Zowa Visor- Goggles $62.00 (Review by Bill Dragoo)
Some adventure riders prefer goggles to a conventional dual sport helmet and shield, especially for more technical riding where exertion levels are high. Goggles haven’t changed a whole lot over the years, until recently. Zowa Optics new wide view visor goggles have set a new standard for visibility. Goggles historically restrict peripheral vision with their thick frames sealing against the wearer’s face near the eyes. Zowa has developed a visor-goggle that instead, seals against a motocross style helmet at the top and sits lightly on the cheek below the eyes, reducing facial contact area by over half while providing a significantly larger viewing area.
I recently tested a pair of Zowas during preparation for an adventure rider’s skills class a few miles from my home. My first impression was that they looked overly large out of the box, because by previous standards, they are. Once on the helmet, the difference was less noticeable.
I often wear sunglasses with my helmet, so I was eager to see how the goggles worked with my Oakleys. There was plenty of room around the glasses, but I did notice some compression of the sunglasses between my face and the goggle lens. This could be due to the deep arc of my sunglasses, but it is worth noting that you should try your glasses on a short trip before committing to a full day in the OTG configuration.
Comfort is increased for most wearers because there are fewer restrictions to a proper seal as with traditional off road eyewear. Because they contact the top of the helmet opening instead of riding on the forehead, they follow the helmet through slight vertical movements, returning to a neutral position and requiring less adjustment when the helmet shifts or nudges the goggle. With less facial contact area, the goggle has less need to form around the face; hence they are less noticeable, especially after a long day.
Although not rated for highway use, I found the Zowas provided very good wind protection at speed. Ventilation was more than adequate and there was no noticeable turbulence inside to dry out my eyes. Once installed, they do require an instant longer to adjust due to the fit of the upper frame against the helmet, but in my judgment, the resulting seal and comfort are worth the trouble, and they stay put.
Peripheral vision is the main claim to fame for the new Zowas. In that category I would give them an 8 on a 10 scale. My Klim F4 helmet without goggles rates a 9. The lower portion just above the cheek was slightly visible when checking for traffic during a lane change, otherwise I had a clear field of view, noticeably better than with my Scotts.
I would consider the Zowas larger surface area an asset in most climates. In warm weather, a sweatband would not interfere with the upper seal as with traditional goggles and the extra facial coverage would reduce wind contact with the face, an advantage when the wind chill drops.
I did not test them with quick straps, but I see no reason they would not work. Again, it may take an instant longer to seat them against the helmet, but this shouldn’t be an issue.
As a goggle for adventure riding, the Zowas might be a good choice. They provide more frontal protection and a wider field of vision. Adding quick straps would make them more versatile. They are priced in the realm of other upper end goggles so why not give them a try?
- Would I wear them? Yes.
- Zowas come in cyan, black and red.
- Tear-offs are available in packs of 20 for $14.00 and lenses are replaceable, clear Lexan only.
To order, contact Zowa at: http://www.zowaoptics.com/index.html
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