Sometime ago, someone also asked me what sort of shades would be great for mountain biking. I wish I could do an exhaustive review of several brands and models, but since I don’t really have the budget of more established outdoor blogs out there (honestly, no budget at all) I can only recommend what I already have.
So what sort of eyewear do I use? Spyder shades. Why? Four words: Bang for the buck. They’re not that expensive, and they look good. Plus they have features that I really like. Right now, I’m using two different models from Spyder: The Alpha H and the Tank H, and I am very satisfied with both.
Besides a helmet and proper bike shorts, shades are another essential piece of wearable gear for bikers. It’s not just because shades make you look cool, rad, or astig; it’s because shades also shield your eyes from some of the harsh realities of the outdoors.
On dry trails, shades shield your eyes from the dust. In wet conditions, they protect your eyes from the mud and the rain. On forested trails like La Mesa, shades keep your eyes safe from the leaves, branches and bugs that will inevitably smack you in the face. Then there’s the sun too which can sometimes fry your eyeballs on a hot day.
Cheap shades can be had for as low as 50 pesos in the bangketa. If that’s all your wallet can handle at the moment, that’s okay. Mas mabuti na kesa wala. Ipon-ipon na lang.
But if you have cash to spare, you should probably get something of a higher quality. Rudys and Oakleys are good but also very expensive. Spyder meanwhile manages to put out great looking shades, which perform remarkably well, and most importantly– won’t require you to sell your kidney.
This is the Spyder Alpha H. It costs just 1500 + Php and comes with three interchangeable plastic lenses. You can swap lenses depending on how harsh the sunlight is. There’s dark, darker and then there’s night vision—yellow orange lenses that improve contrast even in the dark. The lenses snap into the frame with little effort and they stay there securely.
This is the Spyder Tank H. It also costs around 1500 Php. It’s a beefy piece of eyewear that screams badass. It also comes with three interchangeable lenses made of flexible plastic. It also comes with an extra nosepiece.
It’s cool to be able to swap lenses. But on a typical ride, I just use the darkest lens. Usually I ride out at 6 or 7am and get back by 11am or 12pm—so no need to swap lenses here. But if the weather seems erratic or I expect the ride to take the entire day and extend well into the night, I pack the dark and the night vision lenses.
Since the swappable lenses are made of plastic, you need to take some extra care when cleaning them so that the dust doesn’t scratch them. I recommend washing them first in water before wiping them with a microfibre cloth.
Disclosure: The Alpha H Shades were sent to me by Spyder Philippines last June for review. But I bought the Tank H last year as a Chirstmas gift to myself.