Dragon, the MXV Max uses a thinner frame to make the model more lightweight and comfortable. Dragon also goes on to say ‘the MXV Max has been engineered to maximize peripheral vision and enable superior ventilation’.
A few more features to note; the MXV Max are compatible with tear-off lenses, and will hold up to 28 laminated tear-offs, which is grand if you’re hitting laps at the bike park or plan on racing this season. Please make sure you pick up your plastic rubbish off the trail afterwards though.
The Lumalens Red Ionized lens on these goggles has 100% UV protection, with Dragon’s Super Anti-Fog coating that is apparently twice as strong on these goggles than before. The removable ‘rock guard’ (nose piece) and a chunky 1.5in silicone backed strap offer plenty of security for your face and make sure these bad boys stay in place when riding.
Out of all the goggles within the test, the Dragon MXV Max goggles sit in the middle in terms of size and shape, along with price positioning. At £70 they aren’t the cheapest, but do offer plenty of promise for the price, from initial inspection.
In the box, you get a spare clear lens as well as a microfibre bag – winner. The MXV Max sit on the scales at a tidy weight of 134g.
On The Trail
First impressions of the MXV Max goggles were really positive. They do look pretty bulky at first glance, especially if you’re not used to riding with goggles, but once they’re in position, the comfort given by the triple-layer foam is almost luxury.
I’ve had the pleasure of riding the Dragons on a range of trails, from open bike parks, to deep woods and all sorts in between. On open trails, through cleared forest sections, the Dragons have performed incredibly well, providing plenty of trail detail and support on sunnier days.
Peripheral vision with the MXV Max is impressive for a goggle with quite a large frame. The field of view is wide with only the very top of the nosepiece being visible when in the goggles are in place.
The Red Ionised lens has worked super well in bright sunshine and on clear days, but as soon as you drop into deep woods, or on days with low cloud and minimal light, the lens does start to struggle. Having the clear lens in the box is definitely a bonus with this pair, so I’d recommend carrying it with you on days where the weather looks like it could change.
When out on the trails, I did encounter a bit of fogging and condensation build up on the inside of the Dragon’s when I was stationary, or when the goggles were round my neck. There is a thin layer of foam that runs across the vents at the top of the goggles, which I think was stopping a bit of the moisture from escaping. Once riding though, the goggles do clear very quickly, so it’s not too much of an issue.
I tested the goggles on longer road climbs to really test their ventilation, and even when panting and sweating, the ‘Super Anti-Fog’ coating on these goggles has impressed me, especially in scenarios such as climbing. When moving in general, I have found it very hard to really steam this lens up.
Comfort & Compatibility
On the face, the Dragons are incredibly comfortable, which did surprise me a bit due to their size and styling. The bulky nature of an MX style goggle really isn’t reflected in the fit and compatibility with the helmets used within the test.
On open face trail helmets, the Dragons have sat well, offering little to no interference when in position. With full face helmets, the larger frame size sits well within a Fox Proframe, and getting them comfortable hasn’t been an issue.
On longer rides, I haven’t experienced anywhere near as much discomfort as I have with other goggles in the test, with the triple-layer foam from Dragon performing well and not irritating my cheeks when in place during longer sessions.
Coming into this test, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy riding with such a large framed goggle, especially with an open face helmet, but the Dragons have really impressed me.
For short blasts out, and some bike park action, they’ve performed super well. On longer rides, the lens has stayed fog free, and it’s only when stationary do you start to notice any fogging. They’re comfortable for big days out and offer plenty of protection, especially with the removable nose guard.
If you’re looking for a trail specific goggle, I reckon you’d be better off looking for a goggle with a slightly smaller frame, but as an all rounder, the Dragon Alliance MXV Maxs would get my vote.
|Tested:||by Rob Mitchell for 3 Months|