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Garage Finds | Zowa Visor Goggles


Garage Finds | Zowa Visor Goggles

Presented by Throttle Syndicate

It’s amazing what will amass in your garage when you’ve been covering the sport for nearly three decades, and especially so when you’re forced to pack up your office into a dozen little boxes and relocate all of the treasures that have gathered on your walls. While trying to reorganize my garage last weekend, I realized that much of the memorabilia I’ve gathered has a cool back story that is well worth sharing. Thus was born our new weekly feature, Garage Finds…

Through the years I’ve seen plenty of kooky products, but the one thing I have learned is that you can never judge a book by its cover. That, and while you might think something is completely ridiculous; there is always someone out there who will disagree. After all, if someone didn’t believe in the idea, the product never would have been produced, right?

The Zowa Visor Goggle definitely falls into both of those categories. Back in 2015, these massive goggles showed up at the TransWorld Motocross offices and I can vividly remember Photo Editor Brendan Lutes and I laughing hysterically when we opened the box. I mean…look at them. They’re GIANT!

Designed to actually fit over the outside of your helmet shell beneath the visor, then seal against the bottom of your face like a traditional goggle, the Zowa Visor Goggle was designed to provide maximum field of unrestricted vision while riding. In theory, this all makes sense, so we headed to the track with an open mind to give them a try.

At Milestone MX Park, Lutes and I giggled like little girls as we suited up and put our Visor Goggles on. Just riding through the pits to get onto the track, a few of my friends spotted me and did double takes. Do you know those Snapchat filters that make your eyes really big like a Japanese anime character? That’s what I felt like…

On the track, I was shocked to discover that the goggles were actually great for vision. It almost felt like I was wearing a street bike helmet with a face shield…I could see everything! Because the top of the frame rests against the outside of the helmet shell, there was no frame above your eyes to block your vision: it’s almost like riding with no goggles on at all! After our first moto, Lutes and I returned to the truck, chuckled, and admitted that the Zowa Visor Goggle worked a thousand times better than we expected them to.

As the track dried up and we took to the track for our second moto, the shortcomings of the Zowa goggle became very apparent. First, the face foam is super cheap and thin and doesn’t even create a complete seal against the bottom of your face. The way the goggle frame dips into the eye port of the helmet and matches against your face does not create a good seal, and the lack of foam density only exaggerates that problem. What does this mean? Dust makes its way into the goggle and into your eyes as if you are not wearing any goggles at all! Furthermore, with no face foam against your forehead, sweat drips down onto your face and into your eyes.

The entire goggle is really flimsy and floppy…I suppose this may be by design so that it can conform to the different shell shapes of multiple helmets, but the lens hardly feels protective enough to resist buckling in from a large rock thrown up by a 450cc motocross bike. I didn’t bust out a micrometer, but I suspect that it is thinner than even a standard goggle lens. In a day and age when injection-molded high-impact goggle lenses were making their debut, the Zowa was on the opposite end of the protection spectrum.

The goggles sat on my shelf in my office as a souvenir after that initial day of testing, and served as a great conversation piece as everyone who ever came into my office for the first time would spot them and ask, “What the hell are those?” Just sitting indoors, the foam has become somewhat brittle and now has even less absorption and sealing potential. 

Imagine my surprise when I Google searched “Zowa Visor Goggle” and discovered that the brand seems to be alive and well! CLICK HERE if you want to see for yourself! While perusing the website, I came across this disclaimer: Zowa Visor Goggles are intended for wind and dust protection only.  Although the lens is made from an impact resistant Lexan material it is not designed for use as safety goggles and will not protect you from impact of objects. Hmmm…see above what I wrote about 450cc roost!

There’s also a page full of photos of riders who wear and support the Visor Goggle!

Photo: zowaoptics.com

Truth be told, the concept of the Zowa Visor Goggle was solid. With a thicker, safer lens, better face foam and a more substantial strap, they would be a great product. Getting past the odd look of them would be the only stumbling block still standing in their way…

Throttle Syndicate Graphic Kit of the Week

Fasthouse Suzuki

Price: $199.99

Throttle Syndicate is a new name in the motorcycle graphics game, but the company has been around for years and has amassed more Amateur National, Supercross, and National MX Championships to list. Long-time sponsors of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM teams, as well as Kawasaki Team Green and more, Throttle Syndicate is known for exceptional quality, perfect fit, and awesome designs.

Throttle Syndicate is the only graphics manufacturer that is officially licensed to create Fasthouse team bike kits, and they have versions of the kit for every make and model motorcycle. This Suzuki RM-Z450 is likely the best-looking Suzuki we’ve ever laid our eyes on, and man we’d sure love it if our name was in the place where those numberplates say “Your Name!” You’ve probably noticed that the Suzuki is equipped with fluorescent yellow Acerbis plastics, and that’s part of the reason the bike looks so cool. That’s also one of the things that make Throttle Syndicate so accommodating: they can work with non-OEM colors as they create your custom design.

The close proximity between the Throttle Syndicate and Fasthouse headquarters – and the great working relationship between the brands – ensure that they freshest FH designs will always be available at throttlesyndicate.com

We’ve relied on the Throttle Syndicate crew for years and have consistently been blown away by their products. Two thumbs up from Team SML. CLICK HERE to customize and order!

Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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  1. Jordan May 30, 2019

    @swapmoto how many cool finds or discoveries or garage finds do you come across!? I’d die to hang out with you for a day in SoCal

  2. Jenn May 30, 2019

    I’m pretty sure my husbands buddy has a pair of these too!

  3. Brandon sanchez May 31, 2019

    Run those goggles they are sick 😂

  4. Sam Melton June 12, 2019

    Wow those are trippy