Retro Motorcycle Goggles – Halcyon Mk49, Mk9 & Mk410 Compared

One of my more successful accessory buys was a pair of retro motorcycle goggles. I’ve had the Halcyon Mk9 aviator goggles nearly 5 years now and here you can read how they’ve coped with the Manx weather and how they compare to the Halcyon Mk49 and Mk410’s.

Wearing an open face helmet when riding your classic, custom or retro motorcycle definitely looks the part but the constant eye watering at anything over 40 mph makes it both uncomfortable and unsafe.

If you have tried wearing motorcycle sunglasses then you’ll know that while they keep a lot of the debris and wildlife out of your eyes they do next to nothing to stop the tears rolling down your face in everything but the warmest of weather.

The solution is a pair of quality vintage aviator goggles. The best manufacturer of these are the hand made Halcyon goggles.

Top Choice
Halcyon Mk49 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles Halcyon Mk49 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles
4.5
$96.95

These are the top of the range Halcyon goggles. Based on the original RAF design, Halcyon have been making the Mk49 for half a decade.

Pros:
  • Traditional WW2 pilot design
  • Hand made in Britain
  • Chrome over brass frames
  • Hand stitched soft leather
  • Anti fog vents
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 11:06 am GMT
Best Budget Buy
Halcyon Mk49 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles Halcyon Mk9 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles
4.5
$61.95

Same quality build and identical design as the MK49 but with a faux leather mask for those wanting vegan motorcycle gear or just looking for a cheaper option

Pros:
  • Great price
  • Hand made in Britain
  • Chrome plated brass frames
  • Anti fog vents
Cons:
  • Fake leather
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 11:00 am GMT
Curved Lense Option
Halcyon Mk49 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles Halcyon Mk410 Aviator Goggles with Curved Lens
4.5
$85.95

Identical to the Mk49 goggles except these have a curved lens instead of the more vintage looking 2 piece design.

Pros:
  • Curved lenses
  • Hand made in Britain
  • Chrome over brass frames
  • Hand stitched soft leather
  • Anti fog vents
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 11:10 am GMT

Table of Contents

Halcyon Vintage Goggles Review

Halcyon have been producing their retro aviator motorcycle goggles for half a century from their small workshop in Hertford, North London. The design is based on the traditional RAF pilot goggles worn by the flying aces of WWII during the Battle of Britain.

All Halcyon goggles are handmade using only quality materials. While copycat manufacturers use steel or molded plastic to lower costs, Halcyon continue the tradition of using solid brass for their frames ensuring rust will never be a problem for the owner.

Once the frames have been polished and chrome plated or powder coated they are hand stitched to the padded face mask just as they were by the Women’s Voluntary Services during WWII.

While the review that follows is based on my own Mk9 goggles, each of the Halcyon goggles featured on this page vary only slightly.

My Halcyon Mk9 goggles which I purchased early in 2017

As you can see I’ve unintentionally added some patina by gaining a few scuffs around the edges and the brass is showing through where the powder coating has started to wear off. My fault, I carry my goggles loose inside a swing arm bag during the summer months together with a few tools (force of habit – it’s a Triumph).

Importantly though, there’s no scratches on the lenses and these are the original set. If they were to get damaged though, replacements are widely available, as are the headbands and the adjuster screw.

The lenses are made from shatterproof and scratch resistant polycarbonate and meets British Safety Institutes standards – BS4110. They also provide 99.9% UV protection.

Notice the 3 strips on the fully adjustable headband? They’re silicon to ensure the strap doesn’t slip off your helmet and it works extremely well.

Major TipAll 3 Halcyon goggles featured here are designed to go over an open face lid. Do not be tempted to wear them directly on your head because those silicon bands will grab your hair and getting it off will be painful. Ask me how I know!

Also notice how the headband clips protrude out and slightly forward which allows a close fit to your face while being worn over your open face crash helmet. Basically, those clips push the mask into the helmet and onto your face to ensure a tight fit.

Adjustable bridge nose ensures a great fit.

Adjusting this stainless steel threaded bar over the nose bridge adjusts the distance between the lenses so you can set them up for a perfect fit.

