Review: Ryders Thorn Sunglasses

Ryders Eyewear has shaken up the sunglasses scene with a new offering designed for those of us that battle the elements for pleasure. There are few things worse than losing visibility due to accumulated moisture on your lenses, so the engineers at Ryders have concocted a secret sauce to coat their lenses in order to prevent your glasses from fogging up.

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From Ryders Eyewear

  • Anti-fog back with hydrophobic front lense coating: The back of the lens resists fogging, even in the most demanding conditions. It is permanent and washable so you can wipe the lens without the risk of removing its anti-fog properties.
  • Polycarbonate lens material: Polycarbonate is the extraordinarily durable thermoplastic that’s used in bulletproof glass, riot shields and astronaut helmets.
  • UV Protection
  • Shatterproof
  • Optically correct to prevent fatigue
  • Scratch-resistant coating
  • UV protection: 100% UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light to 400nm
  • Hydrophilic nose pad

Matte white and orange with yellow photochromic anti-fog lens: MSRP $139.99.

Matte black with yellow photochromic anti-fog lens: MSRP $129.99.

Form and Fit

The Thorn comes with a fairly standard design, common amongst most athletic sunglasses. The arm is fairly straight and of medium length. I found that the length of the arm was just a touch too long for my liking–it slightly interfered with the retention system on my helmet. However, when properly positioned, it fit like a champ and required very little readjustment while on the trail. I will note that other athletic sunglasses I own have much longer arms, and these sunglasses were a vast improvement.

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One feature that surprised me was the lack of padding on the arm that touches the region around the ear. Previously, I have been inclined to purchase sunglasses with padding at the end of the arm for increased grip. As one with long hair, however, I can’t stress how nice it has been to wear these sunglasses and not have to worry about ripping out hair whenever taking these off, since they lack sticky silicone near the earpiece. However, I was worried about how well these sunglasses would stay put, as there’s nothing worse than bombing down a rock garden while having your sunglasses bounce all around your face. Considering the fact that these are lightweight, they had excellent positional stability during rides through the rockiest terrain.

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The Thorn features very large lenses to enhance eye coverage for both added comfort and protection. The nose pad is a thin, pliable material to improve grip and prevent fatigue during long rides. This nose pad material is designed to be hydrophilic, enhancing grip and preventing the eyewear from slipping in even the wettest, sweatiest conditions thrown at it. Due in large part to the polycarbonate lenses, these sunglasses are incredibly light, weighing in at around 30 grams. In a sport that can result in hard impact, it’s always important to have shatterproof lenses, another great feature of the Thorn.

The unique offering for the Thorn is their proprietary lenses. The Thorn comes with an option for photochromic (tested here) or polarized lenses. Photochromic means that the amount of tint changes with the amount of sunlight. This change is activated by UV rays, which means they will not darken while in your car since car windows are designed to block UV light. However, once outside, this is incredibly useful when your trail weaves through shaded, low-light conditions, as well as open areas. In addition, they have designed the lenses to utilize a hydrophobic front along with an anti-fog coating on the back of the lens. Gone are the days of losing visibility due to moisture, either from yourself or from mother nature.

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The hydrophobic coating on the front-side of the lenses prevents water from coating and distorting your view.

Ryders offers the Thorn in a whole range color schemes and lens color offerings. The ones reviewed here are the matte white and orange as well as classic black, both with yellow photochromic lenses.

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Yellow photochromic lenses are ideal for low to medium light conditions. Darker lenses are available for those that routinely battle bright conditions

Out on the Trail

As mentioned above, the lenses are exceptionally large. As someone with a smaller face, I didn’t care for this design in the beginning, as they looked a bit odd. However, it didn’t take many fast downhill descents for me to realize the advantage of having these larger lenses. Tested in the driest conditions the desert can provide, as well as many muddy rides, I can vouch for the ability for the Thorn to protect your vulnerable eyes from dust, debris, and mud.

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Out on the trail, the Ryder Thorn with yellow photochromic lenses excelled in both low and medium light.

Though the length of the arms was a vast improvement over other athletic sunglasses I own, I did have a couple of helmets where there was minor interference with the retention system. It would take some slight adjustments at the beginning of the ride to get them situated correctly. Due to their light weight and soft nosepiece, I found the Thorn to be exceptionally comfortable when wearing them all day on the bike.

The anti-fog coating worked like a champ, most of the time. If the sunglasses weren’t positioned with spacing between my forehead and the top of the sunglasses, the lenses would fog, particularly on slow climbs in humid conditions. I don’t think the fanciest of coatings could prevent that from occuring, though.

In addition, the tint change occurs exceptionally rapidly, typically within 10 seconds of stepping outdoors. Minor adjustments in tint were slower to occur, but I always felt as though the tint was nearly perfect for the conditions I was riding in.

Conclusions

These lightweight, robust sunglasses took quite a beating from me over several months of testing, with little noticeable wear. The fit was comfortable, and the anti-fog coating prevented the lenses from fogging in almost all circumstances. If you’re looking for a pair of sunglasses that will help you battle the elements while on the bike, the Ryders Thorn are the perfect match.

Thanks to Ryders Eyewear for providing the Thorn for review.

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