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!
We’re used to seeing flowing lines, clean design and top quality products from Swedish company POC, and these goggles are no exception.
The Ora goggles we have here are the ‘DH specific’ goggle from the Swedish stylists, however, I ain’t no downhill rider – so we’re giving the Ora goggles a good testing from a trail riding perspective.
Apparently designed to ‘optimise a rider’s field of view and ability to react to the course with necessary speed and safety’, POC also says it’s been designed to work seamlessly with its Coron helmet.
Spec Talk For The POC Ora Goggles
Only available in one colour way, there isn’t really much to chat about in this department. The Oras are black, with a neat orange lining on the inner foam layer. The typically neat design continues on the simple branded strap.
The lens on the Ora is an extra-large Carl Zeiss Vision lens. For clarity, Carl Zeiss is a German manufacturer which has been producing leading optical systems for over 170 years. With a slightly tinted grey lens, these goggles should offer plenty of visibility in low light. Out of the box, the Oram is super neat looking, with an almost ski-goggle resemblance in their curvature and flowing lines.
The brand-new and unique frame design on the Ora has been designed to be ultra-rugged as well as lightweight and comfortable. In regards to fit and comfort, POC uses a three-layer face foam aimed to provide a precise, snug fitting goggle. You’ll find no nose guard on these bad boys, so try to avoid landing on your face.
The Ora goggles are designed to work with tear off systems, and there are tear off sheets included in the box, along with the tidy microfibre bag, however there is no secondary lens. Weight for the Ora goggles comes in at 147g.
On The Trail
On a wet and wild trip to the Lakes, the Oras came out to save the day. Heading into the woods the light tint on the lens made seeing trail features easy. The size of the lens is really noticeable, but more on that below.
Although POC makes a point of saying these goggles were designed to work with POC specific helmets, we’ve run these goggles with three helmets throughout the test period and have had no compatibility issues at all. The strap is incredibly secure, and once in position, it doesn’t budge.
Coming out of the woods and into lighter sections of trail, the goggles adapt to the light in a very subtle way, which is impressive. You don’t really notice the light changing too much, so there isn’t the blinding moment that you might get with other goggles.
The extra-large lens on the Oras is noticeable as soon as you strap these goggles round your head. The rounded frame accentuates that and offers a large peripheral field of view. Only when you look, can you see the outside edge of the frames, meaning there is little to no interference.
Looking straight ahead, the top and side of the frames completely disappear. The nose piece and bottom of the frames can be seen, but offer a bit of security which makes you keep your eyes up and on the trail. With the frame being black, it doesn’t interfere with your vision, even though the bottom is visible.
The slightly tinted grey lens has been class on lower light and grey sky days, providing plenty of light through to your eyes. In the woods, detail in the trail is picked out really well, so you’re confident in where you’re putting the bike.
After climbing to the top of the local trails, and on longer rides, the Oras have performed incredibly well in terms of ventilation and distinct lack of fogging up.
On the colder days, there was a bit more steam building up, but that is to be expected. Once back on the move, the lens clears really quickly, and you’re back to super clear and precise vision. The design of the frame really does help to aid the clearing of the lens, with plenty of big vents across the top of the frame.
Comfort & Compatibility
The three-layer foam on the Ora goggles make wearing plenty comfortable. I ran these for around an hour on one test ride to see how long distance comfort was, and it was only after around 50 minutes that I started to notice the goggles becoming a touch uncomfortable. This is mostly caused by the foam starting to push down at the top of your cheeks. This isn’t a scenario many riders will find themselves in though, but I wanted to consider a long time wear as part of the test process.
The Oras probably sit about mid-way in the test in terms of size of frame. The rounded edges do give these goggles a lovely fluid silhouette, and also mean compatibility with helmets has been really impressive. With both open face and full face helmets the Oras feel comfortable and secure, with a good shape to match most goggle compatible helmets.
These goggles have impressed me on a number of levels. Even though the frames are pretty big, when they’re on your head that’s the last thing you’re thinking. The lens is wide, so peripheral vision is incredibly good, and the lack of steaming issues make this a great winter goggle. The grey lens has worked flawlessly throughout the test, performing brilliantly on grey days and in the woods. My only niggle would be the foam can get a bit uncomfortable on your cheeks over prolonged periods of wearing.
A stylish, comfortable and well-priced option, if you’re planning a few races in the coming year, or want a pair of reliable trail riding goggles for all-weather conditions, these would be my pick.
|Tested:||by Rob Mitchell for 3 months|