Motorcycle Sunglasses Extreme Speed Testing on 7EYE, Wiley-X and Gatorz.
We recently enlisted the help of skydivers to test motorcycle sunglasses. For three consecutive years this unique approach has been used to evaluate how many of the most popular brands perform at extreme speeds. The glasses that exceeded expectations were Wiley-X, 7EYE and Gatorz. The glasses that did not do well are scattered throughout cornfields north of Skydive Dallas.
Utilizing skydivers allowed us to safely test the limits of this eyewear without putting any motorcycles at risk. Skydivers were asked to exceed normal face-flapping speeds while video flyers captured them simulating every possible wind angle that could be encountered on a highway. The tests that drew the most attention were the "head-down" tests that surpassed 200 mph.
The tests focused attention on the most fundamental requirements for motorcycle sunglasses. Longer rides require glasses with a more secure air seal around the eyes to prevent wind from swirling around behind the lens. A poor air seal causes eyes to become dry; vision quality is reduced; and the entire body is more fatigued from this stress.
Models from 7EYE and Wiley-X surpassed all others. These frames protected eyes from wind and debris without suffocating them. The glasses were comfortable regardless of speed. Almost all of these models will hold prescription lenses.
Last year 7EYE went through a lot of change (used to be Panoptx). They changed the type of foam used in their eye seals; and they added several new lens options. The lenses are great, especially the Photochromic Polarized Copper lens. We got mixed reviews on the new foam, as it was not as soft as last year. But the 7-Eye frames still feel very well made. The temples were occasionally too thick to fit under a tight helmet, but this was generally a non-issue. The 7EYE Diablo fit most people better than any other model.
Wiley-X frames had a more comfortable foam eye seal and the frames were generally less bulky than the Wiley-X. The lens selection was not as extensive in the Wiley-X line, but the ones they have functioned very well. The Wiley-X line looks more like traditional eyewear. The Wiley-X brick fit the most people and was the overall favorite. Some of the other Wiley-X models did not provide as much peripheral vision as the Brick.
Gatorz didn’t really fit the profile here, but some people liked them anyway. The billet aluminum frames could be shaped to follow the counters of most faces and provide an adequate eye seal. We removed the nosepiece from the frame to get a tighter fit. These are a great choice for people who just hate the traditional foam around their eyes. The Radiator was the best fit for almost everyone.
These tests were not just a way to write off a couple days of skydiving. Our intent was to come back with information that would have some value in the motorcycle community. We welcome input from other riders, whether you agree with us or not.
By: Dave DuMais