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  1. #1
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    Riding Glasses for Bay Area / Redwoods

    I recognize that riding glasses are invaluable at protecting our eyes from trail debris and branches. However, I find myself riding without glasses more often than not.

    When I first started riding, I had a pair of Smith glasses with interchangeable lenses. I would use the clear lenses during the day and the yellow lenses for dusk rides. Sadly, I lost those on the trail and have not been able replace them with anything close to as good.

    I tried a newer pair of Smiths but found that, while wearing them, I could just see the nose piece. This annoyed me enough that I stopped using them altogether. I have since tried on a number of other Smith frames and Oakley frames and have yet to find one as good as my original pair of Smith's.

    Lately, I have just been using cheap safety glasses with clear lenses and clear frames (no chances of being annoyed by those nose pieces when the whole frame is see-through!). I find these are awesome until they scratch which seems to happen every few rides (probably because of the low quality of the lenses).

    Oakley and Smith seem to be pushing their rose colored trail specific lenses that are meant to highlight trail colors but I've found that, in the redwood forests that most of us ride in, clear seems to work best no matter what time of day. Interestingly, however, Smith no longer provides clear lenses with their performance glasses and stopped including the yellow lenses years ago. Oakley only ever seems to provide one set of lenses with their glasses and that's never clear unless it is their shooting / safety frames.

    What are you guys using?

  2. #2
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    I've had really good luck with the Tifosi photochromatic glasses. They're not too expensive. I use the same glasses for night rides and summer rides in glaring sun. They change fast enough that you can keep charging as you go from sun to shade and back.

    I bought a more expensive pari of Ryders photochromatic glasses with their antifog coating. I don't think they're quite as good changing color but since they fog less they're more likely to be on my face when a branch wants to pluck out my eyeball.

  3. #3
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    Im using a cheaper pair of Tifosi with yellow lenses for all my riding. Dont know the specific model but I find ones that dont have full rims and leave the bottom section open work well for me.

  4. #4
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    I need prescription lenses and hate putting in contacts, so I went with a neutral lens color, tried to match the Oakley G20 color, kind of a rose. Good all-rounder, but better when it's not crazy bright.

    Frames are Oakley Flak 2.0 XL. No complaints, and they stay on my nose. Hydrophobic coating on both sides of the lens repels rain or sweat.
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  5. #5
    fc
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    I ride primarily in the trees and I've tried a ton of glasses.

    I hate interchangeable lenses. It is much easier to have two pairs of glasses that cover light and dark.

    The key is to have amber or rose color. This is what's ideal for going in and out of singletrack.

    The key is fit, fit, fit. If you never have to touch your glasses during a two hour ride, that is a good testament.

    All these other things like photochromic, anti-fog, anti-scratch are all good to have. The most important is good optics.

    I love these new glasses to with big lenses. If they are big and look decent, that is a bonus.

    Don't use polarized. They're just useless for looking at digital displays and they take reflections away which are key in detecting water on surfaces.
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  6. #6
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    I'm digging my new Julbos. Photochromic, neutral coloring, and best of all, I don't notice them. I'll never buy interchangeable lenses again.

    https://m.julbo.com/en/10/products/s...-2-0_6119.html
    Last edited by SikeMo; 05-19-2017 at 04:54 PM.

  7. #7
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    I've been using transition glasses (Rx) for the last few years in the redwoods and they're just about perfect. I'm having them put in some Smith Pivlocks (super comfy) that I got at Steep and Cheap for $57. They're like small goggles, which should be good for the approaching dusty season, and their Enduro™ rating is higher than most.
    Last edited by dirtvert; 05-19-2017 at 05:19 PM.
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  8. #8
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    I got a pair of oakleys with the prizm trail lens which is kind of orangish rose colored and I hate them. when coming out of light and into the shadows it makes things too contrasty to see whats lurking on the trail. I have given up and gone back to clear lenses. I have some light blue lenses I am going to experiment with instead. shadows are actually bluish (high color temp) since the only light is ambient light reflected from the blue sky so my theory is a light blue lens will reduce the shadow contrast. the orange/rose color is great for increasing contrast to see trail features if the lighting is pretty constant but not when dodging in and out of tree cover

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I ride primarily in the trees and I've tried a ton of glasses.

