If you’ve been cycling long enough you’re probably already wearing cycling eyewear when on the road. The rush of wind against your face would leave you in tears if you didn’t use them. Debris, rain, mud, and absent-minded insects can easily find their way into your eyeball, with the high-speeds of road and downhill trail riding giving you little to no time to initiate a blink.
CYCLING SPECIFIC EYEWEAR
Non-cycling specific glasses aren’t bad – they just aren’t as well catered to cycling as performance eyewear is. There’s a distinguishable difference between them and they’re well worth how much you pay for them.
Firstly, bike-specific glasses are designed to wrap around the head and fully cover the eyes, meaning you get full coverage, even from debris coming your way from obtuse angles. Along with providing a wide field of view, this wrap-around design also does a better job of keeping the lenses in place than non-bike specific glasses, especially over bumps or if you take a quick look down at your cyclocomputer.
Secondly, These glasses are made to be light, aerodynamic and sturdy enough for the everyday demands of a cyclist.
Finally, with the array of tints and colors they come in, you can make a strong style statement with your fancy cycling apparel.
FEATURES TO LOOKOUT FOR
UV PROTECTION – UV rays are quite harmful out on long sunny rides when the sun is beaming down on you – the worst part is not knowing how much damage the rays are doing to your eyes because you simply can’t tell until it’s too late.
PHOTOCHROMATIC LENSES – These kinds of lenses automatically change their tint depending on the level of light exposure. While the technology comes at a price, it’s helpful to those who cycle in continuously varying conditions.
EXTRA LENSES – Most cycling eyewear manufacturers offer additional lenses as a part of the package on mid-range to high-end models. It’s a super helpful feature for riders who cycle in vastly varying light conditions and even at night. These lenses usually feature red, black, yellow and clear lenses.
ANTI-FOGGING – Many eyewear manufacturers claim to provide anti-fog coatings on the inner side of glasses. This is a great feature to have for all cyclists especially commuters who are in stop-go traffic. When you slow down or come to stop, the heat from your body will usually lead to fogging up of your glasses – this can be quite irritating as you have to take them off slightly to reduce the fogging.
The anti-fog coating can, of course come off over time before which you need to reapply it. Manufacturers like Oakley, Tifosi and many others have played it smart by offering vents or cut-outs in their eyewear that vents out any heat and prevents fogging.
NOSE GRIPPERS – Perhaps one of the biggest differences between standard and performance cycling eyewear is the fit and nose gripper system. Fit is essential – you’re often sweating profusely while cycling, having your glasses slide down your face is not a good feeling. It can get quite irritating actually. To resolve this, most cycling eyewear comes with adjustable nose pieces, while silicone grippers along the legs ensure the glasses stay in place during even the bumpiest rides.
WHAT DO I NEED?
The kind of eyewear you need depends completely on what kind of riding you’re into. Off-road and road eyewear also differ and your discipline of riding matters too.
Broadly there are three different styles of frame design: full frame, half frame, and frameless. All offer similar function (although some full-frame cycling glasses) might have a problem where the upper part of the frame is in your eye-line when on the drops), so which type you decide to go for depends on the look that suits you and the priority you give to what kind of riding you’ll use it for.
Whilst most styles of sunglasses can be used for either road or off-road riding, you should still consider the type of riding you’ll be doing. Time trialists and triathletes might prefer to go for rim-less frames so that, from their aggressive aero position, there’s nothing obstructing their line of vision. Winter commuters and those who enjoy night riding might prefer a clear lens or a style that comes with interchangeable lenses to cover all conditions. Yellow lenses are great for night rides – they brighten up your view and prevent headlight glare to a certain extent.
The most important thing is that the frame fits well. The tips of the arms should fit snugly around your temple just above your ears, holding the cycling glasses securely in place even when you’re looking down and swinging your head from side to side when sprinting out of the saddle.
Don’t go for something too tight as the discomfort and pain will only set in during longer rides. Most reputable brands have multiple different frame sizes that cater to all face sizes.
Aside from the glasses themselves, there are a number of other little things you should be looking for when buying your cycling glasses. You should be after a hardshell case that will be useful if you’re throwing the sunglasses in a bag and traveling with them. Hope for a soft microfibre cloth with your glasses (usually included) to help keep the lenses clean. And finally, if you’ve got bad eyesight but can’t wear contact lenses then make sure you get a pair of prescription lenses.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: Merida One Twenty 9.600 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010