We all have one of one sort or another. It might be a pair of gloves you absolutely love and even though they're full of holes and ratty looking, you still like to wear them. It might be your helmet that has so many scrapes and scratches on it that it looks like you dragged it on the asphalt for three miles. But it just feels right when you put it on. Or it's your set of bibs that have duct tape patching up the holes.
Or it might be a set of goggles. The elastic strap has long lost its elasticity, the frame is a little beat up and the lens is, well, scratched. The cold air might even be leaking in on the sides.
We're guilty on the goggles one. We have a set of Scott goggles that would probably embarrass Scott USA if they saw us wearing them. But we love them because they still get the job done-even though we have other, newer sets of goggles.
Such a set of goggles begs the question, "When is it time to throw your goggles away?"
We posed that question to the folks at Scott USA and we were caught a little off guard with the answer.
We sat down with Scott's Reidar Oyen (motorsport marketing manager), Dyke Morris (snowmachine division) and Joe Snyder (MX product manager) at the company's headquarters in Sun Valley, ID, and they politely gave us their take on how to get the most life out of your goggles.
Sweaty `Ol Thing
One of the first things they pointed out was what happens to goggles over time. It probably comes as no surprise that the biggest enemies of goggles (aside from the occasional tree branch that smacks into your goggles) are sweat and wetness. Go ahead, admit it, how many times have you thrown your goggles in your gear bag soaking wet?
The foam around the edge of your goggles can get wet from perspiration or precipitation-doesn't matter, they both can take a toll on your goggles if you don't allow them to dry before you put them away. "Sweat and wetness are not good on the face foam and vent foam," they told us. "Those two things will make your foam deteriorate more quickly. So set your goggles out and dry them."
After discussing the topic of when is it time to throw your goggles away, we came away with the distinct impression that if you take care of your eye coverings, they will last a long time.
For example, the threesome said, "You'll get a lot more longevity (out of your goggles) if you replace the lens."
And, they pointed out, you really don't have to do anything special to your goggles right out of the box to help them last. Just use some common sense (like dry them out after a ride and don't put them away wet) and a little care and they're good for a while.
One common mistake, Scott USA said, is using anything with an ammonia base to clean the lens. "Ammonia will degrade the performance of the lexan," they said. Instead, use a mild detergent with water to clean the lens. Or there are specialty cleaners like Scott Anti-Fog. The trio at Scott USA mentioned, though, that when using a specialty cleaner it's best to spray the liquid on a cloth and then wipe the lens rather than spray directly onto the lens and then clean and wipe it off. As for the goggles frame, you can scrub that to clean it.
And what about wiping your goggles while you're riding-you know, to wipe off any snow or snow dust that is accumulating on the lens? The lens is designed to be scratch resistant so you can wipe it with your glove or even with gloves with that little squeegee thing on it.
However, throw tree branches into the mix and not taking care of the goggles and over time the lens can become scratched, which after a while can cause your vision to be obstructed. That's when it's time to throw the lens away and install a new one. And, quite possibly, after years of use, the lens seal can wear out and moisture will get between the lenses and fog up. Again, toss it out and install a new lens if your frame is still good.
While on the topic of lenses, Scott pointed out that "You need to be more careful with the inner lens because it is not the same material as the outer lens." We used to take along a paper towel (in a zip lock bag to keep it dry) to wipe off our lens when the precipitation got a bit much, but after talking to the folks at Scott USA, we'll not be doing that anymore. "A paper towel can be abrasive," they said. "Use a soft cloth, like cotton, to wipe out the inner lens. Paper can put small scratches on it." They then said, "But it's not the end of the world if you use a paper towel."
As for the foam on the goggles, which seems to be the area which gets overlooked the most (okay, so maybe we're speaking from personal experience): you can rinse the foam out with water and then make sure it's dry before putting the goggles away. Scott tells us the vent foam is more susceptible to the moisture than the face foam, because of its location on the goggles. The face foam would be more susceptible to sweat, so, again, if you've been working particularly hard while riding and you sweat on the foam, be sure to rinse it out and make sure it's dry before putting the goggles away.
Scott mentioned that all its snow goggles will be getting new vent foam for this season.
Now comes the issue of "putting the goggles away." Do yours end up in the bottom of your gear bag, under all your other gear? Or thrown behind the seat of the pickup? The three Scott officials tell us, "So much of the damage that is done to goggles takes place during transport and storage."
One of our staff here at SnoWest puts his goggles (after they're dry of course) inside his helmet and then puts the helmet in a helmet bag. The helmet then protects the goggles from just about everything. Snyder and Morris showed us Scott's nifty goggle case, which holds several pair and keeps them from getting scuffed up.
Not only do some of us put gear on top of our goggles in the bottom of the gear bag, there is also the temptation to put them on the dashboard of your pickup, you know, to dry them out or maybe that's your storage system. "UV rays are very hard on the goggles," Snyder said.
Snyder brought up another interesting point about goggle care. We've all seen riders who, when they stop to take a break or whatever, pull their goggles down over the chin part of their motocross-style helmet. Most, if not all, of the time, the goggles are right over the vent hole in the helmet. So, while you're talking or just sitting their breathing, basically you're breathing right onto the inner lens of your goggles. Then you put them back on when you get ready to ride and sometimes they fog up. It's because your breath warmed the inside lens and now the cold outside air meets that and fog results.
While most of us never consider our goggles as ever getting to the stage of being unsafe-ratty-looking maybe, but not unsafe-Snyder said, "With proper care, there is nothing on the goggle that will ever become unsafe."