Sometimes bike riders mountain bike at night because there’s not enough daylight like in the late fall, and sometimes it’s because they truly enjoy it. In either case, mountain biking at night presents different safety issues, the first being you need to protect your eyes while you are biking. Not all manufacturers make clear glasses for night so I put together a list of the best choices there are.
The best night mountain biking glasses are ones that are completely clear, have a full frame, and have sturdy plexiglass lens. These will allow you to see everything in front of you, while still being able to take a hit from a branch and protecting your eyes at the same time.
For my money, these are the best way to protect my eyes riding at night. These are actually goggles so they are a bit heavy duty but they protect your eyes like no other. The full frame is a key reason these goggles are so durable.
If you are doing either downhill or enduro riding you need to protect your eyes from branches that the light just doesn’t catch. Downhill has a lot of obstacles and speed and a lot of other things going on at once. It’s really easy to miss a branch until it hits you in the face. These are about the best protect you can buy.
If you’re looking for heavy duty glasses for night mountain bike riding, or really any riding, these are the best in my opinion. They mix high quality construction with a very reasonable price from Giro which is a well-respected company in biking equipment.
Giro created something they call Expansion View Technology for these goggles. In reality, what it means is that the peripheral vision is really good with these goggles and it has a clear and not-distorted view. Basically they maximized the clear lens and minimized the frame so that when you ride you see nothing but what’s around you and don’t even notice you have goggles on. That’s the mark of well-made goggles.
I don’t wear glasses, but if you do, these goggles are marketed as being built big enough that they will fit over glasses. Not having to get special lenses for your glasses or goggles is a nice money-saving method.
My next though went to fogging up since it seems almost all goggles I’ve had over the years fog up in 2 minutes flat. I was pleasantly surprised to see that these have anti-fog coating on them to prevent the goggles fogging up.
Here’s a little tip for goggles that I don’t hear mentioned very often. Wipe a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the inside of a pair of goggles and then wipe it out and they’ll fog up far less. I learned this when I first scuba dived and it holds true on any goggles you have, whether for biking or wearing them while cutting wood.
The other thing I personally like is the strap to hold it in place. I’ve always liked goggles just the way they stay in place.
Oakley is a well-known brand and they do have one version of these glasses that are Clear to Black Photochromic that more or less adjusts the tint to the outside light conditions.
These are mostly aimed at the 24 hours endurance tests but they can work well if you like the fit of Oakley glasses because at night they become clear and completely transparent.
Oakleys are a bit pricey but they really do fit well. They don’t give out replacements so easy now and they don’t cover scratched lenses (though you can buy replacement clear lenses on Amazon). I rate these high on the list because they are well-known and they are well-built, but they are also expensive so if you’re in that boat I have some very reasonably priced glasses coming up next.
Oakley is a well-known brand and I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone that these glasses are very high quality.
Oakley makes their glasses to last and withstand a lot of abuse which is really the reason for their higher price. I myself have never had the actual glass structure break although I find lenses can get scratched easily if you’re not paying attention. If they get dirt or mud on them, making sure to rinse them good before you rub them clean so you don’t rub in the rough dirt.
These glasses are comfortable with the nose and ear pieces. No real surprise there.
These are pricey glasses for sure, so make sure either you don’t care about the money, or that you choose them for situations where they likely won’t take too much abuse like XC biking or road biking. For downhill these can easily get damaged so I’d choose the goggles above.
Bolle makes a very solid set of sunglasses and the Bolle Rogue is no exception.
These sunglasses come with a clear lens for night biking but also a yellow or tint you can switch in for other times so you can run with one set of sunglasses to protect your eyes. These are very durable and will pretty much handle anything you can throw at them.
They are both anti-scratch and anti-fog so if a branch or twig hits you across the face the glasses and you will be fine.
I haven’t tried these ones on but if they are made as good as the other sunglasses in the Bolle line these are very reasonably priced, full-frame sunglasses that will last.
I really like these Bolle glasses. They are very solid glasses for mountain biking at night at a very reasonable price.
There are a few reasons that I like these glasses enough to put them on the list:
They are comfortable to wear for long periods of time
They have both anti-fog and anti-scratch coating.
You can easily switch out the lens to put in the gray ones if you want to use them during the day
I myself do not recommend using the yellow lenses that come with these glasses. During the day the yellow lenses don’t do much for you, and definitely don’t use the yellow lens at night; use the clear lenses at night.
These Lorsoul glasses are full-framed glasses so they’re sturdy and they’ll keep your eyes safe.
As a real bonus, it comes with 5 lens that can get switched out. One of them is clear which is what you’ll want to use at night. The beauty of these is you can switch out the lens and use them for daytime riding too.
If you read the description they state the yellow is for night riding, but I myself am partial to clear lenses so that my vision is not altered, just protected.
For me yellow lenses have never helped at night. There have also been a number of studies done and all of them say yellow lenses don’t help at night. So stick with the clear lenses at night and
you’ll be good.
