I’m usually not a fan of photochromic lenses. Don’t know what photochromic technology is? Well, in theory it’s awesome- the lenses darken with the increase of light- allowing for use in a wider range of light conditions. Great huh? In reality you can end up looking like, well… a crappy photo of Adam Levine taken from the Internet.
That said- I’m a man of function. I wear sweatpants at work. I sometimes wear socks and flip-flops (to be fair- this is mainly out of laziness, or to disgust my better half- but I have been known to do it.) When Ryders Eyewear reached out asking if I’d be interested in trying out their new line of glasses that sported hydrophobic, anti-fog & photochromic technologies- I had no qualms with volunteering.
As a cyclist and commercial fisherman with eyes that are light sensitive, I often find my eyewear subpar, although up to now, the best I had gotten was from pure optical. Typically the biggest issue comes from the fogging of the lens. Living in Alaska and Seattle before that, I am all too familiar with humid environments- and when doing anything athletic my glasses fog up. When riding, the issue is when I stop on the trail or at a light. When I get going again the lenses usually clear, but not always. When fishing- I’ve got rubber rain gear on head to toe, hood up and can be busting my ass in this sweatsuit for hours on end. I literally clean and coat my lenses with FogX every hour when seining. Why not skip the shades when fishing you ask? Well- When a 15 pound jelly fish falls from the block onto your head- it’s 10ft tentacles draping across your face- eye protection will save your sight. If you’ve never had jellyfish in the eye- don’t try it. It may make you cry. You may become disoriented. You will not be comfortable and you may lose your ability to focus on the task at hand which is namely- to fish.
3 pairs arrived, all with microfiber bags and zippered cases. I received the Caliber, and two pairs of the Thorns.
I’ve been wearing them quite a bit since I received them- swapping out the pairs under different conditions and mood. I think my excitement for them has sold about half a dozen pairs to friends that have similar issues with optics.
So here’s the four F’s:
Function: These glasses have been on point. The anti-fog coating has proven very effective. I wore them on a 14hr slog through muskeg and tidal sloughs- sweating like a pig, and they fogged up only once. I feel confident that any other pair of glasses would have been thrown in the pack within the first hour because I wouldn’t have been able to keep the lenses clear. I think I’m an extreme case when it comes to sweating- so most of y’all will be just fine.
The lenses aren’t really dark to start. The Thorn has a yellow, the Caliber a brown- both good for low light conditions. They enhance vision in low light and darken enough when the sun is out to help. On full sun days a darker lens would be nice, but for much of the riding around here, especially in and out of the trees and cover- I find it better to err on the side of a lighter lens. If you’ve ever ridden from an open meadow into a brushed in trail- it can be difficult for the eyes to adjust.
I haven’t been able to really see a dramatic difference in the hydophopic fronts of the lens. In a light mist, water will get on the lens, and when I run them under the faucet along with a pair of my other glasses I don’t see much of a difference.
Fit: The Thorns are a bit snug for my cranium. If they were pants for the head- the Caliber would be more for the plus sized noggin- the Thorn for the hipster dome. Head shape will make a difference, but the Thorn temples pinch a little bit just above the ear. The temples extend higher and beyond the ear a little bit- which can contact a ball cap if I’m wearing one, sometimes dislodging the glasses. The Calibers are more comfortable in my opinion- the temples sliding comfortably over the ears. On the other hand, I prefer the nose pads on the Thorn.
Fashion: Here I’ll remind you that I wear sweat pants and socks with my flip-flops. Of the three pairs, I prefer the black Thorns with the yellow lenses. The style looks like they’ve been designed by people that ride mountain bikes. They’ll go well with a pickup truck and your downhill bike hanging off the tailgate. Though the white Thorns feel better in low light (maybe something with the orange rim that brightens up the view,) I feel like they could come with a discount code for a wake board or a dinner date with Guy Fieri.
The Caliber is semi-frameless which I’m not a huge fan of but they are comfortable. The lack of a lower frame leaves a little more room for air flow, which helps fog avoidance. To some- they won’t buy the glasses because it won’t match their fixed gear. That’s fine. They can stick to their Oakleys.
Final Thoughts: The price point for the glasses I tested was $140. The question that I ask myself whenever I test a product is: “Is it worth it?” My answer?
As far as any pair of performance eyewear I’ve used, these Ryders glasses have been my favorite. Hands down. Optically, they are clear. They are lightweight. The yellow and brown tints are useful in low lighting and the color change darkens well enough for partly cloudy days. They darken and lighten in a reasonable amount of time. Whatever black magic is used to keep the fog at bay- I’m for it.
Though the style doesn’t suit me to a tee- it’s something I’m happy to overlook because of the other features.
All that- and I’m giving a pair away. Yep. Over on the Instagram page. All you have to do is:
- Follow @GOMEANSGO and @RYDERSEYEWEAR on Instagram.
- Like the Ryders Eyewear Giveaway post.
- Tag a friend that would be jealous if you won.
That’s it. Winner announced 6/10. I’ll also dig around and put together a few more goodies for the lucky winner.
So get on your bikes and ride.