Internal view

The face mask is hand stitched over a soft foam padding which means you can get a good tight fit but they remain comfortable even on a long ride. These are Mk9 goggles which uses faux leather, the Mk49 and Mk410 both use genuine leather.

You can see how the lenses are made using the traditional method of splitting them into 2 parts so that they actually wrap around the side of your eyes. This is so you have peripheral vision.

The split is actually not that noticeable once you are wearing them and you get used to it after 10 minutes or so. Being able to see what’s coming in the corner of your eye is definitely an added bonus.

What you can’t see in the photo is the 4 tiny louvres in the brass frame which ensure you don’t fog up. The holes face away from the front so that they let air circulate to stop fogging but not enough to start your eyes watering.

The only time I have ever had these goggles fog up on me was one time when I was stood at traffic lights for a good while. It was very cold and I was bent forward warming my hands on the engine.

The moment the lights changed and I was moving they cleared instantly. I can’t remember it happening other than that one time.

How Do They Perform?

So they look the part but how do they actually perform when worn out on the open road? The short answer is very well.

Thanks to the padding they are very comfortable but its the protection they give you that is the stand out feature. I can do lap after lap of the TT course knowing my eyes aren’t going to water up at any point (even when I’m coming back over the mountain) or collect any of the local insect life.

Riding in the dirty air of a vehicle in front you is no longer a problem either, no more dropping back out of harms way of the debris or pushing hard for the overtake.

Unlike when you’re wearing motorcycles sun glasses, the goggles remain in place regardless of the speeds reached.

As an added bonus I’ve also found helmet lifting at 80+ mph is a lot less less noticeable thanks to the goggle strap. If your open faced helmet has the stud fastener at the back to hold a goggle strap it is well worth using it.

I ride for pleasure so the bike stays in the shed if its raining but I have been caught out in a downpour more than once.

There was no water penetration down the back of the padding which was a pleasant surprise. Probably due to the protection the goggles get from sitting inside the open faced helmet. I suspect if you wore these or any other goggle without a helmet it may well be an issue.

Because I don’t do much wet weather riding my first instinct is to slow down when I run into a shower but I found this actually lowers visibility as the water stays on the lens. Turning your head slightly either way helps the water blow off as does speeding up a bit.

I am more than happy with the performance of these goggles and I have no problem recommending the Halcyon goggles to you.

Plus, they just look cool.

retro motorcycle goggles on a Caberg Freeride helmet
Here’s the Mk9 goggles on my Caberg Freeride lid

Top 3 Halcyon Motorcycle Goggles

I spent a fair bit of time first off researching who made the most authentic aviator goggles and then once I had settled on Halcyon, deciding which of their goggles to actually buy.

In the end I had narrowed it down to the following 3 pair.

Halcyon Mk49 Goggles

Top Choice
Halcyon Mk49 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles Halcyon Mk49 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles
4.5
$96.95

These are the top of the range Halcyon goggles. Based on the original RAF design, Halcyon have been making the Mk49 for half a decade.

Pros:
  • Traditional WW2 pilot design
  • Hand made in Britain
  • Chrome over brass frames
  • Hand stitched soft leather
  • Anti fog vents
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 11:06 am GMT

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that it was the price that put me off buying the Mk49 and the reason why I went for the Mk9 goggles shown below.

That was 5 years ago though and now I know how well they perform and last I woudn’t hesitate getting the Mk49 as my next pair should I ever need to replace the Mk9’s.

Halcyon Mk9 Compact Goggles

Best Budget Buy
Halcyon Mk9 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles Halcyon Mk9 Aviator Motorcycle Goggles
4.5
$61.95

Same quality build and identical design as the MK49 but with a faux leather mask for those wanting vegan motorcycle gear or just looking for a cheaper option

Pros:
  • Great price
  • Hand made in Britain
  • Chrome plated brass frames
  • Anti fog vents
Cons:
  • Fake leather
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 11:00 am GMT

Still chrome over brass to ensure rust is never going to be a problem and still adjustable. The only differences are:

  • The lower price
  • Fake leather

These were the goggles I ended up purchasing. If you only wear vegan motorcycle gear or the fact its faux leather just doesn’t matter to you, then honestly, there’s no other difference between these and the mk49 goggles so save yourself 30+ bucks or quid and get these.