    I hate interchangeable lenses. It is much easier to have two pairs of glasses that cover light and dark.

    The key is to have amber or rose color. This is what's ideal for going in and out of singletrack.

    The key is fit, fit, fit. If you never have to touch your glasses during a two hour ride, that is a good testament.

    All these other things like photochromic, anti-fog, anti-scratch are all good to have. The most important is good optics.

    I love these new glasses to with big lenses. If they are big and look decent, that is a bonus.

    Don't use polarized. They're just useless for looking at digital displays and they take reflections away which are key in detecting water on surfaces.
    I second all of this. I have 2 pair of (gasp...roadie) Rudy's that I wear most of the time, one pair with a medium red tint, another photochromic, also with a red tint. The photochromic's get darker than the regular ones and that covers me for 90% of riding trees or no.

    I also have a pair of $10 Bollé clear safety glasses that are perfect for cloudy or darker rides.

    I value in order: Stay put/no fuss fit, good optics (no polarized), light tint, replaceable lenses for when they get scratched.

    I'll keep wearing these till they come back in style.

  10. #10
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    I wear Smith glasses with clear lenses 100% of the time on mountain and road rides.

    No tinting. Go in and out of the shade and light enough that slightly tinted or transitional lenses always feel too dark to me.

  11. #11
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    I've been using the Smith PivLock Arena's for a few seasons now as well as their tactical full frame glasses. Very happy overall. I almost always run clear and will switch the lens out on very sunny days if I am riding in more sun exposed area's. Otherwise I stick to clear.

    I have also tried various safety glasses but only use those for backups these days.

    That is a bummer SMITH no longer provides the clear, I just noticed that as well.

    I have also been eyeballing Ryders eyewear. I use their goggles and really like them. Some really nice looking frames.

  12. #12
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    Ryders Seventh Photochromic antiFOG, Lens Colour: Light Grey [VLT: 75% - 25%]

    The Ryders have been good in the rain this winter and on the tight trails around Santa Cruz.
    Less scratch resistant than I was expecting for the price so I sort of recommend them.. better than cheap safety glasses I guess.
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  13. #13
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    Very happy with Rudy Project's Rydon photochromics. The range from light to dark in one pair of glasses is more than most brands. I accidentally left my first pair on the bumper of the truck and opened the lift gate down onto them and it didn't hurt them at all. Still have them but had to get prescription so I got a new pair.

    Also had a pair of clear inexpensive safety-glasses for rides when I knew it would be dark.

  14. #14
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    Prism Trail Lens


  15. #15
    GPzMike
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    I've run multi-lense Tifosi's since forever. I've found them very durable, scratch resistant, and extremely comfortable. I particularly like the Tifosi's because they come with a medium light tint rose set of lenses that are absolutely perfect for our riding conditions. They are light enough that I have no problems in dark redwood forests like JMP or Soquel's Braille and still dark enough to be comfortable for extended periods of direct sunlight. They aren't enough for setting sun type situations, but then if I'm wearing something that dark, I'm bound to wad it up in the first shadowy corner. Honesty I never change the lenses but for night riding. I'm on my second pair after the first pair finally rotted away from sweat after about 5 seasons of riding.

    As I've aged and need readers, I found that the hydrotec brand of stick-on lenses are perfect for turning the Tifosi's into bifocals.
    Cheers!
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  16. #16
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    I use Oakley Prizm Trail lenses. However, when you're in the woods and the sun is out, the contrast it provides is too much so in those conditions, I put them up on my helmet and ride without glasses. When it's overcast or there is flat light, they're perfect though. I use Oakley Half Jackets for the Prizm lenses and I also wear contact lenses.

