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  1. #1
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    prescription glasses for biking

    does anyone have any recommendations on prescription frames for mountain biking? I've been just using my crappy spare pair of glasses, but they don't stay on very well on rough trails and don't offer much protection from debris.

    I have to wear glasses. I have a contacts prescription, but they irritate my eyes so i rarely ever get contacts. astigmatism sucks.

  2. #2
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    I have been struggling with the same issues, hopefully someone will chime in with a good answer

  3. #3
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    i went to my local walmart and got liberty sport prescription sunglasses. has been really holding up well and has never fallen off while riding, it's been 8 months.

  4. #4
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    What was the cost of the frames? My biggest problem with sunglasses is that i have really thick lenses because of my astigmatism. Most frames won't work or look right with my lenses.

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  5. #5
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    Not cheap, but this is what I would ge
    Oakley Prescription Lenses | Oakley.com

  6. #6
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    I recommend Smith Optics. They're based in Salt Lake and have a great warranty/return policy.

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    I just went to Walmart and saw those Liberty glasses. They look decent for the price, so I'll be getting them soon. Sure Oakley's and other high end brands are fine, but such a rip off since you're pretty much paying for the brand. Im an aggressive rider and dont really care about about anything other than functionality. I like how some people look good on the mountain with their fancy gear, and can't even climb or ride worth crap.

  8. #8
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    Try Zenni Optical prescription goggle frames, they have a huge selection of frames and many lens options.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeronimus View Post
    Sure Oakley's and other high end brands are fine, but such a rip off since you're pretty much paying for the brand.
    That is not, necessarily, always the case. In respect to Smith Optics, you're paying for a lifetime warranty and high quality materials (all lenses are not created equal). Also, they have a replacement policy that allows you to send in an old pair and purchase a new pair for 60% off MSRP. Lastly, Smith (and Oakley) are American owned companies.

  10. #10
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    I have a pair of oakleys that I bought through their military discount program. Basically 60% off retail. They will do rx lenses. If you know someone in the military or maybe even law enforcement then ask them to buy you a pair. Well worth the money when you just pay wholesale.
    "Your opinion may vary, but it's stupid." -Rich Dillen

  11. #11
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    Rec Spec Bikers

    Don't know the price, my insurance paid for 'em. I have the matte black. They are flexible,
    and fit close to your face. I wear them for road, and MTB. Great for biking and everyday wear.


    Rec Specs Biker Sunglasses

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    Try Zenni Optical prescription goggle frames, they have a huge selection of frames and many lens options.
    Ill second zenni. They are pretty decent for a cheap pair (less than 20 bucks). However the other guys are right, we are way better off to get the higher quality glasses that are from US companies. Dollars dont stay at home when we shop Walmart (or zenni for that matter)

  13. #13
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    I agree on made in the US. But I'd buy it if it makes sense, price-wise. I'd rather splurge on parts for my bike, or maybe save for another bike. The $60 Walmart glasses work for my 2x a week trail riding.

  14. #14
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    I got a pair of Serengeti Summits from an independent eye doctor. They've been great - good wrap around, works well with a somewhat heavy astigmatism prescription. Look decent enough and stay in place riding rough terrain.

  15. #15
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    thanks for all of the suggestions.

  16. #16
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    Actually just went through this when I broke my costco glasses.

    Framesdirect.com has one or two oakley frames 'on sale' they will make with rx lenses and ship for under$250 (if you choose a clear lens) , they will make ti ray ban aviators with polycarbonate lenses for around 180 ...

    I wound up going with 39dollarglasses.com, ordered two pairs of made in the usa ti framed rx glasses (one with my choice of sunglass lens, lots of customizable different lens options) both lenses were scratch/glare resistant polycarbonate and I just typed in my rx and that was that. Total for two pairs shipped was ~$180! Took about 8 working days to make and ship.

    Haven't received em yet so will post pics when I do
    I can post links too when I get on my cpu and off my phone.

  17. #17
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    Oakley, expensive but worth the cost. Some frames have a max strenght perscription they can hold. I have the flak jackets and at the max end of the rx lense it can hold. My doc said the frames that go around the entire lense dont have those stipulations.

  18. #18
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    I usually get mine here:

    Buy Prescription Eyeglasses Online | Mens Womens Fashion | EyeBuyDirect.com

    Zenni Optical is also OK I've also ordered from them but eyebuydirect has faster shipping.

