Having the right sunglasses is essential for your comfort and safety as you ride. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the right pair, and you may want to make sure you get a versatile model that can perform in different riding conditions.
The two principle purposes for getting a sport-specific pair of motorcycle sunglasses are 1.) to protect your eyes from sunlight as you ride and 2.) to protect your eyes from debris in the air. Any sunglasses can take care of the former, but bikers must be extra careful of airborne fragments traveling at high speeds since they don't have the protection of a windshield.
Long distance and high speed rides require protection from the wind. Best case scenario if you try and wing it with a normal pair of shades is that your eyes will become very dry as the wind creeps behind the lenses. Worst case scenario is the glasses fly completely off your face. Look for a model with a foam eye cup to seal out the wind - but keep in mind the sunglasses should still be equipped with some air vents to allow the eyes to breathe.
However, if you know you’re going for a slower ride, with frequent stops, you may want a pair that allows a little more air circulation to prevent fogging up and reduce sweating. A great in-between option would be a pair with a removable eye seal that you can take out for cruising around town and keep in for longer or higher speed rides.
Another essential element for motorcycle sunglasses is unbreakable lenses. Make sure your choice has Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses – and that they wrap around the sides of your eye for protection.
Finally, you should consider your lens coating options. A polarized lens is a pretty good bet for biking – they will reduce strain on your eyes by eliminating glare and annoying reflections off windshields and slick roads. The clean, crisp results you get from a polarized lens could even improve your reaction time on the road. The only time you may not want to use polarized lenses is in combination with a full face helmet.
There are also a myriad of choices for lens colors. Brown and copper shades will provide the best contrast and ensure you can see those green and red stoplights crystal clear. Grey lenses will give you the most accurate color spectrum, while yellow lenses work best in low light environments; dawn, dusk, and cloudy days. A mirrored coating is mainly for fashion but will filter a little more additional light out as well.
FramesDirect.com carries many of the top-of-the-line manufacturers of motorcycle sunglasses and goggles. The iconic Harley Davidson brand produces their own line. And did you know Oakley started off as a motocross brand? Some of the most popular motorcycle glasses are by Wiley X. In particular, the AirRage and the the Brick are biker's favorites. You may also want to check out Smith Optics and Liberty Sport for some off the beaten track options.
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