It’s a question that every classic motorcyclist is likely to have asked during their riding days: should I buy a pair of goggles? And in answering the question we have to consider what it is that we are trying to get out of the experience?
For many of us, the point of purchasing an old bike has a lot to do with nostalgia. A chance to relive the glory days when rock ruled the airwaves and roll ruled the tarmac. And it therefore becomes necessary for us to recreate that experience as authentically as possible.
It’s all about style
So we buy the right jacket, boots, and even some leather gloves – after all, you wouldn’t want to turn up to a rally wearing a white tuxedo – and then we start to consider the headwear.
There are many options available to us here: full face or open face; visor, sunglasses or goggles. But for those of us who want to go the whole hog then there really is no other choice than to opt for the latter. It’s an image which is synonymous with riding a classic bike: a rider with a pair of leather goggles up over their helmet or covering their eyes. An image so iconic, that recently it even looked at home on the catwalk.
It’s not all about style
But wearing goggles goes beyond the aesthetic. Wearing goggles is about the feeling you get when you are wearing them. The feeling of the frame pushing up against your face. The feeling of being exposed to the elements. Or simply feeling like you’re a classic motorcyclist. So that when you’re out riding, with the wind rushing against your cheeks, the years are blown back and you’re reminded of the thrill you got out of riding these beautiful machines all those years ago.
It’s a matter of choice
Of course, there are a few downsides to wearing goggles. Your face is less protected; they can be difficult to clear when it’s raining; and some riders experience problems with them misting up until they get moving in those conditions. But when you’re cruising down an old country lane on a warm summer’s day and all you’re worried about is a bit of dust and debris, then the alternatives can feel like overkill (or underkill in the case of sunglasses which can allow grit to get into the eyes). And why would you be out on your bike in the beautiful countryside when it’s pouring down with rain anyhow?
So when you purchase a pair of motorcycle goggles you know that you’ll be buying into an equal share of style and substance. You’ll be giving yourself the opportunity to experience classic motorcycle riding in its purest form. And when you’re chatting with your mates outside the Ace CafÃ© with your goggles perched up over your helmet, you might even feel a little like Geoff Duke once again.