Competitive triathletes are always looking for an edge, whether it’s to shave seconds off of transition times, improve aerodynamics on the bike, or increase comfort. So it’s no surprise that technology plays a big role in the sport. Faster, lighter bikes, wetsuits, and even shoelaces have been designed and tweaked for optimum performance. So why not swim goggles?
Blueseventy, a company dedicated to making gear for open water swimmers and triathletes has developed the world’s first carbon fiber swim goggles, the carbonRZR, and they sent me a pair to try out. Carbon fiber is no longer a new phenomenon – its strength to weight characteristics are unmatched and thus makes it a great material for everything from racing bikes to airplane fuselages. But blueseventy has taken carbon fiber to another level, using a new, proprietary carbon fiber polymer (CFP) that is purported to be much stronger than the standard polycarbonate that is used for the majority of swim eyewear out there. I won’t get into the chemistry here (frankly, it’s beyond me), and it’s not something you think about when you’re elbowing your way through the pack around the first buoy. Suffice it to say, these things are very light and very tough.
The lakes are still iced over where I live, so I took the carbonRZR’s to the pool where I swim my winter laps. It wasn’t their light weight that initially impressed me. It was the comfortable fit. The goggles come with an ingenious rubber strap that is easy to adjust and not as tacky as the usual silicone you find on most goggles. Rigid, molded eye cups are connected by a nose bridge that can be swapped out to fine tune the fit and the rubber pads nestle into the eye sockets with minimal fuss. Additionally, the goggles will be sold with different tinted lenses for different conditions. The test pair I got came with dark, mirrored lenses (think California Highway Patrol) that weren’t ideal for an indoor pool but would be excellent for sunny open water glare. The scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses are treated with an anti-fog solution so no spit and polish is necessary. Clarity and peripheral vision were excellent and there was zero leakage during my lap swims.
The carbonRZR goggles will make their debut this spring and no doubt tri geeks will line up to get them to gain that extra edge in this summer’s Xterra or Ironman series. Just remember that you saw them here first.
Buy Now: $100 (available in Spring 2010)