100% Racecraft Plus
Not a super brand new product, the Racecraft Plus Goggle has been out since the beginning of the year, but 100% were pretty low key with the the introduction of the the new goggle and we felt that it deserved a closer look.
Speaking of look, without actually holding the Racecraft Plus, you can’t tell it apart from the standard Racecraft goggle. So, why is there a Plus in the name? Rigid, pre-curved, injection molded lenses. Unlike other goggles on the market that come with rigid lenses, the Racecraft Plus doesn’t employ any special hinges, closures, or magnets to hold it together. The hard, thick lens has a thinner, machined edge so it slips into the goggle just like a standard goggle lens does using the standard peg and slot system.
And that is where the beauty of this product shows up. Overall, 100% has a consumer-friendly approach with each of the goggle styles able to run the same lens and tear-offs since they are the same shape. To that point, the Racecraft Plus Goggle lens is also the same shape and has the same slot layout that the Accuri and Strata Goggles. That means if you already have any of 100% goggles, the Racecraft Plus pre-curved rigid lens will fit. To go over the goggle a little bit more, we grabbed Charles Castloo, 100%’s Sales and Marketing Manager to run us through the Plus.
Vital: The Oakley Airbrake was the first mx goggle to have a pre-curved rigid lens and that came out in the beginning of 2013. Has 100% been working on a rigid lens since then or is it a relatively new project?
Castloo: Somewhere in the middle. It absolutely started back then, but it didn’t start taking shape until more recently. The background on why it took a long time, one of the most important selling points of our current goggle range is that the same lens fits all the different goggles and same with tear-offs. From the $25 Strata to the $75 Racecraft, all the accessories are interchangeable, so it was a big challenge to have an injection molded lens that wouldn’t jeopardize that. The traditional thinking is that a thicker lens will make the goggle harder and not flex and the goggle will overall be better, but then it wouldn’t fit in the current goggle if we just made the lens thicker.
It seems very easy now, hindsight is 20/20, that we came up with the idea to machine the edge all the way around. But for quite a while we were racking our brains thinking, ‘How can we do this in a way that isn’t completely different than what we have.’
Given the simplicity of the Racecraft Plus lens, it sort of makes other injection molded lens goggles seem overbuilt/overcomplicated. Did you guys ever explore hinges and latches or anything like that?
We played around with some of that. Ultimately, the position that we were in a couple years ago when we were developing this, we absolutely wanted to have something simple. Now that doesn’t mean that is our strategy forever, but that was definitely the plan for the Racecraft Plus. The challenge was just, how can we make this new lens fit into what we already have without overcomplicating things. We strived to have a mechanism that would make putting in the lens easier within the platform we were already on, which was a lot of thinking and developing to find out we couldn’t really make that happen. Throughout that process it opened up our minds to come up with machining the edge down to a standard lens thickness. Looking back now its like, ‘Why the heck didn’t we think of this on day one?’
We know you can’t speak for any other company but, as far as you know, are all pre-curved rigid MX goggle lenses pretty much the same material, or is there anything unique to 100%’s lens?
They’re all pretty much the same. Everyone has their own little tweaks but they are mostly the same with the same manufacturing process. That is at least for all the goggles that I’ve seen.
An injection-molded lens is very different than stamped-out Lexan lenses that are pretty much the standard flat goggle lens. Did you have to find a different company or supplier to work with?
Yeah, they are totally different. The stamped-out Lexan is like a extruded sheet of Lexan material that is then cut out like a cookie cutter. One of the issues with those lenses is that, their natural state is flat, so when you curve it and put it into a goggle, it gets a little distorted, the visibility just isn’t as clear as it is in its natural state. That’s one of the advantages of the injection-molded pre-curved, its molded in the curved shape, the shape of a goggle. It’s at its most optically correct in the goggle. We didn’t have to go to a new manufacturer, but the machining of the edge did throw them for a loop. They’ve never done that to any lens that they’ve ever manufactured before.
Are these lenses essentially the same as the lenses in sunglasses?
No, I don’t think it is similar actually. I will say that we have our high definition technology called HiPER that, in the future, will be adapted into the moto goggles.
Other than optical clarity and feel, a rigid lens is more protective. Did you guys do any impact tests or anything like that?
Yes. For sure I know that there were some tests done shooting BBs at the lens at 300 fps from 10 feet away or something like that to pass a safety, Oakley type test. And it also went through the standard rating tests for safety goggle type standards.
Further Testing To Come
While this all sounds awesome on paper, we’ve played around with a pair a little bit and we can see why 100% were trying to figure out some mechanism to make talking out/putting in the lens easier. Since it is rigid, there is no give and getting all the pegs and slots lined up is a bit more of a pain than with standard flexible lenses.
Typically we would also say that a con would be the price when it comes to rigid lens goggles, but considering that the Racecraft Plus is only $10 more than the standard Racecraft (mirrored lens) goggle at $85, that isn’t a huge price jump. That being said, that still a pretty penny for goggles. But then the argument loops around again to the fact that you can buy just the lens ($27.50 - $39) if you have a set of Strata, Accuri, or Racecraft goggles.
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