Mountain Biking is a fantastic sport for both the weekend warrior or the seasoned pro’s amongst us, whether you’re riding on a quaint English countryside single-track or blasting down the side of a mountain in the French Alps at over 60mph, Mountain Biking is guaranteed to get your heart pounding and the adrenalin flowing! Now that you’ve invested £100’s or £1000’s of pounds on your weapon of choice (bike), helmet and clothing, you seriously need to consider buying an appropriate pair of sunglasses to not only protect your eyes from UV damage caused by the sun (even if you are out riding in Wales…) but also to protect your eyes from flying debris such as stones and mud, insects and branches, which could all potentially cause irreparable damage to your eyes and even blindness. As a keen cyclist myself who loves to get out in the countryside when I can I’m of the opinion that wearing decent eye protection whilst riding is just as important as wearing a correctly fitting helmet to help protect against injury.
I’ve got the gear, but have no idea… about appropriate eye wear…
Generally, wearing any sunglasses you would normally wear to a festival, in a beer garden, or just sunning yourself on a beach, is really not suitable for gunning it on a gravelly and bumpy single track. For a start fashionable sunglasses such as Ray-ban Aviators or Wayfarers may look cool but these styles are often loose fitting, more fragile, and feature non impact resistant lenses that will most likely fall off, break or get damaged by flying debris – Think of it like wearing flip flops, shorts and a T-shirt while riding a motorbike, not only will you look like a moron but you’re also very likely to get hurt if something goes wrong!
Top Tips for Choosing the Correct Eye Wear for Mountain Biking
1). Select a pair of sunglasses that have shatterproof lenses (see below). 2). Look for sunglasses that protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. 3). Find a frame that fits snugly on your face. Sunglasses need to fit well so that they’ll stay in place while you’re riding over bumpy terrain. Sunglasses that wrap around to the side of your eyes will also offer you more protection from debris and branches. 4). Buy sunglasses with a yellow lens if you plan on doing most of your rides at dusk or dawn. A yellow lens allows you to easily see through shadows that occur at these times of day. 5). Select a pair of sunglasses with rose or amber lenses for all-around conditions in any light or terrain. 6). Avoid polarised lenses as these will not give you enough contrast when you’re riding in shady forest/wooded areas, early morning or evening, so there is the danger that you will not see rocks or rutted areas which could potentially cause an accident. 7). Attach a sunglasses strap around your neck to prevent lost eye wear on the trail, this will also prevent your sunglasses falling to the floor and being damaged if they do become dislodged from your face at any point.
Buy Sunglasses with Shatterproof Lenses for the Ultimate in Protection
For the ultimate in eye protection we can highly recommend the ImpactX Lenses from Rudy Project, these are strong and will not break if you’re hit by debris or branches while riding. Rudy Project claim these lenses are stronger than Polycarbonate and Polymide lenses. Not all Sunglasses feature such strength technology but MTB’ers should, at the very least, always consider looking to buy sunglasses that feature a polycarbonate lens rather than an easily breakable glass or CR39 lens.
Sunglasses we can Recommend for the best MTB Experience
Of course, we can highly recommend sunglasses from the Rudy Project, Bolle and Cebe ranges listed on our website and also frames by Oakley or WileyX, these are all widely regarded designers to consider when looking for suitable sport sunglasses with impact resistant lenses. However, speaking from experience when handling some of the frames by Bolle and Cebe, these are at the budget end of the scale and do feel cheaper than similar items from that of the Rudy Project collection. We can highly recommend the following frames to consider, all available from SelectSpecs.com today:
Rudy Project Rydon / Rydon II
Rudy Project Rydon sunglasses are perfect for mountain biking especially with their ImpactX lens options! These feature an interchangeable lens system to suit any lighting conditions, adjustable temples and nose pads, and are compatible with RX Inserts. The Rudy Project Rydon frame is available on our website from £91.54. World record breaker Mark Beaumont who is famous for cycling around the world is currently wearing what looks to be the Rudy Project Rydon for his current trip cycling from Anchorage, Alaska to Ushuaia in Southern Argentina. You can keep up to date with his efforts by visiting his blog on the BBC website. If these sunglasses are good enough for Mark Beaumont to spend all day every day in while cycling the Americas they’re good enough for me! So over the course of a recent weekend I tried out a pair of Rydon’s with the Photochromic Red ImpactX Lenses during a local ride through some great bumpy single track routes between Canterbury and Ashford, see my review of these sunglasses coming soon… watch this space!
Bolle Traverse Sunglasses are perfect for Mountain Biking or any other activity which requires secure fitting and high impact protection. These sunglasses feature a high contrast rose modulator (photochromic) lens that are perfect for dim and shady riding conditions. The Traverse frame also features additional strapping to securely fasten the frame to your head, adjustable nose pads, and a moisture absorbing foam sweat bar. The Bolle Traverse frame is also compatible with RX Inserts and is on our website from just £86.43.
The Couger by Cebe is of similar style to the Rudy Project and Bolle frames with it’s interchangeable lens system and RX Insert compatibility. Unfortunately there is no high impact lens option available. The Couger (in both Summer and Winter packs) is available from £78.02.
I have a Prescription, What are my Options?
Just like wearing fashionable sunglasses like Aviators or Wayfarers, every day regular prescription glasses (even tinted or photochromic) that you may wear for reading or working in front of a computer are just not suitable for bumpy terrain. These may give you adequate UV protection but will not provide you with adequate eye protection in the event of being hit by a stone or branch, and if you do break your prescription glasses then you could well be left without a pair of glasses until you can find a new pair. Fortunately, some of the leading designers in sports sunglasses now supply their sports sunglasses with prescription clip-on compatibility including Rudy Project, Oakley, and a cost effective range from Bolle and Cebe. This means you can wear a branded pair of suitable sports sunglasses while ensuring your vision is clear and crisp. If you’re looking for a set of Clip-on lenses for your sports sunglasses, we at SelectSpecs.com have created an area listing all our Clip-on / Prescription insert compatible frames and have included a number of separate Clip-ons for you to purchase – See our Clip-on area for more details. Now your equipment is all ready and your eyes are protected from the sun and debris damage there’s only one thing left to do, and that’s go hit those trails!!