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Tech Notes Extra: Mixin' and Matchin'

Which goggle and helmet combos work!
Klim helmet Zowa goggles
How often do you grab your helmet and then a pair of goggles only to find they don’t fit well together? Thanks to a reader for asking us, we have put together a massive “fit” chart of different goggles and helmets. Below is a list and chart of the different goggles and helmets that we mixed and matched.

■ Fogging up, air leaks, and more!
The idea for this article was to see if there were certain combinations that worked better than others. Not everyone has or can afford the newest and nicest stuff, we get that. Some may have goggles that they really like from one manufacturer and a helmet from another. In fact, next time you are out riding look around at anyone wearing MX style helmets and you’ll notice all the different combinations of helmets and goggles that people have on.

Most people carry a spare set of goggles or lenses with them when they ride. You want to be ready if the sun really starts shining, or it becomes a “flat light” day, or you ride into the night and you need a clear lens. And lets face it, some people just sweat a lot more than others!

I for one work up a sweat quickly, riding in the mountains primarily, and really like to have a pair of goggles that breathe well. However on really cold snow days, especially on the trail, snow dust can be a major problem, especially if you are not the lead person in a big group. All the snow dust in the air penetrates the open areas on your goggles and can end up behind your lens, which is not good! I recently experienced this first hand chasing Editor Mark Boncher down the trail in single digit temps. The snow dust just lingered in the air seemingly forever! Within five minutes I had to stop and change my goggles because they were filled with ice and snow behind the lens! Being a somewhat rookie to real flatland trail riding I turned to AmSnow test rider Butch Veltum for advice. He told me one of his tricks is to close off any vents on the goggles and sometimes used tape or even tissue paper. I didn’t realize how vented my goggles really were until every orifice was filled.
Zowa goggles
Zowa makes wide goggles with great peripheral vision.
He said he always carries paper for those unforeseen backwoods moments … not 100% sure what he meant, but problem solved, so I thought.

I headed down the trail and realized my problem was not just the vents but also the way the goggles were seated inside the opening of the helmet. The snow dust was now coming around the side of the foam because I did not have a tight seal against my face. Crossover riders and especially folks that ride both the trails and the mountains quickly realize that every goggle and helmet combination is not created equal. Some combinations just work better than others at sealing out the air with the way they fit inside the helmet opening.

For mountain riders we need breathability during our mountain cardio sessions. I don’t make it very long without fog issues. However a good balaclava makes a world of difference especially one like the Klim Arctic, which has a neoprene nosepiece so your breath goes out the bottom of the helmet and not into your goggles. All of the major helmet manufactures make built in nose/mouth breath pieces. These work similar to a balaclava with a nosepiece, and most have a moldable piece that allows you to bend it to the shape of the bridge on your nose to seal it off better.
509 helmet and goggles
■ Vision is key
Personally, I also get claustrophobic when I have on a balaclava, helmet and goggles so I prefer a goggle with a larger field of vision so I don’t panic when I start to work up a good sweat and need to get my gear off my head now! Vision is the top reason most people wear goggles instead of full face helmets. If you get the right goggle and helmet set-up, you rarely fog up, plus your peripheral vision can be widened on all sides.

Companies are working to create the best combination of no fog, by making the lenses really easy to change out, and heating the lenses. So far, heated lenses we tested have rocked! We just wish the battery on some models lasted longer and had a larger field of view. We want to give you the best possible options as far as goggle and helmet combos go. We obviously did not do every possible scenario but wanted to give you somewhere to start when considering combinations. Remember, you need to try helmet and goggles on yourself at places like dealers and the Snowmobile USA shows because everyone’s head, face and preferences are different. Certain combos may work better for some and worse for others.

If there was one overwhelming factor testing these combinations, it is that it mostly comes down to the goggles. All of the helmets that we tested had good sized openings that can fit most every goggle we threw at them, some better than others, but nothing you couldn’t make work. However certain goggles were taller in the center, making the fit a bit tighter. We also tested a new Zowa goggle which is a “visor goggle.” This goggle is meant to seal with the helmet AND your face. Basically, it seals against part of the helmet as well as around your cheeks and nose. If you are looking for a lot of peripheral vision and a goggle you can fit your glasses under and not have them rubbing on the lenses, then this is a fantastic option. Our test rider Kevin thinks they are the best things since sliced bread. They are HUGE, but they do work well if you don’t mind some double takes from people.
We also found that within our own group of test riders some really preferred one combo over another, especially the trail riders. When it came down to it, personal taste was about the only thing we could find different other than face shape.Some people’s cheeks push out more with the helmets they wear, one might say, “wear a bigger helmet!” And yes that would probably help but these were the helmet sizes they liked and felt the most comfortable in … and yes squirrel cheeks do affect the fit of the goggles for sure!

Finally, if you read this article and have a combination that has worked really well for you send us a message we would love to hear about it!
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