  19. #19
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    What about sweat? I have ridden with all kinds of eye wear (Tag Huer, Oakley, RayBan, Costco, Walmart) and they all fog out. I want a progressive lense in a frame/configuration that has optimum ventilation.

    Anybody have a suggestion for that?

  20. #20
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    Have used Smith and Oakley. Loved both. Both fogged. Never was an insurmountable issue. Last year my prescription got too thick for those brands to accommodate. Got hooked in to some Ray Bans. Just plain garden variety Ray Bans. Like the former wayfarer, but the new version. They are made of this great non-slip material. They don't fog and they don't slowly slide down my nose, even with my heavy lenses. They are awesome more than words can express. I will be using them from now on. Knock on wood.....

  21. #21
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    First off, you want SPORT frames. I wear mine biking, skiing and driving, My Costa del mar shades never fall off.
    As far as sweat goes, I live in Tucson and it's not a problem here, with the shades. Now the rest of your body here in summer...
    agmtb

  22. #22
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    I have these, made by Liberty, called the biker. The have a non-slip rubber coating on the bridge/nose piece and at the rear on the temple tips. They stay on very well and I use them when on my bicycles and my motorcycles.


  23. #23
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    Nike 7060 (actually brought my full face helmet into the optical to try this frame on) with polycarbonate Drivewear lenses with backside anti-reflection coating. I haven't actually been on a trail with them yet but so far, I'm VERY impressed with the lenses. I've had 6 different Oakleys (9 lens colors), two Nikes (3 lens colors), regular brown Transition lenses, polarized yellow (shooting/hunting) lenses, clear anti-reflection lenses, clear non-AR lenses and brown polarized sunglasses; I don't think any of these will be even close to the visual quality of the Drivewear.

    One question mark (which won't get clarified until I can actually ride with them) is how they're going to handle woodsy/shadowy areas while still having sunlight coming through the leaves/branches/etc (i.e. are they going to be too dark for those situations).

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  24. #24
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    Rudy Project products have been working great for me. Worth a look for sure.

  25. #25
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    I second Oakleys. I have a set of their frames for clear lenses and wear them riding. They stay in place better than normal glasses because instead of sitting on top of your ear they hug the side of your head. I've never had an issue with them moving, even during falls.

  26. #26
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    Just because it hasn't been said, yet, a LOT of the price of the high-end glasses are due to the lens quality (said already) but primarily in the Polarization of their sunglass lenses. Maui Jims, Oakley, Smith, etc. have very, very good Polarized lenses. This is what you are paying for... their Polarized technology made into prescription lenses.

    If you think about it, they mass-produce their non-scrip lenses and they compose about 70% of the total cost of their glasses. Then, when you ask them to produce a similar lens based on a limited number of prescription needs, the price goes thru the roof. My Maui Jims were something like $400. That is freaking ridiculous. But, I do a ton of fly fishing and good polarized lenses are very important to me and my insurance paid for a large chunk of that $400.

    For Mtn Bking, your best off trying to find a pair of sport frames and just having them made with clear or yellow lenses in your script. you can always add one of those elastic bands to them if the slip around a little bit. I cannot see the need for high-end polarized lenses for mtn biking. Just my $0.02

  27. #27
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    I own a pair of Adidas Evil Eye Pro and I they do a really good job. The lens are easy to swap out. I'm blind so I needed a prescription insert and this is what my local vision shop said to give a try.

  28. #28
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    It can be hard to balance wanting good prescription sports glasses with the bells and whistles against the cost. But I figured they could also be ok 'driving glasses' and backups to my regular glasses, as well as my shooting glasses so it helped in swallowing the cost. So I chose Panoptx Sevens. They are a little like goggles, in that they have that rubbery material around the inside, but they are shaped like regular glasses. And they don't fit really close to my face so they still vent ok. I like the extra protection from flying stuff, and there is nothing like being able to see really well when going fast.

    I got the full tilt; Crizal, Teflon, Transitions. My insurance picked up everything but those extras. My first commute to work in the dark was a revelation, as I have astigmatism and things go multi-image (one headlight looks like a 6 pointed star). So worth the money. With my designer regular glasses with all the goodies, and computer/reading glasses for work, the total was over 1300 bucks. Man I could get a really nice wheelset with that kind of money. {{Sigh}}

    Being able to look ahead and really see the stuff on the trail at a distance is priceless.
    Tzvia.

