Some mountain bikers go naked but I always wear glasses when riding. When I first started a clear lens was sufficient with separate sunglasses for the rare sunny day but soon I preferred coloured lenses that I could change depending upon conditions.
Older eyes see everything a little more yellow than youthful orbs so the correct lens can improve contrast in some situations or reduce glare without reducing visibility.
I ended up with a multipack which I would carry with me and change lenses as conditions changed.
I liked the idea of a one lens solution but light activated lenses seemed expensive and most of them orientated towards the sunglasses function. Rudy Project looked promising but discounts were unknown but seemed good; but still expensive.
I reviewed all the old magazine articles from times past which I keep filed away in the garage, just like everyone else I am sure, and started looking at manufacturer sites on the internet.
I found the Tifosi site and they had different types of active lenses for different sports. The fishing one looked promising but the “night light” had a specified range of 85% to 27%. This seemed a wider movement than I had expected and would cover the sunglasses need but I worried about dropping into a wooded area from bright light.
I can squint into bright sunlight but peering into the shade I would definitely miss something. Not with my front wheel just with my eyes.
So I looked at their Backcountry Orange. I prefer the orange shading over red and yellow on ski goggles usually, and Backcountry suggests expertise that I plainly do not possess. Sort of Ray Mears for a day stuff.
The range was only 45% to 15% so my concerns were over the sunglasses ability.
I looked for dealers and tried one in Brighton. They had a sample pair of different lenses but they could be ordered. Helpfully they had left on the USA sticker of $60. They wanted £60 though. When I questioned the price I was disappointed by the response so I left without placing an order.
I looked for other dealers but eventually realised I would have to buy without trying somewhere on the internet. But then I found a picture of an orange pair. Form and function. Shallow perhaps but I looked in earnest. I found lots of nil stock but eventually in stock and discounted at http://www.cycleshopping.co.uk. For £26.66 delivered.
The Tifosi’s are great. The range is good and I do not carry separate sunglasses. I tried all the dark to light and back in and out of the trees and back again and they change quickly. It may be that this is due to the reduced range to be covered but I have used them on bright days, on dull days and even at dusk and they have been excellent. I still use clear lenses for night riding but for all other days I just take the one pair.
The frame design fits closely so they do not slip and they are snug to your eyes to prevent insects getting behind them and even when wearing a rain jacket and steaming gently they rarely fog at all.
There is a fault though. If you wear coloured lenses colours change so the sunny day that you are enjoying is not shared by your riding buddies. When you remark how lucky you have been the weather they all look at the grey skies above and wonder what you have in your Camelbak.