  17. #17
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    I have a pair of Smith & Wesson clears that I use often and they are great. Prior to that I used the Lowe's clear lenses and when real good at taking care of them they can last a long time. I have a pair of Tag Heuer yellow photochromatic that really work well in many conditions.

  18. #18
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    +1 Rudy Project, Rydon clear prescrition & transition. Although sometimes I notice the short (5-10 seconds) time lapse transitioning, for the most part doesn't register. Pricey at over $400 (I recall) well worth the excellent vision clarity, eye proctection, durability, & longevity riding deep Redwood country & exposed Singletrack.Riding Glasses for Bay Area / Redwoods-img_0974.jpg

  19. #19
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    I use Oakley Prizm Trail 90% of the time at Skeggs, SC, etc. I keep a cheap pair of Tifosi clear lens in my pack in case it starts to get dark, especially at Skeggs.
    The only easy day was yesterday.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrungLam View Post
    Prism Trail Lens

    That's incredible! How did you fit that camera in each of your eye sockets while mountain biking and golfing?!!
    The only easy day was yesterday.

  21. #21
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    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01E1...7eL&ref=plSrch

    I had Scattante and Oakley in the past. These were recommended to me for driving but I found that they're awesome for biking and backpacking. They work in all conditions, even at night, and they define the trail like Oakley Prizm.

  22. #22
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    As FC mentioned fit is very important and very individual. Most decent places will shape the bridge to better sit on your nose. Alternately you can do this with a heat gun and some patience.

  23. #23
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    i had several pairs and the one that works best for me is the oakley prism trail
    works well where i go. skeggs, WD, Tamo, SC.. and all the neighboring trails

  24. #24
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    Get the photochromic color changing glasses. They have everything from great prices from Zenni optical including sport glasses. I have prescript glasses.

    Perfect as they clear for under canopy and darken for sunlight.

  25. #25
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    Check out Fuse Lenses, I had an old pari of Oakley Gas Cans and got two sets of colored and polarized lenses for 20 bucks each, snap em in and I am gold
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrungLam View Post
    Prism Trail Lens

    dont' get convinced by marketing propaganda. Your eyes are much better evolved than the camera oakley purposely overexposed to make this crap.

  27. #27
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    I ride with clear lenses, as there’s always some clueless hiker wearing drab colours that blend in with the surroundings, making them almost invisible in shaded areas of the trails.

    However, these ones are the best riding glasses, I own two of them:

    Riding Glasses for Bay Area / Redwoods-13615129305_a52f778504_b.jpg
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  28. #28
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    I just wear normal prescription glasses. I found my eyes get irritated on descents either from dust or wind so I picked up some goggles to wear over my glasses. Lately I'm self conscious about it because of MTB fashion police.

  29. #29
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    IMO yellow lenses are the way to go riding in trees, especially Redwood canopy like SC or Skeggs, and I view riding glasses (no pun intended) as disposable since I seem to lose them so often, so these cheapos have been perfect for me - they are comfortable, offer good protection, and perfect for under trees but don't bother me, plus they look so sexy on me - I ordered 2 of them and already lost one. The only downside is they they can fog up a bit, but no more so than most of the more expensive glasses I've tried, so every once in a while I wipe them with anti-fog and that seems to do the trick

    https://www.amazon.com/Bobster-Shiel...glasses+yellow

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    IMO yellow lenses are the way to go riding in trees, especially Redwood canopy like SC or Skeggs, and I view riding glasses (no pun intended) as disposable since I seem to lose them so often, so these cheapos have been perfect for me - they are comfortable, offer good protection, and perfect for under trees but don't bother me, plus they look so sexy on me - I ordered 2 of them and already lost one. The only downside is they they can fog up a bit, but no more so than most of the more expensive glasses I've tried, so every once in a while I wipe them with anti-fog and that seems to do the trick

    https://www.amazon.com/Bobster-Shiel...glasses+yellow
    You'll definitely get laid with those bad boys on!
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  31. #31
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    This thread motivated me to try my Smith Photochromatic Rose lens today as it was pretty bright out and I knew I would be heading in variable light conditions.

