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…
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.