These glasses are ideal for night riding. They are full frame so the lenses are well-support in case a twig or branch hits them.
You can also switch out the lenses to use others during the day. Make sure you put in the clear lenses in for riding at night.
Lorsoul lists a use for each lens, like use the blue lens at the beach, the clear for windy weather, and yellow for night. You can use whatever lens you want for daytime, the beach, etc, but for night riding only use the clear lens.
The main black lens is pretty decent for road biking as the black lens is polarized.
These are just simple, inexpensive glasses to protect your eyes at night. They are shatterproof to the ASTM F803 standard. That is not an easy standard to pass to say the least, so passing it means that these glasses won’t shatter into your eyes which is the whole reason for wearing glasses.
What makes these ones even better is they have an anti-fog coating. Normally it’s not so much an issue unless they are goggles like the Giro ones.
A lot of riders are choosing these because they can easily be fit with prescription lenses.
These glasses are fairly generic glasses that don’t cost much to pick up.
What I like about these glasses is that for light biking, they are ideal. They are light and fit comfortably.
These glasses are also tested to the ASTM F803 standard which is pretty strict about how the lenses need to hold up and not break into your eyes if they are compromised.
A safety feature of that level is pretty important to me since you are wearing glasses to protect your eyes from stick, flying rocks, etc. If they save your eyes and you have to toss them in the trash, when you’re talking $15 it’s a good deal.
These are not anything like Moab glasses, but these are inexpensive glasses that will protect your eyes if you are doing cross country or lighter riding at night. Just make sure you choose the one with the clear lenses.
I wouldn’t use these for downhill because they have don’t that they passed a test even though they have polycarbonate lenses. These type of lenses are typically far stronger than plastic.
So if you’re doing doubletracks or fireroads, that type of riding XC style, these are perfectly fine and the price is a steal.
These are good solid glasses that have lenses with zero tint so they are perfect for lots of night riding.
These glasses are cheap enough that I think wearing them for an hour or two will be fine but they might not be ideal for hours upon hours or wearing them. But they are very well suited to night biking.
Probably one of the strongest features of these glasses is being under $11. If going for cheap glasses, I would probably step up a few bucks to the Unique Sports glasses above that have been tested to stringent safety standards. But still for easy riding like wide firetracks and road biking, these will be fine.
These Tifosi glasses are a set I’ve had my eye on for a bit. I haven’t tried them out myself but here are the reasons why I think I’m going to grab a pair shortly:
Adjustable Nose Piece
Adjustable Ear Pieces
Vented Lenses so they don’t fog up
Lightweight – They seem lighter than other sunglasses I’ve used and I like the idea of glasses light enough I don’t even think about them.
They look really cool – These are a look you don’t see on many other glasses with them almost completely clear, even the frames.
These glasses have both the hydrophilic rubber and they are adjustable. This type of rubber resists sweat so they stay in place no matter how much you sweat. Couple that with being able to adjust the glasses entirely and you have the perfect glasses.
These glasses are not only cool looking, but they are made from a nylon material that is very light and durable so you’ll barely notice you have them on from a weight perspective.
Both the ear and nose pieces are fully adjustable like I mentioned above. Glasses just have to sit right to be happy with them.
The lens in these glasses are also pretty well made. They are shatterproof and they are consistent in that they won’t cause distortions in your field of vision.
What Should You Look For In Night Biking Glasses?
All of these above have the set of traits to make these durable, useful glasses when you trail ride at night.
Clear lenses – You don’t want anything impeding your view at night. Not even yellow lenses which have been proven to filter out some of the light.
Durable – You want a set of glasses that will take a normal 1/4 inch branches on trails. Many times you just don’t see them since you are focusing on the trail itself and they are in the perimeter. If you are doing rough terrain with lots of trees and such, you’ll want full frame glasses. If you are doing cross country, enduro, or road biking, then a half frame is plenty.
Shatterproof – You don’t want the lenses cracking and sending material into your eyes. Ideally they have passed the ATSM F803 safety standard.
Anti-fog coating – Again, you don’t want anything impeding your vision and fog is definitely something that will affect your view. You’re going to be breathing hard and you need glasses that won’t fog up because of it.
The anti-fog thing is interesting because it’s a feature I want, but I learned a tip when I started scuba diving of how to make any goggles, or in this case glasses, anti-fog. All you need is a little bit of toothpaste about the size of a pea. Rub it around inside the lenses and then use a clean cloth to clean it out. Voila! Both effective and free!
Whether you choose any of the glasses I mentioned above or you choose your own, make sure it can stand up to your daily usage and keep your eyes safe. Mountain biking can be dangerous but with the right equipment and preparation it can be a safe and exciting sport.
I am a mountain biker among other things and I enjoy writing about both topics I know but also about new things about mountain bikes that I learn. If you enjoy tackling trails and tracks and everything in between, then this is the blog for you.