  29. #29
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    I wear Oakley myself. They seem to block the wind which keeps my eyes from tearing. I have clear lenses and tinted lenses. but i prefer not to wear polarized lenses while riding. I do wear polarized while driving but not while riding. While Oakley does make awesome Rx sunglasses it is limited on powers. Keep in mind a lot of cheap lenses will have a lot of peripheral distortion. Newer technology, digital processing does wonders at eliminating it. Oakley can also do higher rx's in their traditional frames with their sun lenses. RayBan does make Rx lenses for their sunglasses also as does Maui Jim. Liberty sports goggles/glasses are an inexpensive alternative.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by drwx View Post
    does anyone have any recommendations on prescription frames for mountain biking? I've been just using my crappy spare pair of glasses, but they don't stay on very well on rough trails and don't offer much protection from debris.

    I have to wear glasses. I have a contacts prescription, but they irritate my eyes so i rarely ever get contacts. astigmatism sucks.
    Been wearing prescription Oakley's for 15 years - best piece of bike gear I've ever purchased. No bike, suspension, tire, whatever has added as much value to my riding as a good set of glasses. My prescription is out of range of what Oakley normally sells but you can get stronger lenses from a good independent lab.

    A couple years ago I tried some Liberty Sport glasses but they sucked. Were great at first but they fell apart quickly (the nose piece apparently disolves with sunscreen & sweat) and would fly off my face in a crash. And they weren't that much cheaper than Oakley's anyway.

  31. #31
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    Great post! I was wondering the same thing for glasses. How about progressive lenses for biking?

  32. #32
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    If your use to wearing progressive lenses why not as it would allow you to see any bar mounted electronics. It really depends on the individual and the Rx. If a normal progressive causes you problems you could use a short fit progressive that would allow you to push the progressive down lower and avoid a lot of distortion in the peripheral. And still be able to read or see something up close. I've made a lot of specialty glasses over the last 20 years. If you have specific questions on different lenses I am a Licensed optician and offer my 2 cents.

  33. #33
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    i'm probably going to take the suggestion of zenni optical. they are cheap and get the job done. i have been in the habit of wearing my backup pair of glasses on the trail. my prescription has been stable for 2 years now, so i can probably get away with buying several pairs of cheapo glasses for things like grass cutting and bike riding.

  34. #34
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    I also have Rudy Projects. They have been to me as well.
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    Custom Cycling Jerseys, Merino Wool Jerseys, Organic T-shirts

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamfour View Post
    Great post! I was wondering the same thing for glasses. How about progressive lenses for biking?
    Do you ride a lot of technical trails with obstacles? If so, I'd try to avoid the progressives. If you absolutely need a bifocal when out riding, consider getting a lined bifocal and setting it real low in the lens so it doesn't interfere with the impending rock ledge. It won't be the most functional but it'll be there to check the GPS, pull the thorn out of the tire, etc.

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  36. #36
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    I just got a pair of Rudy Project Rydons with progressive lenses. Have been riding with my regular progressive glasses for years. Progressive lenses are always expensive and the sunglasses cost no more than my regular glasses. I am farsighted.
    Only had the glasses 3 days and trying to get used to them. My regular glasses make things look slightly bigger than they really are, the Rudy's make things look huge. I guess it is because there is more curve to the glass. Wonder if anyone else has noticed this, and do you get used to it?

  37. #37
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    Do you ride mostly in the sunshine or in woods that block out much of the light?

    In the lower light conditions, you may want to take a look at prescription amber lense shooting glasses. I wear some inexpensive wrap-around shooters (non-prescription since I've had Lasix) for most of my riding and love em.

  38. #38
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    Zenni Optical FTW

    Quote Originally Posted by danguskhan View Post
    Ill second zenni. They are pretty decent for a cheap pair (less than 20 bucks). However the other guys are right, we are way better off to get the higher quality glasses that are from US companies. Dollars dont stay at home when we shop Walmart (or zenni for that matter)
    Take my advice, go to Zenni Optical , put the 50% yellow tint in one of the many sweet plastic frames, done.

    My frames were 16 bucks!


