With little to no fogging, good eye coverage and an unobstructed field of vision, Rockrider's 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.
At 39g, the XC Races are barely noticeable – thermonuclear colouring aside – once on. Coupled with an unrestricted view, they're a very unobtrusive bit of kit once in action. The only time I did notice them was, in fact, thanks to the neon yellow nose piece catching my eye, and there isn't another colour frame option in the range that is still photochromatic.
Rubber grippers at the ends of the arms and across the nose keep them firmly in place, wet or dry. More impressive is their resistance to fogging up, even when provoked. They can cloud over on slow, steep climbs in mild and damp conditions, but clear quickly once you move a bit faster.
Rockrider-XC-Race-photochromatic-sunglasses-9.jpg, by Jim Clarkson
The lenses are no doubt helped here by two cutaways on each, but there's no sense of a draft from the gaps or any lack of protection from flying filth. The provided soft bag is good for cleaning when they do get mucky, and the XC Races come in a padded case to keep them protected in a bag or bike box.
The polycarbonate lenses are photochromatic, meaning they darken and lighten in response to light levels. I never noticed it actually happening, and never found I couldn't see or was having to squint – the change is rapid, smooth and effective. They're also 100 percent ultraviolet (UV) resistant.
The lenses are removable and while the mechanism is easy to use it doesn't feel exactly robust... at least with this version there's no need to test durability with frequent swaps.
Rockrider-XC-Race-photochromatic-sunglasses-7.jpg, by Jim Clarkson
No, the Rockrider XC Races don’t have the high-end feel of more expensive brands, but they are a light, effective and competitive set of specs. They protect your eyes from debris, UV and glare, resist fogging and arguably look pretty good (or at least pretty 80s) while doing it. Plus, in the rough and muddy-tumble world of off-road, the low price helps protect your wallet when you faceplant into a tree while admiring your retro-reflection in a puddle, too.
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