Mountain Biking Lens Recommendations
Visual Light Transmisson Key
When you see the percentage numbers next to a lens tint, that describes the amount of light that is being let through the lens. For example, 8-9% is a very dark lens, 35% is a very light sunglass lens and 96% is a clear lens. The chart above shows the percentage range we would recommend for each light condition. In lens guides, Visual Light Transmission is sometimes shortened to VLT.
Prescription mountain biking sunglasses typically use lenses made of either high grade polycarbonate or Trivex, another composite lens material. Both are lightweight and shatterproof and provide excellent clarity. There are slight differences between the two materials, but for most people they are imperceptible and both result in excellent lenses in terms of optical quality and impact protection. Oakley, Nike and Under Armour use polycarbonate and Smith and Bolle offer Trivex as well as polycarbonate in their lenses.
Polarized vs. Non-Polarized
Polarized lenses are great on bright sunny days, but they are not a neccessity in lenses used primarily for mountain biking. The exception to this is if you frequently ride in exposed areas, like the desert or Moab, then polarized lenses would be the right choice for you. The polarization filter effectively cuts glare and reduces eye fatigue and it’s hard to perform your best when squinting. Our rule of thumb is that if your face is relaxed then your body tends to feel more relaxed as well.
Progressive vs. Single Vision
If you normally use progressive lenses in your everyday glasses, should you get them in your mountain biking glasses? There isn’t a perfect answer to this one and usually riders will know for sure if they want them or not. If you are on the fence, we would recommend getting progressive lenses if your “add” power (reading magnification) was +2.00 or higher. If your "add" is weaker, for example +1.50, you can likely make out the numbers on your computer or watch without the reading magnification. In our opinion, the benefit of not giving up lens space for the magnification portion, seems to outweigh the inconvenience of squinting a little to read the computer, watch or phone.
If you have any other questions about mountain biking specific prescription glasses, give us a shout at 888-507-1230 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help.