    Similar to my previous basic rose lens they were just ok. Going from bright to heavily shaded I would loose sections for a moment.

    I need to stick with clear or bring 2 pair.

  32. #32
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    This is what we really need. Trail bifocals. You can see those big ass roots and rocks up close when you're picking your line, or just going OTB!Riding Glasses for Bay Area / Redwoods-tn_images-d-pc7046bf-pol-blackmattefront-jpg_w1000.jpg
    The only easy day was yesterday.

  33. #33
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    I was also using Smiths with interchangeable lenses back in the day. For the past few years I've been very happy with my Oakley Flak (Asian fit) with photochromic lenses.

  34. #34
    fc
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    found this yesterday in the bin! don't know what they are but very cool for Norcal.

    - rose colored and so clear!
    - adjustable, grippy nose bridge (for the many nationalities and nose heights of Norcal)
    - one blade so you can't even see the frame
    - close to the face (to avoid tearing up in the fog)
    - removable side shields. to avoid the dreaded backdraft during ballistic speeds.
    - bendable arms.

    Riding Glasses for Bay Area / Redwoods-img_7028.jpg

    Here you go: Bollé: glasses, goggles and helmets for sport and everyday life
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  35. #35
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    Oakley prizm is ok. Don't get the "trail" though, prizm "daily" works best imo.

  36. #36
    bikerbert
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    I'm really liking a set of Smith Pivlock Overdrive sunglasses I recently picked up. I've also had good luck with Oakley Fast Jackets if you can find a pair.

  37. #37
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    As I get old, dark colored lens make it hard to tell the difference between a hole and a rock so I go clear lens and I get 1.5 so I can actually see bolts & stuff if I need to adjust. I genearlly buy safety or shooting "glasses" and just relace when they get scratched. I leave the Oakleys in the car.

    $9.15
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...ex+welrx350c15

  38. #38
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    I have 3 pairs of smith tracers 2 clear, 1 rose. Mostly ride with the clear here in the woods of Tahoe , rose if it's really bright midday. Always clear for Downievlle no matter what , can't see sh💩t in and out of the shadows with any tinted lense there.

  39. #39
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    I have two pairs of Smith Pivlock Overdrive glasses that I use on the bike. I don't usually bother with switching lenses on the trail it's too fiddly and time consuming. So I bring both and choose two different lens options depending on conditions. I bring brown and rose for sunny days with more exposure, otherwise it's rose and clear. I will stop and switch pairs mid ride if needed although the rose are my favorite all around and work in a wide variety of light conditions. Most important for me is the fit of the frames and that they stay put while riding. I went to several outdoor stores and tried on as many frames as I could before going with the Overdrives.

  40. #40
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    I use Oakley Flak with Prizm lenses. I was able to order them in prescription too! I never have to adjust them and they work in all types off lighting... except maby nighttime. Anyways they are amazing and it was definitely a good investment.

  41. #41
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    I have a pair of smith pivlock photochromics. They are generally pretty good except for super bright direct light, and riding in the late afternoon when the sun is coming through the trees horizontally. The photochromic cant handle the flickering light.

  42. #42
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    Has anyone tried any of the Ryder photochromic? I have been using interchangeable lenses with either dark or clear for either out in the open (santa Teresa & road) & vs (demo & UC). I never change lenses mid ride though. I'm wondering if I should get another interchangeable set or photochromic?

  43. #43
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    I'll recommend the Julbo photochromatic lenses also - have tried many offerings out there, and they're doing the best. Plus fog free.

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