We’ve been putting the Airflaps goggle ventilation system, designed for off road use to reduce lens fog without removing your goggles, to the Enduro21 test.
French company, Airflaps arrived on our radar in 2018 with their new goggle ventilation system. The simple attachments stick on the side of your helmet and Airflaps claim they are the answer to off road riders goggles problems with less heat, less fog, better vision, improved comfort and therefore safer riding.
But do they work? We’ve had several sets on test for 10 months, testing on different helmet brands, with different goggles and in different riding conditions to answer that simple question.
- Compatible with roll-offs and tear-offs.
- Prevents fog formation.
- Does not prevent goggles from sitting like normal.
- Saves you from having to take off the goggle, reducing the risk of eye injury.
- Relieves the tension on the forehead during high-speed riding.
- Goggles can be worn while waiting at a start without them getting wet.
- Handling arm can be positioned up or downside of the goggle strap.
- Helmet can be removed without removing goggles.
- The can be removed from the helmet by unscrewing the flaps off their mounts.
- 10mm adjustment for perfect fit of goggles to the face.
- Each side weighs 28grams.
I must admit a bit of scepticism before I tried the Airflaps system. There are a lot of gimmicky products in this world and they can sometimes promise more than they deliver. If I’m honest until the first time I really needed them, I was still thinking the same about the Airflaps.
Then one day, a typical damp day riding in mist, some rain and low cloud in some hills, I got hot, pushing the bike a bit through trees up hills and suddenly the Airflaps made sense.
I use anti-mist on my lenses but there are always times when you’re working hard, not travelling fast so air flow isn’t getting in the goggles, and that’s when they work. In that situation the Airflaps let the air in but keep your eyes protected from branches, sticks and any flying stones off back wheels in front of you.
For someone like me who spends a decent amount of time extreme riding, often with my goggles backwards on my helmet and off my eyes, Airflaps offer a better, safer solution – I’ve had branches and stones smack me in the eyes and it is never clever or funny.
Hot weather venting
At the other end of the weather barometer, on hot sunny days, the Airflaps let air in and keep your face cooler. On a track training session, for example doing 20 or 30 minutes of constant hard riding, having the option to flip the flaps brings some relief to my hot head. Most of the time I’ve found myself flipping the flaps as I come off the track, riding to the van or on a transfer section rather than in the test. It depends how long the test or riding session is.
Are they easy to fit?
Airflaps attach with sticky patches, much like those you find on a GoPro mount which makes them dead easy to fit. It is important to get the Airflaps in the right place before you apply any great pressure to get the thing stuck properly. Once they are on though they stay put.
They are adjustable 10mm either way and it is important to get the angle correct to match the usual position of the goggle strap on your helmet. I tried the Airflaps on different helmets and with different goggles and the key thing is to position them in the correct place before fitting.
Another point to bear in mind is different helmets have different shaping, visor positions and design features which can affect precisely where you are able to fit the Airflaps. In short it is best to weigh up exactly where you want them before you peel the sticker backing off.
The patches are available separately giving the option for switching the system between different helmets. We’ve crashed in them too, a light crash it must be said but the helmet hit the floor and the Airflap did not break off.
Are there any negatives?
A small one. When you have the Airflaps flipped out, and the goggles forward off your face, it does reduce peripheral vision a small amount naturally because they are forward of your face. That is the trade-off which might bother some people more than others.
Another point to make is your goggles don't slide on or off the helmet as easily as normal – or at least needs more care. They can get a bit ‘caught’ on the Airflaps when removing them especially when you’re knackered and your arm won’t do what you want!
Almost a year down the line testing Airflaps in all conditions I think most of the time the venting in your helmet and goggles allow air to flow pretty well so the Airflaps just sit there waiting to do their thing. But in extreme weather conditions, in both hot, cold and/or wet weather, they suddenly can make a difference and provide a solution to a perennial problem.
Don’t just take our word for it. There are some big name riders using the Airflaps system. Here’s a handy guide to how they work with Steve Holcombe, Andrea Verona and Christophe Nambotin.
Photo credit: Future7Media Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.email@example.com