Dirt Rag Magazine

Review: Ryders Eyewear Face GX Glasses


I’ve been riding with a set of Face GX cycling glasses from Ryders Eyewear for a while and felt it was about time I shared my experiences with them, with you. Besides fitting great (fit is always subjective) these unique glasses have several features that are worth discussing in detail.


First, and most importantly, the lenses. The Face GX’s lenses are photochromic, meaning they automatically adjust their tint to increase or decrease the amount of light that the lens lets pass through to your eye. This is measured as a percentage called VLT, Visible Light Transmission. The higher the VLT percentage, the more light reaches your eye.

A clear lens has a VLT of 100 percent. The Face GX that I tested, with the orange lens, has a VLT rating of 47 percent – 15 percent, so they are meant to be used in conditions ranging from overcast to sunny.

The Face GX is also available with a yellow lens, which has a VLT rating of 76 percent- 27 percent, so they are meant for darker conditions, as they are able to allow more light to pass through. Both yellow and orange tinted lenses filter out blue light and are meant to enhance depth perception, as well as provide more contrast in flat lighting conditions. This helps you see varying trail surfaces in woods, at dusk, or in other low light environments.

In practice, it really works well. Objects on the trail have a more defined edge, so they easier to navigate, especially under the cover of trees.


In addition to the tint, the lenses feature two beneficial technologies. On the inside of the lens there is a coating Ryders Eyewear calls antiFOG. This coating is hydrophilic, which means it attracts and absorbs water. This limits the possibility for fogging to occur, by drawing the water droplets away from the suface of the lens. The front surface of the lens is treated with a hydrophobic coating which sheds water more easily than a non-treated lens. The coatings are permanent and do not need to be reapplied.

Both worked incredibly well for me. I experienced no lens fogging, even in the most humid conditions. The only time I needed to take off the glasses and wipe them was when sweat would build up inside the lenses. The gasket helped alleviate a bit of that, which I’ll touch on next.

Obviously you’ll have to clean the fronts of the lenses every so often, but the coating seemed to lessen the need. Not to be overlooked, the lenses are rated UV400, which means they block rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. That includes all harmful UVA and UVB light, and that’s good.


Ryders Eyewear makes two models of the Face, one with and one without a foam gasket. The GX model features the gasket which is designed to provide protection against dust and scattered light coming past the edges of the frame. While the gasket didn’t provide a complete seal to my face it did reduce the open space between my skin and the frame, which undoubtedly kept out particles that might have made it into my eyeballs with non-gasketed eyeglasses.

As I eluded to before, the foam also did a good job of absorbing some of the errant sweat that might have gotten into my eyes or clouded the inside of the lenses. Because it is foam, the gasket will break down over time. Ryders Eyewear sells replacement gaskets for $30 if you find you need one.

The gasket is easily removable, but does leave a screw in the bridge so I wouldn’t recommend using the GX model without the gasket installed. If you get sick of the gasket, you could always just remove it and the screw and you’d have a perfectly fine pair of glasses to wear.

The only real negative thing I have to say about the Face GX glasses is that the temple and earpiece do not have a rigid internal structure, so you won’t be able to bend them to fit a head that is narrower or wider than they were originally designed for. That being said, I have a big head and they were pretty snug on me, but not uncomfortably so, while my girlfriend has a petite head and they fit her well too.

The Face GX costs $160 and carries a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty along with 3 year crash replacement coverage. Check out the Face GX, and all Ryder Eyewear’s glasses.



Review: Norco Torrent 7.1


This is our third annual roundup of trail bikes that aren’t priced to the stratosphere. We could call them affordable, budget, real-world, blue-collar or college-fund-friendly, but someone would take offense at our assumption of disposable income level. It doesn’t really matter though. These are great bikes for the price, and we’ll leave it up to you about what to spend. Each bike was hand picked, not just for its price, but its components, geometry and modern features. From Issue #189.

Get an overview of all of the bikes in this test, here, and keep an eye out for full reviews of each.

Norco Torrent-3

Tester: Eric McKeegan
Age: 41, Height: 5’11″, Weight: 155 lbs., Inseam: 31”
Price: $2,425
Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL

As a society, we seem fond of declaring things dead. I’m guilty of it myself recently in regards to singlespeeds (they make better zombies anyway). But it was years ago that certain media types declared the hardtail dead. Fortunately no one listened, otherwise the Norco Torrent 7.1 wouldn’t exist, and that would be a damn shame.

Norco Torrent-1

Let’s start with looks. Something about this bike just looks so proportional to me, from the size of the wheels, to the curve of the seat tube, to the angle of the fork; everything lines up to make a right smart looking ride.

Norco Torrent-6

But you can’t ride appearances, and fortunately there is plenty of serious performance to back up the minty paint job. Geometry plays the main role here, with a yoke allowing for 16.7-inch chainstays on my size large. Smaller frames get shorter stays, larger get longer stays, a feature rarely seen outside of custom builders. Head angle sits at a slack 67 degrees, 25.1-inch top tube, and a 12.8-inch bottom bracket.

Norco Torrent-4

Nothing is a let down on the parts selection either: SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain, Avid DB5 brakes, wide bar, short stem, KS dropper and the real stars—Nobby Nic 2.8s on WTB Scraper i45 rims. Solid all around. I didn’t get to sample the stock RockShox Yari fork; it wasn’t ready in time for the review.

Norco Torrent-7

The Torrent looks good on paper, but it absolutely shreds on the trail. I’ve never ridden a bike that handles damp trails and wet leaves so well. The widely spaced knobs on the Nobby Nics dig in, but also let go and slide around with a predictability that made me feel like a much better rider. Smart geometry and a dropper certainly help with this, but the tires are truly a stand-out for wet weather.

Norco Torrent-5

That short rear end invites all manner of rear wheel shenanigans, someone with more skill than me could really make this bike dance, but even I am always looking for things to jump up, over or around. The long front center keeps things feeling stable when pointed downhill, but steep greasy climbs can be a handful. Keeping enough weight on the front to keep the wheel down while not losing traction in the rear is frustrating at times. I’m more than willing to trade off a bit of walking on climbs for the fun going down.

Norco Torrent-8

Those biggish tires really shine on this bike. The aluminum frame is obviously a stiff platform, but even on rough terrain, the tires do a great job keeping things in control. I still get a few rude reminders from time to time that this is a hardtail, but that is part of the fun of riding a hardtail on rough trails.

After spending many miles on the Torrent, I can confidently say this bike is exactly what a modern trail hardtail should be. What complaints I can muster are few. The dropper is only 100 mm, a tooth on the GX cassette bent and needed to be cavemanned back into place trailside, and the grips are rubbish.

Norco Torrent-2

Norco has been making some of the best-handling trail bikes on the market for years, and the Torrent doesn’t interrupt this streak. Bikes like this will make the widespread acceptance of 27plus tires inevitable for everyday mountain bikers, and I can get behind that 100 percent.


  • Solid part spec
  • Almost-perfect trail bike geometry
  • Boost spacing and a threaded bottom bracket


  • Paint job not for everyone
  • Lock-on grips still twist on bars
  • Dropper post could use more drop


  • Wheelbase: 45.9”
  • Top Tube: 25.1”
  • Head Angle: 67˚
  • Seat-Tube Angle: 72.7˚
  • Bottom Bracket: 12.8”
  • Rear Center: 16.7”
  • Weight: 31.7lbs. w/o pedals (specs based on size tested)


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