Late last year, Rad8 MTB glasses very kindly appointed me as one of their ambassadors to give their products some practical testing out on the trail.
Despite battling with grey winter weather (making it tough to test sunglasses), weeks of difficulties with asthma after a chest infection and latterly a blistered burn to the palm of my hand (honestly, you couldn’t make it up), I’ve been out testing a couple of different models in a variety of conditions since the start of 2017.
It’s taken a while to put together some feedback on the glasses, but I wanted to ensure that they had been tested on a number of rides out in all sorts of weather so that readers could be assured of a balanced viewpoint.
Here’s what I thought…..
Rad8 502 Blue (or Red) Mirror Polarised Glasses
Starting with the 502 Mirror Polarised Glasses (in both blue and red finishes), my first impressions were good. They arrived with a handy case (with carry clip) and pouch which can be used for wipe cleaning the lenses – oh and a Rad8 branded neck buff as an extra bonus.
I love the mirror finish, the lens colours (both the red and the blue), the overall look and the lightweight feel to them. They also have an adjustable rubber nose piece which is great.
They were sadly left sitting in their case at home for most of winter, but finally in March/April we got some bright sunny days.
I was really looking forward to wearing them out on the trail and, on the surface, they’re a great pair of sunglasses. However, on test I found that the glasses seemed to flatten rather than enhance the light and, particularly when there was a glare on something, I got a slight blurring through the lens.
It wasn’t something which made a huge difference to being able to ride in them, but enough that they just felt wrong for me, especially when I knew that I could swap them out for my other pair of Rad8 glasses (see review below).
It’s worth noting that I have a small head shape and we knew before testing that the 502’s would be a little too wide for me. It’s therefore entirely possible that this means they let too much light in behind the lenses, giving me the skewed feedback. In the interests of some wider feedback, I asked other people to give them a try – and whilst they found something similar when asked directly, it was far less noticeable for them.
If you’re concerned about it, my recommendation is to check out feedback from the other ambassadors as it could just be a personal quirk with me.
Rad8 504 Photochromic Glasses
The other glasses which I’ve spent some time testing are the 504 Photochromic Glasses
Again, they came with the same protective case with carry clip and pouch for wiping the lenses. I was disappointed with the quality of this pouch which came apart on the drawcord, but to be honest it was the only faulty one from 3 pairs and Rad8 may already have altered it following my feedback a few months ago. If not, I’m convinced that they would just send a replacement out if any problems were experienced.
The 504 glasses have quite a different look to them (solid/full frame) and I’ve worn them in all kinds of conditions from snow to bright sun so that I could properly test out the photochromic lenses and anti-fog coating.
Bearing in mind my small head shape (mentioned previously), these glasses fit really well. The only niggle I have on fit is the non-adjustable nose piece – but the rubber is still super comfortable despite the wide bridge of my nose, and I’ve found them to be one of the most comfortable mountain bike glasses I’ve ever worn.
It was a grey, snowy day the first time I wore the 504 photochromic on test. I was surprised to see the lenses darken in those conditions and was concerned about clarity when I hit the technical singletrack in the darker woods. However, they were absolutely fine and having now worn them in lots of different conditions, I’m perfectly comfortable with them when light conditions change.
These lenses seem to enhance the light while still removing glare and I love wearing the 504 photochromic’s on both grey and bright sunny days. The one time I struggled with lens clarity was on a very wet day in the Lakes – but I reckon that was more the sheer volume of water rather than the darkness of the lenses.
Having regularly experienced fogging with my old Tifosi glasses, I was keen to check out the anti-fog coating on these lenses. I can report that the Rad8 anti-fog coating worked fantastically and they’ve not fogged up once.
The 504 photochromic glasses have become my go-to glasses and I love them so much in look, comfort and performance that it’s a wrench for me to let anybody else test them. In the interests of a wider viewpoint, I think I did allow them out of my hands once….
Disclaimer: The glasses were provided free of charge by Rad8 MTBglasses as part of the Ambassador scheme. However, as with all my reviews, this is a 100% impartial summary of my own thoughts, opinions and experiences.