ProView – Julbo Lightyear Goggles Review
I started winter biking in Alaska in the late 90’s, gradually growing my cold weather and long-distance biking experience over the years. More recently I’ve explored ultra-distance winter racing, distances thus far up to 300 miles. Winter biking in these events usually means riding both day and night in a variety of weather conditions. When I consider a pair of goggles, I’m looking for something that will stay fog-free even when I’m working hard. I need something that will work day and night in extreme weather conditions, and I don’t want to mess with swapping lenses or other tasks that require fine control when the wind is blowing hard or it’s extremely cold.
Julbo Lightyear Goggles
Product Name: Julbo Lightyear Goggles
Product Description: The LIGHTYEAR is a multi-tasking all-conditions hero. Featuring our REACTIV lens technology for optimal terrain readability in all weather, no matter how fickle, and the integrated, magnetic SuperFlow Pro system that is easy to switch on or off for hassle-free fog management.
Offer price: MSRP: $300.00 - $320.00
Fantastic goggles for highly variable light conditions and high energy output activities.
- SuperFlow system prevents fogging
- Photochromic lens eliminates the need to change lens or carry a spare
- Reactiv lens not great in low light
- Lens difficult to pop out with mitts on
I was thrilled to test the Julbo Lightyear goggles, I’ve tried numerous other goggles but always have trouble with fogging and swapping lenses. The pair I tested came with the Reactiv Photochromic S0-4 lens, which means it’s clear when dark, but transitions darker for bright sun or mountain conditions.
Out of the box they were comfortable and a good fit for my relatively small head. They fit well both over a hat or integrated with a helmet. They have soft, thick foam that sits against the face, helping make a comfortable seal. The silicone lining and the extra wide strap worked well and held them in place whether with or without a helmet.
One problem I usually have with goggles is fogging. I often have multiple layers around my mouth and face, which limits airflow and when combined with high exertion means nearly every goggle I’ve tried fogs badly. The Lightyear goggles come with the SuperFlow Pro lens, an integrated magnetic hinge design for moisture management. Pop the lens out away from your face and you have airflow around nearly the entire lens, push it back in and it clicks tightly into place. The lens is meant to pop out easily while wearing gloves, but I often had to take off my large mitts to pop it out.
The SuperFlow system prevented fogging about 90% of the time. It did fail badly once during a 6-hour ride in -5 to -18-degree weather after I put it up on top of my helmet. Generally, I’ve been able to clear any fog by opening the lens, but in this case, it was there to stay. These are the only goggles I’ve used where you can usually clear the fog just by opening up the lens, no need to warm them up. Verdict – they do fog, but much much less than any other goggles I’ve used. With a better face mask system for extreme conditions I don’t think this would be as much of a problem.
The Reactiv lens was ideal in both dark and bright settings, at night it was clear and easy to see using a headlamp. In bright daylight it worked well, providing good contrast and shading. I found myself wishing the lens was totally clear in low light situations, the lens would stay tinted reducing light when there wasn’t much left.
Julbo doesn’t discuss any eco-friendly aspects of the company on their website, but they do offer a lifetime warranty to the original owner, and replacement parts or repairs are available for a nominal fee.
The Final Word
The Julbo Lightyear goggles are an excellent addition for any winter sports aficionado, especially those that enjoy high-energy activities. Innovative features like the SuperFlow system and Reactiv lens, durable construction, and lifetime warranty make them a solid investment, and they will certainly be with me on my next winter expedition!
About the Gear Tester
Amber Crawford spends her days studying water quality in Alaska, going on adventures with her two dogs, and trying to figure out how to fit all that winter gear on such a small bike. Her next big adventure is the Iditarod Trail Invitational.