Tifosi continues to kill it with budget shades that still perform at a high level. Their Sledge remains one of my favorites and the brand new Rail seems to be hot on its heels. A wide range-of-vision and lightweight design are just the beginning, so let’s dive in.
Tifosi Rail Sunglasses Features:
- Oversized rimless design
- Adjustable temples and nose pieces
- Grilamid TR-90 frame
- De-centered polycarbonate lenses
- Full UV protection
- Includes 3 lenses (except Fototec model, tested)
- Clarion Red Fototec lens offers variable 14-74% VLT
- Weight: 31 grams
- MSRP: $79.99
Wide vision, low price
I don’t care what the trendsetters wear, a large, frameless pair of sunglasses will always be my first choice. While I do absolutely LOVE the Tifosi Sledge, it’s one of the few framed sunglasses that I enjoy wearing for road, gravel and mountain biking. The Rail is also an oversized design, but doesn’t have anything to interfere with your vision. With that, the Rail has quickly won me over as my primary sunglasses this spring.
The new Rail can be configured with three interchangeable lenses or the Clarion Red Fototec lens that automatically adjusts to ambient light. While three lenses are great and all, I’m going to say that the Fototec lens is the way to go. With multiple lenses, I typically stick with one of the three and only change them if I absolutely need to. The Rail with Clarion Red Fototec lenses gives me the absolute best vision under all light conditions.
On any given day, I’ve got enough layering and apparel choices to make before heading out on a ride or run, it’s just nice to not have to think about my sunglasses. On even the earliest rides, just as the sun is coming up, I can see clearly as the lenses start out with 74% VLT. Then, under the brightest conditions, the smoke lenses only allow 14% of visual light to pass through. That variation is substantial and just happens automatically. I love that I don’t have to think about it since the lenses just auto-adjust as needed. Keep in mind that if you ever want to wear these inside a vehicle, they won’t change tint. They need direct sunlight to change.
The adjustable nose bridge and temple tips add to the versatility by adapting to your face. Tweaking the fit is a breeze — making these adjustable to most faces. Admittedly, I prefer the fixed nose bridge of the Sledge, but not everyone shares my sentiment. When cleaning the lenses, I feel like I have the tendency to bump and move the nose piece, but that has yet to happen in reality. You can even push them a little without tweaking the fit. It takes some deliberate squeezing. With that adjustable fit, the Rail stays put quite nicely — even on the roughest terrain. Due to the overhang of the nose piece, it’s difficult to clean underneath the rubber tips.
As I have tested the Rail under a variety of conditions, there’s not much they can’t do. Optical clarity is excellent, so you can pinpoint every obstacle or terrain variation. On humid mornings, I have noticed that the Rail will fog up at rest. Due to the large shape and lack of vents, it does take a little longer to unfog them, but they will unfog — eventually. It’s worst when wearing a hat, but some helmets will also make ventilation difficult.
Speaking of helmets, I’ve been able to wear these with a ton of different helmets. I’ve found them most compatible with Giro, Bontrager, and Specialized models. With some finagling, the temple tips can slip into a good spot on the Kask Wasabi, but more difficult with other Kask helmets. As always, it’s best to bring your helmet along if you are trying these on in a store. Another helmet consideration is the sheer size of these lenses. Under rough conditions, they will tap on the underside of the helmet brow.
Since I have the Clarion Red Fototec lenses, I haven’t needed to change the lenses, but I popped the arms off just to see. I’ll say that it takes a little more effort than I’d like. You almost feel like you’re going to break something, but they do pop off.
- Ultimate protection and comfort at even the highest speeds
- Wide field-of-vision
- Adjustable nose and temple tips
- Grippy rubber
- Fototec lens simplifies lens choices
- Lens will tap on the brim of some helmets
- Popping the arms off requires significant effort
- Once fogged, it takes a little more effort to unfog (vents would be great)
The Bottom Line: Tifosi Rail Sunglasses
Big shields are all the rage, and with good reason. That much protection and field-of-vision is killer on fast descents or tricky terrain. The Rail will adjust to your face and stay put like glue. And the Fototec lens automatically adjusts to whatever light conditions you encounter. In a world of $200 sunglasses, the $79 price point is refreshing. When looking for sunglasses for road, gravel, MTB or trail running, the Rail are the ones I grab.
Buy Now: Visit TifosiOptics.com
Red Clarion Fototec is 74-14% , not 64%, which is actually BETTER!
Thanks for that clarification. I’ll update the specs.