Halcyon Mk410 Goggles

Curved Lense Option
Halcyon Mk410 Aviator Goggles with Curved Lens Halcyon Mk410 Aviator Goggles with Curved Lens
4.5
$85.95

Identical to the Mk49 goggles except these have a curved lens instead of the more vintage looking 2 piece design.

Pros:
  • Curved lenses
  • Hand made in Britain
  • Chrome over brass frames
  • Hand stitched soft leather
  • Anti fog vents
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 11:10 am GMT

The only difference between these and the Mk49 motorcycle goggles is that the lenses on these are curved instead of the more vintage looks of the split lenses design.

If you think the split lenses might prove to be a problem (they won’t) or you just prefer them without then these would be for you.


Alternative Retro Goggles

Best Alternative Option
Bertoni Vintage Aviator Goggles Bertoni Vintage Aviator Goggles
4.0
$59.00

These Italian goggles look great but they use steel rather than brass.

Pros:
  • Proper retro looks
  • Great price
Cons:
  • Chrome plate over steel rather than brass
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 12:09 am GMT

I like the look of these but when compared to the Halcyon goggles a couple of things put me off.

First off I wasn’t keen on the large branding on the headband but the deal breaker for me was that Bertoni use chrome over steel instead of over brass like the Halcyon goggles.

Probably not an issue for many of you who ride in better climates but I just think that by remaining true to the traditional method of aviator goggle construction (using brass rather than steel), Halcyon had put more consideration into the climate their goggles may have to cope with.

Still, they do look great and if you ride an Italian classic motorcycle such as the Original Ducati Scrambler, these may well be the goggles for you.

OTG Motorcycle Goggles

Best OTG Goggles
Bobster Night Hawk II OTG Goggles Bobster Night Hawk II OTG Goggles
4.0
$35.61

For those who wear eye glasses, these goggles are designed to be worn over them.


Pros:
  • Transitional lenses
  • Suitable for night riding
  • Scratch resistant, shatterproof lenses
  • Comes with carry case
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2022 12:10 am GMT

When I was researching vintage aviator motorcycle goggles I found several reviews that said the Halcyons were OTG (Over the Top of Glasses) compliant.

According to Halcyon that isn’t true but they did say that some riders have told them their glasses do fit under them, so it all depends on the style of the frames.

I just tried the Mk9 goggles over my reading glasses and they don’t fit over them.

These Bobster Night Hawks though have been specifically designed to be OTG compliant. They have a groove on each side so that your frames can sit comfortably without pressing into the side of your head and there’s plenty of room behind the lenses for your eye glass frames.

While they don’t have the vintage aviator design they are pretty cool. I particularly like the fact they are transitional lenses. There’s nothing worse than coming around a corner only to be blinded by the low Sun.

I’ve ordered myself a pair so I’ll be doing a review once I’ve given them a decent try out.

Who Are Halcyon Aviator Motorcycle Goggles For?

We restore and ride a classic motorcycle or buy the equivalent retro version because we love the styling of a bygone era.

Halcyon vintage motorcycle goggles add to that styling.

When I ordered my Triumph Bobber in early 2017 I spent the 3 months waiting for delivery researching an open face helmet that would be in keeping with the Bobbers styling.

Once I had that sorted I started looking for a pair of retro goggles that would not only be in keeping with the looks of my bike, but also match the design and build quality.

The way I looked at it was that Triumph R&D had spent 18 months and millions of pounds trying to make the Bobber look like it just rode in from the 1930’s. I wasn’t going to ruin all that effort by wearing a full face lid.

If quality as well as old school styling is essential to you and you fall into any of the list below then the Halcyon vintage goggles were made for you.

  • Vintage car owners
  • Vintage and classic motorcycle owners
  • Harley Davidson cruiser owners
  • Modern classic Triumph owners
  • Cafe racer owners
  • Any rider of a retro motorcycle
  • Any rider using a open face helmet
  • Any pilot of an open cockpit plane

FAQ

Related Posts

Leave a comment