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Golden rule of biking- if you can’t see, you can’t ride. There’s no getting around that, especially in winter when most eyewear tends to fog up almost immediately. The answer to this problem is the Ryders Eyewear Roam, a do-it-all swiss army knife of sunglasses meant for use by cyclists only. And when we say do-it-all, we mean it. Anti-fog, photochromic, lightweight and more- sounds perfect for winter fat biking, right?
Generally, we’re skeptical of any high-price point sunglasses. But with so many problems solved in one package, we decided to give the Roams a try to see if they really can do it all. Now, Ryders Eyewear sent us a pair of Roams for review. And in no way does that change our objectivity of this review. If a product isn’t great, we’ll call it out. If it’s fantastic, we’ll call it out for that as well. So, we’re the Roam’s great or not? Read on below.
Ryders Eyewear calls the Fyre lens the highest performing lens available on the market today. They come packed with loads of performance perks with lots of fun marketing names, but there are a few big takeaways. Color enhancement, anti-fog, photochromic properties, extreme durability and they’re own take on polarizing that works with the photochromic functionality.
In a word, it is phenomenal. For our purposes, this was the single biggest function the Roams needed to deliver on, which they did exceptionally. Between some clever frame designs that usher in air (more on that below) and the inherent anti-fog capabilities of the lens itself, it was very difficult to get even partial fogging. In fact, at one point I had inadvertently tucked the bottom and top of the Roam frame under my balaclava, allowing basically no ventilation. Even then, the glasses refused to fog over all the way. It’s really hard to believe just how well the anti-fog works on these.
Changing light conditions make keeping your eye on the trail harder. This is even more pertinent when riding on snow. If the sun is darting in and out of the clouds, riders are generally given two conditions. In the sun, trails become glaringly bright and demand very good dimming from sunglasses cut the brightness. But when the sun goes behind a cloud, the bright trail can quickly become monotone, especially if sunglasses add too much dimming to the equation.
The Roams meet this problem head on with very active and effective photochromic properties. Summed up in a sentence, these sunglasses will give you one consistent visual output regardless of the external lighting conditions. In bright, sunny situations, they dimmed the trails perfectly. In darker conditions, they Fyre lens relaxed dimming and allowed me to still see the details of the snow-covered trails.
These photochromic shifts happen quickly enough to accommodate situations in which patchy cloud cover lead to the sun continuously darting in and out in a matter of seconds. It’s a critical feature that is only outperformed by the Roam’s anti-fog.
With the Roams, Ryders Eyewear clearly designed the product with function first and foremost. Yes, the Roam looks like eyewear love child of Bono and Daft Punk. Let’s be clear, no one will wear these in any situation outside of riding a bike. And you know what- that’s exactly the point.
I have to give Ryders major props in their design being focused primarily on function and less on if it is fashionable or not. How is it functional? Take the frames on the bottom of the lens and the subsequent lack of frame on the top. This essentially helps block moisture-laden airflow from breathing on the bottom and allows more air to escape out of the top. Brilliant.
Then there are the small eyelet holes in the bottom of the frame that funnel outside air into the are between your eyes and the lens. This, of course, helps keep moisture that does make it to that area flushed out ASAP.
The Roams do feature a proprietary ability to remove the lower frame and make the aesthetics a bit more bearable. But for sake of function, we’re not going to cover that because keeping the lower frame in place helps amplify key features like the anti-fog. And again, that’s the entire point of these glasses.
Ryders Eyewear is a company typically synonymous with value. Because of that it may surprise some people that the Roams command a $240 price tag, putting them on par with the price of other high end eyewear like the Smith Attack.
I have been and always will be unlikely to purchase sunglasses that pass the $80 mark. It would take an truly exceptional product to push me past that limit, and a product that once I have used it I feel like I couldn’t do without. Ryders Eyewear has made just that product in the Roam. It really is that good. So much so that if I lost my pair tomorrow, I would have another pair purchased by tomorrow night. In my opinion, the Roams are an absolutely essential and critical piece of gear for winter fat biking.