Rad 8 Photochromic 504 Glasses
It’s a bit of a mouthful for a product name but essentially they’re mountain biking glasses designed to be worn all day without any need to swap lenses or take them off. The photochromic lens is the star of the show on this pair of glasses as it’s designed to transition to a darker tint when it’s sunny, and lose the shading when it’s not. Glasses that take the guessing out of lens choices – pretty good, right?
The particular pair I’ve been using are the Mudhugger collaboration with Rad8; a smart looking black colour with a full frame (Rad8 call it the 504 model). They also do a non-Mudhugger version in a blue colour but let’s be honest, the black looks the better of the two choices.
I’ve had various glasses for riding in since I’ve been on the bike but I’ve not liked a single pair. I’ve found them to be uncomfortable or with frames that sit in my field of view and put me off. Because of that, I’ve always been a fan of either riding in no glasses or using goggles. So when I borrowed a pair of Rad8s on a really sunny day after forgetting my goggles it’s fair to say I was a sceptic. Having a riding buddy who’s an ambassador for Rad8 made me feel like I should give them a go when he offered to lend me a pair, so I threw them on.
Surprisingly, they fit great and are comfortable enough for a full days riding; mostly because they weigh next to nothing and have little bits of grippy silicon-like material in all the right places. They certainly feel like a pair of glasses that should cost way more than they do.
When off the bike, I found the frames sit in my field of view and I can see the bottom of where the lens meets the black underneath. However, when on the bike it seems your head sits slightly differently and the way you look down the trail means that the frames suddenly disappear from view. I don’t wear these for anything other than biking because of how irritating that frame is, but for riding they’re perfect – I don’t see the frame at all.
The lens is the real winner in these glasses though. The fact that it transitions depending on the brightness outside means that there’s no guesswork with different tinted lenses like there is on my googles. I can just put the Rad8s on and go ride. Simple.
As for the transition itself, I’ve had absolutely no problems with it at all. It seems to transition well between different exposures and I’ve never found myself in a spot where I’m either blinded by the sun or can’t see due to it being too dark. I’ve tested these glasses on some of the most changeable conditions in the UK over winter and during a trip to Spain where the sun was most definitely shining between forest sections. In all instances, they’ve performed better than I ever thought they could.
All in all, I’m a bit of a convert now. I’ve gone from essentially hating to ride in glasses to using this pair on most of my rides. They really are that good.