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The Best Sunglasses for Cycling

by
author image Billy Brown
Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California. An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight," uncooped.com, and Trails.com, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.

Whether on the road or on a trail, cycling sunglasses are essential for anyone who spends time on a bike. The best cycling sunglasses are designed not only to protect the eyes, but also to keep a rider’s vision clear while he rides, allowing him to keep an eye out for obstacles and steer clear of them--like Smith Optics’ Pivlock V90 sunglasses, with their frameless design for a wide range of vision. Look for sunglasses that give you a clear view of the terrain ahead, ones with 100-percent ultraviolet protection, and ones with tacky nose and earpieces that will stay on your face throughout the bumps and vibrations that come along with a bike ride.

Common Pitfalls

Many sunglasses provide decent protection but either won’t stay on wearers’ faces or allow vision to be obscured by sweat or rain. Make sure that your cycling sunglasses have rubber contact points that will prevent sliding, and a hydrophobic/oleophobic lens treatment, which allows lenses to repel sweat, water and oil.

Where to Buy

REI.com and Altrec.com both provide shoppers with a wide range of options for cycling sunglasses, allowing people to search by brand, price and discount percentage. The sites also feature user-generated reviews to allow shoppers to see what other cyclists think of a particular pair, and both sites offer 100-percent satisfaction guarantees and simple return policies, making sure that you don’t get stuck with sunglasses that you don’t like.

Cost

Cycling sunglasses vary widely in cost, from under $20 for a clearance pair of Julbo shades to $1,500 for Oakley’s C Six sunglasses. If you’re not bent on owning the highest-end sunglasses on the market, however, you can find good pairs of sunglasses for around $100 to $150, depending on the features that you want. The best deals are usually found online, such as the Ryders Sprint sunglasses for $31 on Altrec.com.

Insider Tips

If you ride in a variety of lighting conditions, look for sunglasses that offer either interchangeable lenses or photochromic lenses, whose tint adjusts according to the amount of light outside.

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