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.
At this year’s Press Camp in Park City, Utah, Smith introduced a new helmet, Camelback launched a new protection hydration pack, Ryders Eyewear showcased its fog-free lenses and Thule showed us its GoPro-specific backpack. Keep reading for details on all of those new and nifty goods.
Smith Rover Helmet
Smith’s first mountain bike helmet, the Forefront, was launched a few years ago to much attention for its unique looks, use of multiple new protection technologies and its steep price tag. Now, Smith has added the Rover, a lower-cost MTB lid with a removable (but not adjustable) visor that will retail for $150 without MIPS and $180 with MIPS. The Rover is available in stores now in eight colors.
The Rover still features a comfortable, 360-degree fit system and the striking green honeycomb protection lining from Koroyd. Instead of full coverage, the Koroyd (a rather expensive material designed to reduce skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries) is strategically placed where crash impacts are most likely to occur. Light and camera mounts aren’t included, because whatever you already have should work at the top of the helmet, where there is no Koroyd blocking the vents.
On the road/adventure/commute side, the Smith Route is now available. It’s basically the same helmet but designed to look sleek without a visor.
Camelbak KUDU 8 Liter Pack
The KUDU is a few years old but as Camelbak’s first and only pack with built-in back protection, it’s a standout. Camelbak will be introducing a smaller, 8-liter version later this year that will retail for under the $200 mark where the current smallest KUDU sits. The breakdown is 3 liters of water and 5 liters of storage.
A plethora of straps keep everything together and an internal tool roll provides organization. The back protector, which is removable, is rated at CE Level 2 (for motos) and is flexible, lightweight, breathable and capable of taking multiple hits.
The double chest straps up front help keep the back protector snug and secure. One waist pocket is zippered, the other has an elastic flap closure (that one will fit an iPhone 6). We snagged one and will bring a review, soon. So far, so good.
Updated Hydration Reservoirs from Camelbak
Camelbak’s reservoir line got an update that was about five years in the making. Flow rate was increased by 20 percent thanks to a larger tube and a 45-degree (not 90-degree) angle on the bite valve. The bite valve has a new on-off flow switch that’s self-explanatory. Also updated is the handle, which is easier to hold and slips into pockets on the updated packs for security and stability.
The best update, in my opinion, is the cap. If you have ever had an entire water bladder leak out all over your car/back/wherever, you know how annoying some of them can be to properly and securely close. Camelbak came up with what they call a “pickle-jar” closure. Just put the cap on, turn and it’s sealed—no fiddling with alignment required. It really is that simple.
Ryders Eyewear With anti-FOG Lenses
As soon as I hear a claim like “these lenses will never fog,” my B.S. antennae goes up. But I received a pair to wear during Press Camp and, low and behold, Ryders antiFOG lenses actually work. They carried me through several steamy rides. I look forward to testing them this winter while fatbiking with a balaclava.
Ryders Eyewear started out as a family-run mountain bike sunglasses company and is now owned by one of the most high-tech lens manufacturers in the world. That gives the company access to some pretty impressive technologies, including the military-grade anti-fog treatment it adapted for its cycling lenses. Ryders elected not to polarize all of its riding lenses because it believes some glare is useful, allowing you to see things like ice patches and puddles.
Some frames will feature rimless tops, which are intended to provide unobstructed views from a crouched, looking-up position, as well as ventilation. Rims on the bottom can also help protect your face in the event of a crash. Sunglasses with antiFOG lenses start at $79 for clear up to about $150 for lenses packed with multiple technologies (too many to explain here; you can still get polarization and photochromatic if you want it). Many models feature adjustable nose pieces and low-profile stems that work well with a wide variety of helmets.
Thule Legend GoPro Backpack
This product is pretty self-explanatory. It’s also not brand-new, but it still raises eyebrows and gets some people excited. If you believe that your ride didn’t happen unless you posted a video of it to your favorite social media account, check out the Thule Legend.
The Legend retails for $200, has integrated mounts both front and rear, keeps all of your camera accessories well organized and protected, and can carry up to three GoPro cameras in a crush-proof compartment. It also has a hydration bladder compartment (though one is not included). Get out there and get rad.
The Ryders antiFOG collection represents the next level of cycling eyewear. The anti-fog treatment on the inside of the lens is permanent and washable, meaning you won’t have to worry about the anti-fog wearing out over time. The front of the lens is hydrophobic, ensuring that water doesn’t distort your vision. The antiFOG/hydrophobic features are combined with Ryders’ Traction technology, highlighting the differences in surface textures. All of this is then packaged inside the Thorn frame, which is ultra-durable and equipped with anti-slip nose pads to keep them in place. Your face is going to like these.
Read the Dirt Rag review of the antiFOG glasses here, and enter to win a pair of your own by filling out your contact information below. If you’re having trouble with the form you can open it in a new window. Please read the terms and conditions prior to entering. Good luck!Tweet Print
Aside from a helmet and some air in the tires, there’s one thing I can never ride without: proper eyewear. The right glasses not only keep the sun from getting in your eyes, they can keep even more nasty things from snuggling up to your corneas, like low-hanging branches or pebbles tossed up from other riders. That’s why Ryders Eyewear builds its lenses from shatterproof polycarbonate, the same stuff they use to make astronaut helmets.
Now you can grab any old pair of shades if you’re chillin’ on the beach, but when you’re riding in and out tree canopies in all sorts of lighting conditions from bright daylight to overcast skies at dusk, those super dark specs aren’t going to help. That’s why I’m such a fan of photo-chromatic lenses like those found in the Ryders Eyewear Thorn. When you pop out of the trees into bright light they begin to darken instantly, dropping the amount of visible light transmitted from 76 percent to 27 percent. When you dive back in, they lighten up, albeit a little more slowly.
While the changes in light transmission are keeping your rods and cones comfy, the polarized, yellow-tinted lenses add definition to the trail. I will say you sacrifice some style points with the yellow lizard eyes, but if you can look past that (sorry, terrible pun) you’ll see it definetly works. Rocks and roots pop out on the trail, all while you’re safe from 100 percent of the UVA, UVB, UVC and any other nasty light that’s trying to ruin your ride.
The lenses in this model are also coated on the front with a hydrophobic coating that sheds water and prevents streaks so you can keep them on in the rain and still see when you inevitably get drops of sweat dripping down from your helmet. Meanwhile, the inside has an anti-fog coating that is permanent and washable so you don’t have to worry about it wearing off. I often have to remove my glasses because they fog up while I catch my breath at the top of a climb (pretty much every climb) but the Ryders lenses are set-and-forget. Check out this short video of the anti-fog treatment in action.
If you’re the kind of person who destroys your glasses, you can take comfort in the scratch-resistant coating on the lenses and the simple, sturdy plastic body. Plus they come with a soft lens-wipe pouch and a solid zippered case.
What I like best about Ryders Eyewear is that its products have all the technology of the fancy brands without requiring you skip a mortgage payment to get your hands on a pair. The Thorn lineup starts at $50 for the basic lenses and tops out at $140 for the top-level lenses. The black model we tested retails for $130.Tweet Print