It’s possible to spend a lot of money on cycling sunglasses if you want to, but as this guide proves, you really don’t need them. We’ve selected a range of cycling sunglasses from just £2.99 all the way up to £45.
Not too long ago, it was best to avoid cheap cycling glasses, with poor optical quality and designs that made you look like an extra from a bad low-budget sci-fi movie.
Those days are over. Eyewear manufacturers have raised their standards of quality and style, and enforcement of the standards means you can rely on even inexpensive cycling eyewear to protect your eyes from potentially harmful ultraviolet light.
While big-name cycling sunglasses come with triple-digit price tags, you can get some really good glasses for as little as five pounds. Look for brands like Tifosi, Lazer, Decathlon’s Rockrider, Wiggle’s dhb brand, Endura and Northwave for value-for-money goggles.
Multi-lens sets provide versatility to tackle any lighting condition. Lenses that react to changing light conditions are rare on cheap cycling sunglasses, but we found two good examples
Madison’s Stealth Eyewear is brilliant sunglasses at a great price. The frameless design provides a nearly uninterrupted field of vision, while the bronze mirror lens is easy on the eyes on overcast to clear days.
If you’re looking for a great pair of sunglasses that don’t cost a fortune, these are a great choice. They provide great coverage, stay put on your face, are comfortable on long rides, and have great lenses.
The bronze mirror lens is comfortable to use (blue or silver mirror options are also available). Vision is good in lightly cloudy and bright conditions with the (many) road imperfections easy to spot from a good distance.
There’s also the option to fit Madison’s £4.99 RX insert if you need corrective lenses.
Read our review of Madison Stealth glasses
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Best Photochromic Glasses: Rockrider XC Race Photochromic Sunglasses — Shop now for £49.99 at Decathlon
With little to no fogging, good eye coverage and an unobstructed field of vision, Rockrider’s XC Race Photochromic goggles offer great performance for their low price. The light-sensitive tint also works very well, which is good – it saves you from using the flimsy lens-changing mechanism.
Tester Jim writes: “I never noticed the lens color change happening, and I never found that I couldn’t see or had to squint – the change is quick, smooth and effective. At 39g, XC racing is barely noticeable—thermonuclear staining aside—once turned on. Coupled with an unrestricted view, they make for a very discreet kit once in action. More impressive is their resistance to fogging, even provoked. They can darken on slow, steep climbs in soft, wet conditions, but dissipate quickly once you move a little faster.
“They’re billed as mountain bike goggles, but we see no reason not to use them on the road as well, especially since the latest version has a black frame which is rather less in your face than the yellow one. garish we tested. They don’t have the premium feel of more expensive brands, but they are a lightweight, efficient and competitive set of specs. They protect your eyes from debris, UV and glare, resist foggy and no doubt look pretty good while doing it.
Read our review of the Rockrider XC Race Photochromic sunglasses
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The Tifosi Swank Single Lens Sunglasses are really useful on the bike, but don’t look out of place in the pub or cafe. Think of fashion shades you can wear on your bike that will always protect your eyeballs.
Tester Lara writes: “The frames are made of lightweight Grilamid TR-90 nylon and the lenses are scratch-resistant and shatterproof polycarbonate. They come in a huge range of frame/lens color combinations. The bottle green/smoke lens option I tested has a mid-range tint, which makes it dark enough for casual summer use without being so dark that you can’t use it in dim light as well. weaker. The Glare Guard lens coating reduces glare well. The frames and nosepiece aren’t adjustable, but I found them comfortable with or without a helmet, and the subtle shape of the arms held them in place on my head without overly constricting or interfering with my ears or helmet if I was wear one.
“If you want a pair of goggles that you can wear a lot, on or off the bike, and won’t be too devastated to lose (we’ve all done that), then these are just the ticket.”
Read our Tifosi Swank single lens sunglasses review
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BBB’s Avenger Sunglasses are a great set that shows you don’t need to spend hundreds on a quality pair of cycling goggles. With great coverage, a range of lenses, and an impressive weight, there’s very little not to like.
The Avengers uses a large one-piece polycarbonate wraparound lens that really protects your eyes from wind and dust when riding, even at high speeds. In the pack are two more lenses next to the smoke you can see mounted in the photos, a yellow option and a clear one.
Frame thickness has been kept to a minimum, providing a large field of vision with nothing in your sight when checking traffic over your shoulder. Lens clarity is good, if not the sharpest, and you don’t get any distortion from the curved surface.
Overall, the Avengers are very good. Granted, they don’t quite have the crisp clarity of some of the more expensive shades from Oakley et al, but when you factor in the price, they’re hard to knock.
Read our BBB Avenger sunglasses review
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dhb’s photochromatic half frame sunglasses perform decently in a variety of conditions without looking overtly technical or breaking the bank. I’m also happy to report that I found them to be very comfortable worn for long periods of time.
The photochromic technology works very well for the most part: they react better to subtle changes in light than to sudden, extreme changes such as harsh morning/evening sun, and although they don’t react as quickly as models much more expensive, I would say don’t consider it a deal breaker considering their price.
At dusk they handled steady, gradual darkness surprisingly well and they never gave a misleading view of surfaces or conditions ahead – optical clarity remained consistently good. To date, I haven’t needed to remove them in very low light.
Read our dhb PhotoChromatic Half Frame sunglasses review
Northwave’s Blade goggles have plenty of impressive features for a pair that only costs 45 pounds. The lenses have what Northwave calls an off-center base. The focal center axis is aligned with the focal center of the eye so your eyes won’t get tired and the curvature won’t cause any image distortion. It’s not very noticeable at first, but if you go back to other glasses, you’ll notice how good the clarity is on the blades.
Tester Stu writes: “The fit is good with enough pressure to keep them in place with your head down or in your helmet vents when you go for that professional look. There’s nothing worse than seeing your glasses go under the wheels of a car following you.Refraction from oncoming headlights was my only issue which during the winter months would see me struggling a little as all my driving is in the darkness at rush hour.
“Overall a very neat set and well worth the cost. I have bought various glasses around this price over the years. None inspired much confidence and I always came back to my Oakleys, but the Blades have a premium feel.
Read our Northwave Blade review
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