  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    I recommend Smith Optics. They're based in Salt Lake and have a great warranty/return policy.
    Ketchum, ID. Great service, great product, great warranty

  40. #40
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    Heres my 2 cents... Let me start off by saying I bought these with the idea of using them for a lot of different sports and activities. I MTB, road ride,kayak, fish and use them as safety glasses as well. I purchased Bolle Parole's for around $60. I paid around $20 for the prescription insert and had it filled through my insurance. The frames came with 3 sets of lenses and I added clear and polarized to them. My thought here is the insert is always protected. If the frames are damaged its $60 to replace them. When the lenses get scratched its $20 to replace them. I have 2 pairs using the oldest pair for kayaking/surf skiing as its done in saltwater along with fishing.
    Of course if I lose them thats another story.......
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  41. #41
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    From the NY Times:
    "Most optical stores have a huge markup on frames, in the range of 50 percent to 100 percent....
    ...the frames carry fat profit margins, the real money for the retailer is in the lenses. There the markup can be three to seven times the wholesale price."

    Source: Do-It-Yourself Eyeglass Shopping on the Internet - New York Times


    Good info here too: Online Eyeglasses: How it works. | GlassyEyes

  42. #42
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    Dopey me. Posted almost exactly the same thing three weeks later.
    Last edited by NYrr496; 03-26-2012 at 10:53 AM.
    I like turtles

  43. #43
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    go for Rudy Project, there are a lot of choices sport glasses with clip on prescription.

    I'm using Rudy Project Swifty with clip on prescription, and I love this...

  44. #44
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    I wear Wiley X Bricks. A pair with clear lenses at night and I have grey polarized for daylight rides. They stay put great.
    The clear ones were 177 complete in my prescription and the dark ones were around 300.
    Prescription Safety Glasses | Prescription Safety Eyewear | Bifocal Safety Glasses | Rx Safety
    I got them here.
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  45. #45
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    Hey everyone I'm an Optician so hopefully I can help you guys out. The best solution for anyone is to find an active pair of sunglasses frames since those are light and hold onto your face. They can all be Rx'd at a local Optometrists office. I don't suggest ordering frames online as a few measurements are needed to be taken before cutting lenses that aren't taken into account online.

    For those of you with with a high RX I suggest a higher index and smaller lens to cut down on lens thickness. This varies on whether or not you are plus or minus. Also I can't stress this enough but purchase at least a poly-carbonate lens material for safety as it is durable and shatters for less than plastic CR-39.

    Now on the subject of tint. I am in the process of experimenting with colors as I just got into mountain biking so my input on this is limited. Top three colors are grey, yellow, and amber. Tint percentage varies greatly on location and brightness. This is where transitions work perfect as they can be clear when not activated and have a moderate tint when activated. They also have an active transition which has a slight tint when not activated and a dark tint when exposed to UV light. Transitions are great for somebody who rides through both shaded areas and non shaded areas during a ride.

    Frames vary from person to person and you should always consult your optician before purchasing a frame to be RX'd.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dms1818 View Post
    Don't know the price, my insurance paid for 'em. I have the matte black. They are flexible,
    and fit close to your face. I wear them for road, and MTB. Great for biking and everyday wear.


    Rec Specs Biker Sunglasses

    lol I bought my M frame "array" (aka 3 lenses one frame in a case) from a military guy for much less... still had the sticker from the PX for $170 on it when I got it...

    sorry not much help as i've been in contacts for nearly 2/3s of my life now... but I have had good experiance with zenni optical so I wouldn't hessitate to try them out
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  47. #47
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    Just wanted to mention that if you can wear contact lenses, they are the way to go. I am extremely nearsignted and and it is so nice to not have to wear coke bottle lenses. I should have bifocals, but if I can't read while biking, I don't really care. I can still read my computer OK.

    They are cheap enough now that even if you get them only for biking it will still be an inexpensive solution. Even contacts that correct for astigmatism aren't that expensive. I get the 30-day-wear disposables, approved for overnight wear, but rarely actually wear them while sleeping on the recomendation of several optometrists. Very comfortable, no adjustment period for me. After a few secons you can't even feel them.

    The exam costs a little more, but if you pay for a contact lens exam, they write you a prescription glasses as well.

  48. #48
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    I've been in the same boat as well. Then the other day, I thought I should try my work safety rx glasses.
    After a 3 hour ride yesterday, I know what works for me. The UVEX Genesis with rx Carrier. They aren't super cool, but super cheap and comfortable. So I am going to check out the Genesis X2 and XC for riding.

    Cheers.

  49. #49
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    Anyone happen to try he Bolle Vortex? I can get them for about 200 thru insurance and they will work with my mega huge prescription.

  50. #50
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    Rudy Project Horus.. I had those before lasix.
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