Sunglasses are uber-important pieces of gear for nearly every outdoor activity. Mountain and road cyclists typically have several pairs of sunglasses or at least a pair with interchangeable lenses. In my mind there are three imperatives with biking-friendly eyewear: 1) they must be lightweight and 2) they must stay put–even while sweating up a storm and 3) They’ve got to properly block the wind.
With high-end sunglass prices typically in the $100-$150 range, it’s hard to afford multiple pair or even that one do-it-all pair of sunglasses. Markup on a typical pair of sunglasses must be huge–either that or they are having to carry a huge amount of overhead with their behemoth marketing budgets. Either way, it’s hard to imagine that a pair of sunglasses can be worth that much. So, in my mind, even though the big boys have plenty of style, there is definitely room for other sunglass companies to start mowing some of their lawn.
Ryders Eyewear: Affordable, Stylish and Functional
Based in British Columbia, Canada, Ryders Eyewear has been dedicated to building top-notch eyewear at reasonable pricepoints. Looking at their styles, they’ve got there stuff together. Some very nice options with interchangeable lenses all the way to hip, stylish glasses for a day at the beach.
All the sunglasses in their line feature optically-correct lenses that block all the harmful UVA/UVB/UVC light. Most also feature grippy rubber nose pieces and inner arms to stick to your noggin even under Africa-hot epic rides in the middle of July. Great glasses at great prices with most coming in at $39 retail. For a little more, they offer polarized and photochromatic lens options as well.
Ryders Slipstream Sunglasses Review
The new-for-Spring-2008 Slipstreams are built for small to mid-size faces with enough lens coverage to work well in both bright snow conditions and block the wind under speed while descending your favorite singletrack. I tested the caramel color frames with the brown lenses (16.9% light transmission), which have proven to be versatile enough for everything but early morning and late evening activities.
While backcountry skiing, the curvature and coverage of the lenses blocked out the reflective light and gave me clear vision while skinning and sweating up a storm. They stayed in place and remained fog-free in all instances except when I did a switchback tumble and had to work my way back to the skintrack–ugghhh. Once up and running again, they were fog-free.
Mountain biking, they have performed equally well with great wind coverage and excellent vision clarity in and out of pockets of trees. The only time I didn’t feel great about using them was on an early-morning ride before the sun came up from behind the Wasatch Mountain range. But, with the money you’ll save, you can easily buy two different pair for variable light conditions.
I did notice that the adjustable nose pads are indeed very adjustable. You can narrow them, widen them or flatten them. Only after a couple of uses did I realize that I could actually twist them so they fit flat against my nose. Ahhh… much better. They stuck to my noggin and felt comfortable all day long.
Here are a few specs and options of the Ryders Slipstream sunglasses:
- Lens: Optically correct polycarbonate
- Protection: 100% UVA/UVB/UVC
- Features: Hydrophilic nose pads and temple tips
- RX Compatible: Yes
- Fit: Small to medium faces
- Frame/Lens Options: Black Frames/Grey Lenses, Caramel Frames/Brown Lenses (TESTED), Silver Frames/Grey w/Silver Flash Lenses, White Frames/Grey Lenses or Hot Blue Frames/Orange Lenses
- MSRP: $39.99
The Bottom Line on the Ryders Slipstream Sunglasses
If you’re looking for a functional pair of cycling glasses (road or mountain), but don’t want to break the bank, check out the Ryders Slipstream or any other of their myriad styles for cycling or skiing. The Slipstreams in Caramel/Brown are no-nonsense sunglasses that can be trusted under bright light conditions. They will stay put and are lightweight and comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. Did I mention the price? What a steal at only $39.99.