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Choosing the perfect pair of sunglasses can be a daunting task. Even if you’re considering just one brand, the possibilities seem endless! Do I want maximum coverage, or light weight? What style of tint? But what if I’m riding in bright light, cloud cover, and possibly at night? What about interaction with my helmet?

While I can’t guarantee that Ryders’ Binder Interchangeable glasses will meet every single one of the possible criteria you might have, they’re most definitely a very versatile pair of trail-worthy sunglasses.

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Features

The “Interchangeable” part of the product name refers to the lenses: this model of the Binder comes with three sets of easy-to-swap lenses. While the website says that these come with brown, gray, and clear lenses, mine actually shipped with reflective orange (for bright conditions), brown (for cloudy or low-light conditions), and clear (for night riding).

Weighing in at 26 grams, this open-bottom frame design is lightweight and low-profile, and would feel right at home on the face of an XC or endurance racer. The frames are made of durable, lightweight TR90 thermoplastic from Switzerland and feature hydrophilic nose and temple pads.

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The lenses themselves are made of a durable polycarbonate material. According to Ryders, “polycarbonate is the extraordinarily durable thermoplastic that’s used in bulletproof glass, riot shields and astronaut helmets. It’s the ideal material for performance eyewear because of its high impact resistance, inherent UV protection and light weight. All of our lenses are made of polycarbonate.”

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Consequently, these “lenses block 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, and harmful blue light to 400nm,” according to Ryders, and are also shatterproof, optically-correct, and feature a scratch resistant coating.

Out on the Trail

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Much of the Binder Interchangeable’s versatility comes from the variety of lens options. Lately I’ve grown very fond of interchangeable lens glasses, since they allow me to easily tailor my favorite pair of shades for the specific conditions I’ll be riding in–in this case, reflective orange for bright sunlight, brown if it’s cloudy or new dusk, or clear for night riding.

I think a pair of shades like the Binder Interchangeable is especially useful for those riders who ride at night a lot. I mean, who wants to either A) use crappy Walmart safety glasses for night riding, or B) buy another complete pair of clear glasses solely for night riding? With the Binder Interchangeable, you can use your one pair of trusty glasses for all of your mountain biking needs, regardless of the time of day

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Changing lenses is a snap: simply push the top of the glasses so the inner part of the lens disconnects from the nose piece and swings down. Then, to put a different lens in, put the outside of the lens on the hinge, and swing it up into place, locking it into the nose piece. Don’t worry: the frames are designed to flex and move. To date, despite many lens swaps, I’ve had no issues with damage to either the frames or the lenses.

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Before I got the Binders, I’d been using a pair of more robust, full-frame glasses. While they were comfortable and performed well, over the course of a long ride it’s amazing how much a heavier pair of shades can weigh upon your face. So, when I sent in the request for the Binders, I specifically looked for a pair of lightweight, low-profile shades for long, fast rides.

While it’s amazing how much you can feel the weight of heavy glasses, it’s similarly incredible how different a pair of shades like the Binders can feel afterwards! Even though I dropped a mere 6 grams from my previous glasses to the 26g-weight of the Binders, over the course of a 4-hour ride that 6 grams can make an astonishing difference!

I mentioned that my previous pair of glasses was “more robust…” that’s not to say that the Binders aren’t! While they have a much lower-profile, streamlined construction, I’ve had no issues to date with damage, or even any signs of wear and tear. Aside from some finger prints on the lenses that I need to clean off, these glasses look as good as the day I received them.

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Bottom Line

The Binders are perfect for a variety of light conditions with their interchangeable lenses, and the light, durable, low-profile construction makes them perfect for fast cross country rides or races, endurance riding, or even road riding. Best of all? At $69.99 MSRP they are a fraction of the cost of the big-name, high-end brands, but come backed by Ryders’ long history of quality and performance.

Thanks to Ryders Eyewear for sending the Binder Interchangeable glasses over for review.

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