The goggle market has never been healthier and with more riders than ever taking to the slopes on their bikes, more and more manufacturers are coming to the table to offer their optical expertise. One such brand, however, is doing things slightly differently and rather than offering their own range of designs and colours is instead handing over the keys of creativity to you, the customer. Melon Optics is the brainchild of British expat James Pointer, who, back in 2013, decided it was time to create his own eyewear brand. With a background in snow and water sports, a snow google and a range of sunglasses were a logical first step - all of which were customizable. But after receiving requests from his friends for a bike specific goggle, James went back to the drawing table. The Parker MX is the world's first fully customizable bike specific goggle - a rare thing that could be a lot of fun to create and own. With that in mind, we pinned James down and asked him a few questions about Melon Optics and their arrival in the MTB world...
Let's talk about Crowdfunding and why you’ve chosen to utilize it and what are you offering early supporters? We ran a really successful crowd funding campaign when we launched our snow goggles, so it only made sense for us to do the same for our MTB/MX goggles. It's a great platform for spreading the word and building a community of early adopters. We plan to offer some limited edition lenses through the Kickstarter campaign and a limited number of super low "earlybird" prices.
What was the impetus behind moving into the bike specific goggle market and what do you think Melon Optics can bring to the table? We started working on the goggles during the winter of 2013, shortly after releasing our first snow goggles, so it's been over two years in the making. Both friends and customers had been asking if we were going to produce MTB/MX goggles for a while, so we knew the demand for a custom goggle was there and it was an exciting new project for us to embark on. We’ve concentrated on producing a goggle that really competes with the best on the market in terms of performance and style, whilst offering the concept of customization, which is completely new to the industry.
Can you tell us about the ability for your customers to customise your products? We’re bringing fun to the table, looking outside the box and letting you choose how your goggle or sunglasses look, rather than us. We’ll be starting with 240 custom frame / strap / lens combinations for the Parker MX and growing that number quickly. We’ve already got some really nice patterns and colourways that we’re lining up for next season, which we can’t wait to drop.
What’s the turnaround like and how much will the Pasrker MX cost? We have next day delivery in the UK, around three days within Europe and 7-10 days worldwide. The Parker MX will retail for $59.99 (USD), $79.99 (CAD), €59.99 (EU) and £45 (GBP).
Not wanting to grow up and to stop doing seasons combined with a frustration with what was available on the optics market at the time. We wanted to be able to offer something unique and at a reasonable price point and creating custom eye-wear was just that...- James on why he started his own brand, Melon Optics.
And does individual component availability play a factor and what happens if there’s a stock issue? We do our best to keep stock in line with what we expect demand to be for any given season. There are of course instances where a certain strap design or lens colour sells out faster than expected, but for the most part our stock levels are pretty in tune.
Looking at the technical side of things, what kind of features can we expect as far as lens and frame technology? We’ve worked hard on making sure air flow is optimised through our 360 venting system and antifog Lexan lenses. Nick Pescetto has been putting them to the test in the jungle here in Bali where it’s super hot and humid, whilst Linda (Paluc) has been riding them when she can in the Slovenian winter. They’ve been performing exceptionally in both climates, so we’re pretty stoked on the result.
What kind of accessories and lenses will be available for the Parker MX goggle? We’ll be offering both clear and mirrored lenses and extra straps that can be easily switched out using our 'SwitchFast' strap system.
With tear-offs being increasingly banned both in moto and MTB (BDS and EWS), where do you stand on this issue and are you planning to develop your own roll-off system? We’ll be offering tear-offs from the initial point of launch, but we are also in the process of developing our own roll-off system...
Where did your relationship with Nick Pescetto come from and will see any more riders from the MTB world sporting Melon Optics?
Nick and I actually ended up living together by chance in Bali. We got chatting about Melon Optics one day in the surf and I mentioned that we had a MTB goggle in the pipeline and the rest worked itself out from there. It's great with him being around so much and working with the Bali Bike Park as it means we're able to chat face to face pretty often and work on new ideas and concepts. Other than that we're also working with Slovenian rider Linda Paluc and are in talks with a couple of others, so watch this space!
What does the future hold for Melon Optics? We want to keep pushing the envelope of what’s being done in the industry while designing new strap and frame patterns that you don’t currently see on the market. We plan to work on some sick collab models (some lined up already) and the use of innovative new materials.
Head on over to Melon Optics for more and stay tuned for our Parker MX goggle review soon...