The guys at RAD 8 were kind enough to send us the above pairs of glasses free of charge to test and review. Both pairs arrived safely in a cardboard box filled with plenty of packaging paper to stop them moving around during transit. Each pair has their own hard RAD 8 zipped shell with a handy clip on for safe keeping and transportation, and inside this they have their own soft cases to protect the lenses. They both have a strong and durable polycarbonate frame with a soft rubber nose piece as well as rubber grippers on the inside of each arm to reduce movement while riding.
We tested the polarised lenses on a bright and sunny day at The Longmynd, Shropshire. The Longmynd is brilliant for offering long mountain singletrack, big climbs and rocky descents. I wanted to put them to the test here as its home to a pretty well-known trail – Minton Batch. This trail is a little over 3km long and at this time of the year is heading into the sun and is full of dry, dusty singletrack as well as partially riding down a stream so it has a lot to offer to put the glasses to the test.
The polarised lenses performed well in regards to their excellent field of vision, great optical quality, their ability to not fog up and their stylish look (with a few people we got chatting to at each view point asking what glasses they were). The quality of the materials used is good, they are comfy to wear, work well with a helmet and I rode for 4 hours with minimal movement or the need to ‘faff’ with their position. I rode with the polarised glasses on for the whole trip, through which we had plenty of dust, horrific winds and mucky water spraying around from the bikes in front and the glasses behaved brilliantly throughout, without feeling the need to take them off to clean them at any stage.
The photochromic 504’s were tested on a dusk evening through a series of local forest trails to offer plenty of opportunity for the lenses to be put to work, riding in and out of the trees, as well as a night ride shortly after. These trails have a range of windy singletrack, berms, drop offs and jumps, so the glasses had their work cut out for them.
The lenses themselves whilst riding in an open, exposed setting with plenty of light began with a faint tint. As I rode under the trees they changed to clear, however they took a little while to change and this could cause issues if you didn’t know the trails ahead. Once they had changed they were crystal clear, and I mean crystal clear. They were that clear and comfortable that at one point I forgot I was even wearing them. The lenses themselves do show up mud and dust more than the polarised lenses but this is the case with all clear lensed glasses. What we liked about the 504’s is that they clean up easily, and even after a plenty of harsh, wet rides the joints and fixings still feel smooth and solid without any sign of movement or anything coming loose.
Although the cost of these glasses come in at nearly £70 and £90 (respectively), and there are cheaper ones on the market, we feel that you do get what you pay for with Rad 8, and what you are getting is a lot of comfort and reassurance that you can trust what you’re wearing. With the only downfall being that both pull chords on the soft bags have broken after little use, both pairs of glasses have impressed us around all aspects through design, quality and innovation, as well as the fact that you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds to get the whole package.