Decathlon offer a wide range of cycling kit under the Rockrider brand, which includes sunglasses - good news as the weather turns warmer!
Sunglasses protect the eyes - from UV and from debris off the back of someone else's tyres or blowing in the wind. Choosing the right shades automatically transforms any cyclist from a nondescript cyclist to a supermodel.
Enter the Rockrider Cross-Country Mountain Bike Glasses. They will protect the eyes and increase the sex appeal no end!
Rockrider Cross-Country Mountain Bike Glasses
Rockrider are the house brand of French sports retailer Decathlon. They offer an extensive range of kit for cyclists - including these sunglasses. Sunglasses are one of the definitive aesthetical points for cyclists and, so, can fetch some absurdly high prices. Fortunately, brands like Rockrider set out to create useful glasses that look good while being affordable. These glasses retail for a very affordable price of £34.99.
The Rockrider Cross-Country Mountain Bike Glasses are available in several colourways. I went for the conservative black option, but you can choose from snow white, lime yellow and bordeaux.
Two sets of lenses are included, a clear lens and a dark lens. Both have a specially-designed shape limiting vision-interfering steam from forming. The lenses also filter 100% of UV and are made from a highly durable polycarbonate.
The clear lens is a category 0, meaning, it lets between 80% to 100% of light in. It's not designed to offer protection from the sun, but rather to offer protection at night and in the rain.
The dark lens is category 3. It lets a paltry 8% to 18% of light in. This opaque lens is clearly designed to protect the eyes in sunny weather.
The glasses come with a reinforced case. In the case is a slot for the lens not in use, a main compartment for the glasses, a cloth case and instructions on how to change lenses and glass maintenance.
The frames are made of a combination of polyamide and rubber. Of course, some areas pose a higher risk if things go wrong, so the nose pads also incorporate an impact-resistant polycarbonate. To keep glasses slipping, there are grips at the tips of the arms and in the nose bridge.
Frame and lenses together, the glasses weigh a mere 39g, in no way performance-depreciating.
Rockrider have designed the glasses to have a wide field of vision. Having the clear field of vision will help to see during rides. Also, the lens width gives maximum coverage for protection from spray and wind, both bugbears every rider has experienced on rides.
Instructions to clean could not be more straightforward. Simply, rinse the glasses - including the lenses - under water. Liquid soap can be used for a deeper clean. To wipe the glasses, simply dab them with a soft cloth. Do not rub as this could scratch the lenses. Once happy with the results, leave the glasses out to air dry. When dry, give the glasses a gentle wipe to remove any residual marks.
Of course, it almost goes without saying, but chuck the glasses into the case they came with when not in use. The case isn't just for show! When they're stored in the case, the glasses are protected from scratches, shocks and crushing.
Following proper use, cleaning and storage guidelines, Decathlon will guarantee the glasses for two years.
Testing in the Atlas Mountains
I tested the glasses while riding in Morocco on this year's Atlas Mountain Race.
I had a brainwave - riding through the Moroccan desert and sun would be the perfect place to put these sunnies to the test. On this occasion, my brainwave was right!
Less for journalistic thoroughness and more for the need to protect my eyes, I virtually had these glasses strapped to my face for many hours/ days while there.
Morocco is a dusty, sunny and sandy land - the perfect place to test all the qualities of these glasses!
I came away understanding the glass' comfort, lens performance and protection offered.
Saturated with sweat, seeing double after being baked by the heat, the glasses held pretty firm on my face. I will say, while sweat wasn't an issue keeping the glasses in place, they sit high enough on the face that my helmet rested on the top of the frame and pushed them down. So, I was still having to push the glasses back up my nose frequently enough. But, they certainly weren't too tight against the head to cause any discomfort.
Having the lenses was a blessing. The desert is the desert for a reason. Nary a cloud exists in the sky and there was little shade to speak of. From about 7:00 to 20:00 the sun was ever-present. And light reflected off the sand too. So, it was bright!
Of course, conversely, riding in the desert at night, it's dark. So, having the two lenses was great.
Swapping them out wasn't difficult at all. There's a magnet on the outside of the nose piece, to hold the lens to the frame. And the lens then snaps into the frame on either side, holding it fixed and in place.
The wide field of view did not interfere with my vision. The frames, importantly, didn't blocked my peripheral vision so I was able to maintain confidence riding.
There weren't overhanging tree branches to protect the eyes against, nor bugs or even dirt off the wheel from the cyclist in-front (bikepacking races invented social distancing).
But, what there was in ample supply was dust. Everywhere. Look to the left, dust. To the right? More dust! And, that's where these glasses really came into their own for me. They were a face mask for my eyes! Without the wider-framed lenses to protect my eyes from the drying effects of the sand and dust, my eyes would have been dessicated raisins after day one.
Oh, and don't worry about the 'cross-country mountain bike' description. Now that I'm back from Morocco, I wear the glasses out on the road bike - I still need UV and environmental protection!
Once the race finished and I peeled the glasses from my face, cleaning them for the next use was simple. I followed the instructions outlined above - I did embellish slightly in that I did use soap AND I also let the glasses soak a little in the water. Many layers of sunblock, dirt and sweat that had seeped into the glasses washed away leaving them as good as new for the next wear.
I've had the pleasure of reviewing a few pieces from Rockrider now. Across the items I have tested, quality and affordability combined with appealing design has always been present.
The Rockrider Cross-Country Mountain Bike Glasses are no different. They're designed with the rider in mind - a comfortable piece of kit that looks great, does what it's supposed to and doesn't cause financial ruination.
Rockrider Cross-Country Mountain Bike Glasses, £34.99 from decathlon.co.uk