[Updated February 17, 2021]
While not essential a good pair of glasses can make your usual
ride a whole lot more comfortable. They'll keep bugs, rain, and muck out
of your eyes, and they might even make you a bit quicker down your
favourite descent. Here's our pick of the top glasses we've tested.
Need to know: glasses
All glasses are designed to meet five key points, UV protection, comfort,
coverage, fog resistance or clearing, and good looks. However, one pair of
glasses won't work at their best for everyone with different face shapes
and helmet shapes all having an effect.
With coverage and comfort arguably being the most important of the points
for riding off-road, look out for big lenses, adjustable nose pieces, and
extendable or adjustable arms. These will ensure a great fit and a large
lens will keep your vision well covered and the muck out of your eyes.
Another point to look out for is whether or not the frames come with
extra lenses. Many on the market come with an extra amber lens for dull
days and a clear one mainly for eye protection at any time of the year,
these are great for dark woodland. However, there are a few that are
designed to run as sunglasses only so be careful before potentially
dropping north of £100 on non-interchangeable sunglasses if you're after a
pair for year-round use.
14 of the best glasses for mountain biking and gravel riding
Either scroll down to look at the full list or click on a link from the
bullet points below to jump straight to that pair of glasses.
The Singletrack Glasses from Endura are well designed, comfortable and
lightweight. They’re completely fog-resistant and the lenses are simple to
swap – the only negative is the lack of clear lenses.
Merida’s RACE sunglasses are the epitome of ‘bang for your buck’. At
first glance, they’re pretty basic and feel a little cheap, but use them
and they’re really comfortable, give more than enough coverage and cope
with fog exceptionally well.
The Smith Optics Wildcat cycling glasses are goggle-like mountain bike
glasses that offer huge coverage, a clear lens, cool styling, and
unfortunately a sky-high price. We think they are worth it though, look
after these and they'll last you a lifetime.
With little to no fogging, good eye coverage and an unobstructed field
of vision, Decathlon's Rockrider XC Race Photochromatic mountain bike
glasses deliver a strong performance for their low price. The
light-sensitive tinting works really well too, which is good – it saves
you using the flimsy lens-swapping mechanism.
The Madison Code Breaker Glasses Three-Lens Pack provides a sharp-looking
pair of shades with decent coverage, strong performance, and lenses for
every occasion – at a wallet-friendly price. They’re not totally fog-free,
however, and can be a little finicky to put together when you do swap
With the Crit Fototech, Tifosi Optics brings a host of cool tech to a
wallet-friendly price point. They’re super comfortable, don’t move around
and clear fog really quickly – however, they feel a little cheap and don’t
quite provide enough coverage.
The Flywheel from Smith Optics is a retro/modern-looking pair of
sunglasses featuring their own tinted ChromaPop lenses. They’re light,
comfy and give excellent coverage for riding. Although downsides are few,
the lens isn’t interchangeable, meaning they're only really useful for
spring and summer.
With excellent coverage and custom lenses, colours and nose rubbers, the
Melon Optic Alleycat is a superb pair of riding glasses. They're tough,
nearly perfect at shielding you from spray and muck, and comfy – plus the
Zeiss lenses are great.
Optics PivLock Asana Chromapop glasses are a ladies small face
specific pair of cycling glasses for any application or discipline be it
mountain biking, road riding or gravel adventures. They are extremely
versatile and great quality lenses mean they last a long time even with
less than careful treatment!
The Smith Optics PivLock Ruckus glasses are part of a new range of Smith
mountain bike and road eyewear. They offer wide coverage, the crystal
clear ChromaPop lenses and there is minimal fogging. They do come at a
cost but you will get a versatile, quality pair of glasses in return.
The Adidas Zonyk Pro VARiOs look cool and the VARiO lens is really very
good in low light but it’s a little harder to stomach the high price when
they aren’t that great in very bright light. You could argue that makes
them ideal for gloomy UK conditions though.
Endura have been making protective glasses for almost as long as I’ve
been riding bikes, ok that’s an exaggeration but I’ve bought and tested
numerous examples from Endura’s eyewear stable and generally have always
been impressed. The Endura Guppy glasses are a reasonably priced and
durable eye protection option. Look beyond the slightly dated aesthetics
and you’ll find a genuinely good performer.
Evil Eye Evo Pro with Vario photochromic lenses are the brand's
flagship option of the Evil Eye range. They’re ergonomically superb with
large, wrap-around lenses, removable sweat bar, adjustable arms and
nosepiece and hydrophobic coating. They're pricey but in my opinion worth
Looking at the Uvex website, you’d be forgiven for thinking there is a
bewildering selection of glasses on offer. The ones on test here have the
somewhat indecipherable name of Sportstyle 705 v, though the name belies
the utility and versatility of these glasses. With their photochromic
lenses, one set is suitable for any conditions.
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