Review: Ryders Hijack Photochromic Sunglasses

Ryders has a strong reputation in the biking community for well-designed optics that cater to a broad spectrum of athletes. These Hijack glasses are designed to accommodate just about anyone, whether you race ‘cross, pine for enduro, or wear Lycra in pursuit of a polka-dot jersey.

Mountain bike riders know that light conditions are constantly fluctuating, which can be a bummer if you wear static lenses of the ghetto-tint variety. Trail visibility can evolve as you transition from tree cover to open fields, by the time of day, through cloud cover and in changing weather, or from constantly changing direction on an undulating trail. It’s nice to have optics that adapt to variable riding conditions, and are comfy and durable enough to wear for all-day adventures.


On or off the trail, I found these glasses to be really versatile. They are great for mountain rallying, road biking, and/or hiking in the bigger hills where light changes constantly and exposure to high-altitude rays increases the higher you climb. The shades are light at 28g, and the plastic has a feel similar matte carbon on high end bikes like the Yeti SB66 (yeah, that svelte). This composite is a proprietary thermoplastic blend of synthetic goodness called “TR90 Switzerland,” named after the Toblerone-munching engineers that created it. The plastic is somewhat flexible, and very comfortable when putting them on–they make a velvety-smooth sound as they slide past your ears. There is a micro-texture in the plastic that is non-abrasive, which holds the glasses on your face even during rugged descents. Ryders call these a “medium fit product.” I have a round face, and they fit me well.


Ryders also reports that their Photochromic lenses provide protection against 100% UVA, UVB, UVC, and the harmful blue light of 400nm. This reduces eye strain and subsequent headache and fatigue, allowing you to stay focused and react to objects faster. That’s a good thing, especially on long, hot rides where the sun is intense (i.e. endurance races). Having optics with UV protection like these reduces your chances of injury and allows you to enjoy the trail more. More importantly, these also protect your eyes from harmful solar rays–one of the top three places to develop melanoma is on or in the eye! If you spend a lot of time riding in bright direct sunlight, having UV protection is a must for cancer prevention!


The bridge is comfortable and sits snugly on the face with a single injected molded rubber nosebomb that gripped tight–even when there was a lot of sweat pouring down my face. Ryders calls this a “hydrophilic” material, which those of us who studied Latin know that means it hates loves water. Even better, it also means that it grips your skin better as it gets wet. The rubber is a composite that is flexible, but firm, and as you can see in the photos it is possible to replace the nosebomb if it ever gets worn or destroyed… but that seems unlikely given the stuff that it is made of.


I noticed that when I rode with these shades I basically forgot that I was wearing them. I consider that the hallmark of a good pair of glasses. The field of vision is wide and you have to work hard to look around “in the lens” while wearing them to see the frame. Another way to say that is you don’t see the frame after you put them on. Ryders also says that their injection-molded process produces an “optically correct” set of lenses. After wearing these for the past several weeks, I would subjectively agree with that. I noticed zero optical distortion no matter where I was looking or what angle my eyes or head were at. The frames are also Rx compatible for those of us that cannot afford a $6,000 corrective eye surgery procedure.DSC_7137

Bottom Line

After extensive testing, I can honestly say that I have no complaints about these glasses whatsoever. I love to have these in my bag, especially for after work rides where I know that it will definitely be getting darker as I ride. They feel awesome when I put them on, and they stay put no matter how much I sweat or how rambunctious the trail gets. You can also wear them at night. Like all photochromic lenses, these take about a minute to go from full-on light to full-on dark (14% light transmission), but they seem to work as well or better than other photochromic lenses I have tried… including some very pricey ones. Plus, the lenses are shatter-proof and have a scratch-proof coating (I don’t have any scratches on my set yet, which is a miracle). With an MSRP of $79.99, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better set of renaissance lenses for riding or whatever other outdoor enthusiasm you partake in.

Thanks to Ryders for sending these over for review.

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