“Sometimes we win.” That’s one of the things I remember Scott McKay, a motorcyclist and industry professional, always saying. In the past I’ve had some very bad luck with motorcycle shades. “Sometimes we lose.” Scott would also admit. I had three major issues with finding the right motorcycle goggle:
- I’m not picky, I’m just extremely selective. Extremely. Selective.
- I’m not cheap, I’m just very price sensitive. Very. Sensitive.
- I have an absurdly large nose. OK, it’s not that bad, but still…
In the past I bought the same pair of Choppers sunglasses. They were cheap. They were made in China. I had them in dark tint as well as in clear lens for night time motorcycle riding. They always broke. I must’ve owned at least 5 pairs of them. They always broke at the same spot, too! I finally gave up on them altogether. Thus began my search for a motorcycle night time riding goggle.
I had just logged on to Twitter and noticed a new follower, @RidinShades. Go figure, an online motorcycle goggle vendor. Their About page says “Give us a try. You’ll be glad you did.” I shot them an email to see if they really meant it. RidinShades gave me a “Challenge accepted,” in the form of sending me some sample clear lens motorcycle goggles to review. Sometimes we win.
The two models I liked most were the Ridin’ Shades Clear Night Riders and the Windmaster Clear Motorcycle Goggles. Both glasses were made in Taiwan. The quality was much better than my old destroyed Choppers shades. The padding was thicker and actually really chunky and comfortable in some parts. The perforations between the shades were well angled allowing some air flow without any issues of dust or bugs finding their way in. They contoured my face well. Both shades were sturdy and felt quite rich. To Keith at RidinShades, you spoiled me. I owe you a beer!
The Clear Night Riders are noticeably smaller when worn. They hug the eye well and are very minimalist in design. They would fit great for anyone with a smaller face. Someone like me (did I already mention my absurdly large nose?) found them comfortable, even on long rides, but not the most attractive. I wore them out to a beer date with Toronto area contortionist Gabby D.B. We had the shades out for a Cinqo de Mayo late night beer run and ride across town. Gabby has a much smaller face. Her nose is tiny. She liked the Clear Night Riders.
The Windmaster Clear Motorcycle Goggles were a #1 hit with me from the minute I put them on. They have a wide, wrap around lens which meant that there was no noticeable loss of peripheral vision which comes with so many riding goggles. A taller lens also meant that these shades came a little lower down my cheek. This meant that my long, girly eye-lashes weren’t flicking against the glasses as much, and probably did more to hide the aforementioned large nose. I looked good and felt good in the Windmaster. Well, as cool as you can look and feel in a clear lens motorcycle goggle.
Most importantly, the Windmasters were comfortable, practical, and at $16.00 I would have been jumping for joy even if I’d paid for them. Again, I could tell I was wearing a well made pair of goggles. The Windmaster has seven openings in the padding for ventilation. Four at the top, three down low. They never let anything in, even while riding through dusty construction zones. Another nice touch was that the part of the glasses stem touching over your ear was made of a separate, softer, more malleable type of plastic, which conformed to my head comfortably and with no pressure.
I could wear either the Clear Night Riders or the Windmaster Clear Motorcycle Goggles. Either are a good buy in my opinion, but riders with larger heads or noses will probably prefer the Windmasters, while regular and smaller faced riders at our Cinqo de Mayo fete preferred the Clear Night Riders.
Honorable mention: Ridin’ Shades also sent a copy of their Night Rider Yellow Lens shades to me. The Yellow lens allows motorcyclists to see contrast better in the dark. This enables you to better perceive objects on the road as well as depth a little better in the dark. The yellow lenses worked for me, however, because of Problem #1 (I’m picky), I’ll be sticking with the clear lens Windmasters for better protection from dust and bugs thanks to the vented foam.
– Excellent quality: good padding, ventilation, durability, mixed materials for a comfortable fit
– Excellent styling: there’s only so cool you can make a clear lens goggle look, and this is it
– Price: at $16 a pop for a pair of goggles that seem to actually last, I’d be happy
– My pretty long eye lashes are constantly brushing the inside of the Clear Night Riders
– My only concern with the Windmasters goggles are whether or not they will break at the point where the harder rubber connects with the softer rubber on the stem. It’s been too months and so far everything seems solid though.
BUY/HOLD/SELL: Both the Night Riders and the Windmasters get a definite BUY, they’re great. The Night Rider Yellow Lens get a HOLD as I just didn’t particularly care for the difference in view. I’m not a fan of the Night Rider models for motorcycling purposes, so those get a SELL.