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The Question: Tear Offs-Good or Bad?

16:55 20th February 2013 by Billy Thackray

Discarded tear-offs are becoming an increasingly common sight in our woods, forests and badger holes up and down the country.

Tear-offs were almost floating down the little rivers on the track after it was raining pretty much all day long today.

Tear-offs in the mud. Photo: Sebastian Shieck.

I’m not going to have a rant about littering, because like the rest of you I hate it too. We should leave nothing in the woods but tyre marks, maybe a manmade booter or two, small amounts of bodily fluids, perhaps the inevitable drop of chainlube (bio of course) and at a ‘push’ a poo. But that’s it.

Goggle Lenses are expensive, they do scratch and do need protecting. But at a race event, should we expect the organisers to pick up our jettisoned vision strips or should we be taking more responsibility? And do we really need to be chucking tear offs while on a weekend ride in the woods just practising? If we’re not on a timed run then the simplest method is just sticking the used tear off in your pocket.

What are the alternatives?

Biodegradable tear offs

Biodegradable tear offs

Well, a US company, biotearoffs.com, make some biodegradable tear offs. Not sure how long they take to degrade and it’s still littering in my eyes though.

Defender Mudguard

Dfender Mudguard

How about a decent mudguard? Keep the shit from flying off your front wheel is half the problem. The Powa Dfender works well.

Smith roll off goggles

Smith roll off goggles

Smith do a good roll off system. 25 to 35 clear pulls per cannister.

The RedRaven speed view system.

The RedRaven speed view system.

Or a snazzy wireless set up like these RedRaven Speedviews?

This superhydrophobic stuff looks good but dries to to a translucent white colour so would obscure your vision. If only the boffins can make it transparent so it can be applied to a lens then we’re on to a winner.

Windscreen wipers?

Windscreen wipers?

Errr…not sure about this one though.

So what do you lot think? Do you have any suggestions ideas about the tear off solution? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.

  1. Dave

    I find tearoffs arent great because you get air bubbles between the tearoff and the lens and you cant see shit! riprolls and a decent mudguard/marshguard are the answer.

    Definitely don’t like seeing tearoffs all over the place in the woods, giving the dog walkers and busibodies more things to moan about.

    1. Benny

      There are air bubble because you’re using laminated tear offs. You’re meant to put the whole stack on and fold the little handle things over and clip them on.

  2. Cyrus

    It’s the same little shit heads who litter the woods with cans of monster and various other bits of assorted crap who discard tear-offs every weekend.
    Full race kit but no clue. No respect for nature, shared spaces or other people. We all know who they are.

    Outside of a race run there is absolutely no excuse , much less any need for them. And at a race, there should be a shared responsibility that everyone should pick up discarded tearoffs wherever they find them.

  3. Gabe

    Personally i find the only way to really make sure you can see where you are going on really muddy days is to take your goggles off. and blink alot. go figure. find goggles well handy in the dry for keeping the dust out, but in the wet they fog up and get coated in gloop as fast as i can pull tear offs. Is the real reason we like tearoffs the same reason some people make braaaaap noises when cornering? i think so…maybe.

  4. Gren

    I have raced downhill for over 7 years and my argument is that there is a need for tear offs. The reason i say this is because when you are on it on a race run and 0.1 of a second is the difference between 1st and 2nd every bit of clear vision can only be a good thing. There is a fine art to goggle prep in the wet just ask any decent racer Mx or Downhill and they will tell you spend the time preping your goggles right and it can make all the difference.As regards when practicing i think there is still a need for them but there should be bins at all tracks at the top and bottom of the track for people to put there used tear offs in. That would go a long way i feel to solving this problem its not tear offs that are to blame its ignorant people that need to take a more responsible attitude towards how they conduct themselves when in the forest or woods or at there local trails.

    1. Leon

      bins at the top and bottom wont help , people dont pull a tear off then put it in their pocket…

      And I can’t see many people stopping half way down the hill to pick them up.

      1. Hancock

        I can think of ways to motivate them, outside of finals and seeding, anyone caught chucking tear offs by the marshals gets the honour of walking back up the track to retrieve it before they’re allowed another run. No arguments, your bike can stay in the timing tent.
        Picking them up after race day’s not so bad, there’s always crap and tape to retrieve anyway. During practice it’s pure lazyness to chuck ‘em.

