Review: Tifosi Dolomite Fototec sunglasses

Tifosi Dolomite with Fototec lenses

While sunglasses are generally not absolutely critical for someone to enjoy mountain biking, they are definitely one of the most important accessories you can invest in to add to enhance your riding comfort. In Egypt, we ride in open desert environments with no tree cover, and the direct sunlight, often windy weather in the winter month make a good pair of sport sunglasses essential to protect your eyes from the elements and UV rays. It might become particularly important for riders with sensitive eyes or those who wear contact lenses.

A good deal of personal preference as far as style and fit factors in choosing a good pair of sport sunglasses, but there are a few considerations you should keep in mind when selecting a pair of shades for mountain biking (or outdoor sports, in general). You should most importantly ensure that they have proper fit so as to stay put on your face on rough trail rides and that the lenses are of high-quality material.

Tifosi Optics is a relatively new company (established 2003) that focuses on high-quality sports eyewear. They offer a very nice range of sunglasses based on interchangeable lenses or a single Fototec™ photochromic lens that automatically changes lens opaqueness with changes in the light conditions. The Fototec™ version is what we have and what we are reviewing here.

Fit: The Dolomite is designed to fit “medium to large” faces, according to Tifosi’s product page. They definitely won’t fit snugly to smaller faces, who will want to consider other pairs from Tifosi that are suitable for smaller faces the Torrent or the Pave. I’ve had no problems with the Dolomite sliding off my nose during rough trail rides, but that might be just becuase I have a big nose 🙂

Style: Sport-specific sunglasses usually have designs and colors that wouldn’t go well with regular day-to-day use and attire. Not the Dolomite.  This is a pair of glasses that you wouldn’t mind wearing to an outing with friends as well as on the trail, considering their more subtle or relatively conservative design. They also come in a variety of frame colors.

Lenses: So far most of what is mentioned above are things that would be pretty standard on any pair of quality sunglasses. It is in the Fototec™ lenes, however, that the Dolomites have their edge. That Fototec™ thing really does work…

Tifosi Dolomite with Fototec lenses

The pictures on the left were taken in the shade, those on the right are in direct sunlight. You can see the very visible difference in lens opaqueness. I rode a few rides in overcast conditions or during sunset and never needed to take them off.

Another nice thing about Tifosi sunglasses is the price: at $60, this pair is very reasonably priced in comparison with similar pairs from other brands. For example, the Specialized Berm is $120, the Zeal Maestro is $130, the Rudy Project Apache SX is $175, the Oakely Eyepatch is $90+ and the Julbo Trail is $160. If you opt for the inetrchangable lens option, you get three lenses included. Tifosi sunglasses also come with a lifetime warranty, which is saying something about the quality you’re getting.

The bottomline is: If you’re looking for a great, affordable pair of sunglasses for mountain biking or outdoor sports, the Dolomite is a great option considering the very nice lens technology, style, quality and price.

Preview: DT Swiss X1800 Wheelset

A very quick note on wheelsets:

We have not done a post on mountain bike wheelsets before, but before we look at this quality wheelset by DT Swiss, you should know why you should pay attention to the quality of any bike wheel purchase you make, and how to make the choice.

A mountain bike’s  wheelset is one of the most important – and often among the most expensive- components on the bike. The quality of the wheelset significantly affect your mountain bike’s weight, stiffness, handling and durability.  The configuration and build type of your wheelset determines what you can do with it (leisure riding on smooth roads, light cross country, spirited trail riding to more aggressive styles of riding like freeriding and downhill) and its compatibility with other components you have on your bike (such as brake systems and axles).

dt_swiss_x1800.wheels

I recently got a DT Swiss X1800 wheelset for a new bike that I started building. I am yet to actually ride or test this wheelset, but thought I’d give you a quick preview on it, which might be useful if you are currently building a new bike or considering options for a new wheelset.

The X1800 is one of DT Swiss’ offerings in their XR line of wheels meant for cross country racing and trail riding. DT Swiss currently offers four other classes of MTB wheelsets: the TK for trekking and touring, the XM for all-mountain riding, the EX for Enduro and light freeride and the FR for freeriding and downhill racing.

First of all, why do they call it X1800? DT’s model designations are pretty straight forward: the two letter acronym f wheelset categories denotes the intended use ((XR=Cross Race, XM=Cross Mountain, EX=Enduro Cross), while the number denotes the total wheelset weight. That is, the X1800’s wheelset weight (including hubs) is 1800 grams. Not exactly featherweight but not too heavy either. You have to keep in mind the intended use of these wheels (all-around trail & cross country riding) and the assumption that the bit of extra weight goes towards a more durable and low-maintenance wheel build geared towards enthusiast riders and weekend warriors, not pro cross-country racers.

The DT Swiss X1800 wheelset and accessory package (wheel bags, QR skewers, Centerlock-to-six bolt adapters, rim tape and spoke wrench)

The x1800 has 28-spokes laced to DT’s “sleeve-jointed” rims and their “star ratchet drive system”. If you want more techno-babble look at DT’s website.
Like I said, these wheels haven’t seen any riding yet, so we can’t make a judgement now except for the fact that they look really nice with the black rims and the white graphics, and that they come with the most extensive extras package I am yet to see on a mid-range MTB wheelset. Not only do they include the standard quick-release skewers, but the also came with two very nicely padded wheelbags (individual wheelbags are usually anywhere between $20-$50), adapters for the Shimano centerlock hubs so that you can also run 6-bolt brake rotors (it is nice to have options, and a single Centerlock-to-Six bolt adapter is relatively expensive at around $30+), two rolls of quality plastic rim tape, a Prolock spoke key! Every single item is actually very useful and I love the fact that I can run different brake rotor styles with the included adapters.

More to come on this quality wheelset from DT Swiss as we go out and actually ride it 🙂