Protecting your eyes should be a priority whether on or off the bike. This week’s reviews highlight unique eyewear from Tifosi Optics and Roka.
Tifosi Rail XC sunglasses with Fototec lenses
Frame material: Grilamid TR-90
Lens: Clarion Blue Fototec
Lens material: Shatterproof and scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens
Lens Style: Rimless shield
Fit: Small to medium faces
Weight: 31 grams
Availability: Online or retail
Obtained by: Company sample
RBR advertiser: No
Sunglasses That Can Take You From Sunrise to Sunset
This time of year, I’m either starting my rides shortly before sunrise or racing to finish before sunset. Tifosi’s new Rail XC sunglasses with Fototec lenses are perfect for these scenarios. When riding in low light conditions, the lens allows more light through, actually 46% light transmission. Then the lens automatically darkens in full sun, allowing only 13% light transmission. Be aware this does not work inside a car, as the activating rays do not penetrate the windshield.
This is Tifosi’z debut of a Clarion Blue Fototec lens and, according to the company, one of the only lenses on the market that combines mirror and photochromic technology. The Rail XC is also available in Clarion Red Fototec and 3-lens interchange models with lenses for bright, low, and no light scenarios.
The Rail XC has all the same high-performance features as the Rail, but it is now more streamlined to fit small to medium size faces and is 1 gram lighter. The Rail XC fits my narrow face much better than the Rail I reviewed. Also, the adjustable nose and ear pads let me customize the fit, while the hydrophilic rubber ear and nose pads increase gripping power when wet from rain, snow, or sweat.
A 131mm x 52.6 shield provides plenty of coverage from dust and debris. As a contact lens wearer, the shield protected my eyes and allowed plenty of airflow.
The only negative I have with the Rail XC is that the arms of these sunglasses are on the thicker side, and I couldn’t attach a rearview mirror. It’s not a big deal when riding trails or gravel, but I still use a mirror and a Garmin Varia rear radar on high-traffic roads.
Included in the Box
As with virtually all Tifosi sunglasses, they come in a nice zippered, hardshell carrying case. Also included is a microfiber cleaning cloth that doubles as a storage bag.
ROKA Hunter 2.0 Blue Light Glasses
Price: start at $155 (nonprescription)
Frame material: TR-90 nylon
Lens options: Polycarbonate, Trivex, or High Index
Weight: 21 grams
Obtained by: Company sample
RBR advertiser: No
Blue Light Glasses to Help with Better and More Restorative Sleep
Like most people, you are probably on your smartphone, computer, or watching TV until heading to bed. Studies have shown that you should refrain from screen time for at least 90 minutes before going to sleep. Why? Because artificial blue light from these electronic devices wreaks havoc with your production of melatonin and circadian rhythm.
The blue light signals your brain to stop producing melatonin. Without melatonin production, you take longer to fall asleep. Plus, you often wake up at 2 am and have difficulty falling back to sleep. ROKA’s Rise ZX-3 lens blocks 53% of the harmful blue light helping you sleep better. If you sleep better, you recover better, and if you recover better, you ride better.
To understand more about sleep, listen to Dr. Huberman’s podcast “Dial Down Light In The Evening.” In this podcast, he covers why you should avoid blue light and bright light of any color, as it can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. Too much light could impact stress levels and your learning and memory systems. Blue-blocking glasses, like the Roka glasses I tested, could be helpful in the evenings, but the best plan is to avoid screens starting at 10 pm. Check out Dr. Huberman’s toolkit for sleep here to learn more ways to optimize your rest.
Feather-light and Comfortable
ROKA has a variety of blue light frames to pick from, and the company sent me a pair of their Hunter 2.0 in nonprescription. But they can also be purchased as readers or prescription.
These frames are incredibly comfortable at only 21 grams and designed with no pressure points. It didn’t feel like I was wearing glasses, which was great as I sometimes get headaches when I wear glasses for hours at a time. But these frames are featherweight.
The frames have nose and temple pads inspired by the soft but sticky feet of the Gecko. Roka’s patented GEKO™ fit and retention system features proprietary elastomer pads that are hydrophilic, chemical resistant, and provide comfort for multi-directional traction. No matter how sweaty you get or how you move, bounce or shake, these frames won’t slide down your nose.
Included in the Box
In the box comes a hard shell case, a microfiber bag that doubles as a cleaning cloth, and three different size nose pads to dial in the fit.
The Hunter 2.0 frames with blue light lenses are pricey at $155, but the ultra-comfortable frames and quality materials will provide years of wear and quality sleep.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.
Vernon Ellicott says
I don’t know where you got the $155 price but they are over $300 on the ROKA website.
Oliver Jones says
Tifosi is terrific! Specifically, they offer reasonably priced replacement lenses and upgrade lenses for many of their product lines. My Sledge sunglasses don’t have the photochromic lens, but after reading your review I might spring for it.
Tina Madland says
All of my cycling glasses are Tifosi, so I’m already a fan. Some glasses fit well, others not perfectly, so it is helpful that you mentioned that the Rail XC is sized nicely for small to medium faces.
In my case, the glasses that don’t fit well are too big. And what I’ve found over and over with all brands is that the bigger lenses like the Rail’s tend to sit low on my face. My eyes are near the top of the lens with the greater portion of the lens sitting below my eyes – and on my cheek. This likely has to do with the structure of my face, but I am encouraged by the photo you posted to try on a pair of Rail XCs. They appear to sit properly on your face.
I am also interested in trying the Fototec lens. I run into the same challenge as you – starting a ride when it’s dark, transitioning into bright sunlight. Currently I have to take a second set of lenses with me if I want to block the sun.
I recently tried a pair of tifosi fototec glasses. I’m now a fan and looking forward to adding another next pair.