    2. Gabe

      why would you need tearoffs in practice? quali/race run I can see an argument for them, although I have my reservations. But during practice??

  5. Ben@MOTO

    Billy, don’t forget the old-school cheapo MX solution – one solitary tear-off tied to your goggle strap with a bit of string. Tear it off when it gets filthy, let it flap around besides your head making a racket and then wash it in some soapy water at the finish and re-fit it. Hey presto. My dad swore by it. I’m sure he got me through an entire season on one tear-off pack that way.
    It did work…honest

    1. unleash

      haha i might try that as im a bit of a miser myself and cant stand rubbish in the woods and fields.

    2. billy

      Ha, yep, meant to add a tear-off string piccie. Seems like a bloody good idea.

      1. matt

        heard fishing line is a good one to use for tying them on

    3. nojzilla

      was just gonna suggest something like that, a retention system so tearoffs are NOT discarded along the trail but in a bin at the car park.Personaly I cannot wait untill the boffins make that slick stuff 100% transparent for goggle lenses

      1. nojzilla

        P.S i have snow board/ski jacket coated in teflon, water literaly just runs off it!! never been snow boarding though :)

  6. Jack

    Im a big fan of tear offs and looking after my goggles there fore a big year off fan, over this winter I have started using a marsh guard and still have 2 year offs on my goggles to protect the lens and before the marsh guard I was tearing off at the bottom of each run blasting through tear offs in no time but I always managed to put the used ones in a bin bag in the van now using a marsh guard I’m running the same 2 tear offs all day so my answer is use a marsh guard and tear off less this may reduce those retards who can’t find a bin amount of rubbish dropped.

  7. Craig Quik

    I usually stick a tearoff on if it’s muddy, and just give it a wipe when necessary. It’s more to protect the lens than anything. No need to be dropping them if you’re not on a race run, and at races, most people help pull down the tape so I reckon they (everyone) should help clear up stray tearoffs too.

    1. Craig Quik

      * pull down the tape at the end of the race

  8. Rushmore

    Why can’t we get that same mad coating that Oakley use on their jackets on the lenses, the stuff that stops liquid from forming on the surface of the fabric and instead causes it to roll off…once the mud gets to a certain thickness it probably won’t do much good but real watery sloppy mud, the kind of stuff that pastes your vision like your riding through a mud waterfall should slip off a treat…otherwise we gotta be more selective of when we use em…only give them to teams to issue them to the riders for example…stop average joe from chucking them in a hedge every sat, he don’t need em.

  9. Si Paton

    At the BDS were more than happy to pick up any tear-offs on track. What were not happy with is riders who pull them off on the start and finish line. There will be plenty of bins to pop them in, that is all we ask!
    Out of races, think of tear-offs as crisp packets (rubbish) and therefore no need to discard trackside. Si..

  10. bedders

    My solution is to ride so slowly that the mud doesn’t flick up into my eyes. Seriously though, this is a litter issue, not a tear-offs one. I can see that at races a practical solution is for the Marshalls to collect along with tape and other litter, but in all other circumstances there’s just no excuse from any POV to leave them trackside if you feel its necessary to use them.
    The wipers would be good if the lady wearing them came as part of the package. There, back to humour.

  11. JDrew

    I tend to run 1 tear off over my lense to keep it scratch free all year I may run max of 2 if its a super muddy ride. (I dont race that often). If I do pull it during a ride I put it in my pocket and throw it away later.

  12. Brian Hanley

    iv started to use rain-x on my lenses and wash off the mud with a sports water bottle, it’s an improvement. i usually don’t bother with goggles most of the time neways.

  13. Digger

    The Smith roll off’s seem like a great idea until you actually try to use them in Scotland. The only work in completely moisture free conditions, like your front room. Shame really as apart from making you look like a downhiller, they are a brilliant idea and way better than littering.

  14. Big Bird

    At races, you could offer prizes to kids that pick up a given number of tear-offs. Problem solved.

  15. dexter

    Not that i should be surprised but I thought most of the above responses are equally sensible and responsible, unlike the attitude taken by our motorised off road equivalents (I race both enduros and hare and hounds and thus feel qualified to criticise) where tear offs are usually liberally sprinkled over fells, forestry and even pasture land, granted they are officially not supposed to be used in time card enduros but some folk don’t seem to care or even give a fook, they should be just banned, simples.


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