It's an area that many riders over look and some simply never consider, eyewear. Having never ridden in sunglasses it's easy to say I can see everything, why would I spend money on something I don't need? Once you try a good set of mountain bike sunglasses you'll see and feel the difference they make. There's also the protections side of it. We're riding through hanging leaves and branches, mud, and chasing the trail of dust and debris your mates rear tyre is kicking up. The potential to get damaging material in your eye is very high!
Optical Clarity for MTB riding
What makes a good lens for mountain biking? Firstly, we ride in varied light and often under shelter from trees. As a result you want a relatively light tint to your lens for most scenarios. The Oakley 'Prizm Trail Torch' lens for example has a 35% light transmission rating , you can see the lens difference in the image below. What makes this and other MTB lenses so impressive though is the amount of contrast and 'pop' they give your vision. Rocks and roots which were virtually hidden and caught you by surprise are now jumping out at you, easily visible on the trail.
There's more than just the tint on the lens making your vision clearer though. We all know that feeling when we're flying down a fire road at full speed and all of a sudden we're squinting hard as the wind assaults our eyeballs drying them out. This is not only uncomfortable but negatively effects our vision of what's ahead. Mountain bike glasses are becoming increasingly larger to protect us from wind and debris so we can keep our focus on the trail in these situations. Two models that really impress with their coverage is the 100% Glendale and Oakley Sutro range.
Clear lenses are a great way to shield your eyes from the wind as well as getting that bonus optical protection.
Potentially even more important than the clarity aspect of mountain bike sunglasses is the protection they give. We expose our eyes to a lot of potential damage riding with over hanging branches, debris being flicked up and more. It's not hard to imagine the pain that a stray stick or pebble to the eye could cause with potentially life long effects. Simply slipping on a set of sunglasses to prevent this is a small but easy measure to take with the bonus of the other benefits mentioned above.
MTB Sunglasses and Fogging
This is an area that many riders complain about when they think of wearing sunglasses mountain biking. Manufacturers have picked up on the importance of air flow for reducing fog and now nearly all modern sunglasses have a design that puts through enough air flow that this is virtually a non-issue for most. The Oakley Flight Jacket sunglasses even have an adjustment lever in which you can press to push the sunglasses further from your face, increasing ventilation and reducing fog. This feature is perfect for those hot climbs!
Should you wear MTB Sunglasses?
For us, the pro's far out weigh the negatives when it comes to mountain bike sunglasses. The visual benefits make riding in all light conditions so much easier. Combined with the protection advantage it's easy to see why the pros are decked out in MTB specific eyewear nearly every ride.
We have a large range of mountain bike sunglasses available with more on order! click here to check them out online or some in store.