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BUYER'S GUIDE

13 of the best cheap cycling sunglasses — protect your eyes without spending big

On-the-bike eyewear from just £4

It’s possible to spend a lot of money on cycling sunglasses if you want to, but as this guide proves, you really don’t need to. We’ve picked out a range of cycling sunglasses priced from just £3.99 up to £45.

  • While big-name cycling sunglasses come with three-figure price tags, you can get very good glasses for as little as four quid

  • Look for brands like Tifosi, Lazer, Decathlon's Rockrider, Wiggle's dhb marque, Endura and Northwave for value-for-money eyewear

  • Sets that include multiple lenses make for versatility to cope with all light conditions

  • Lenses that react to changing light conditions are rare on cheap cycling sunglasses, but we've found one good example

13 of the best cheap cycling sunglasses

Not very long ago inexpensive cycling glasses were best avoided, with poor optical quality and designs that made you look like an extra from a bad low-budget sci-fi film.

Those days are gone. Eyewear manufacturers have raised their game for both quality and style, and enforcement of standards means you can rely on even cheap cycling glasses to protect your eyes from potentially damaging ultra-violet.

Madison Stealth glasses — £27.99

2020 Madison Stealth Glasses 1.jpg

Madison's Stealth glasses are brilliant riding shades at an exceptional price. The frameless design gives an almost uninterrupted field of view, while the bronze mirror lens is lovely to look through on overcast to bright days.

If you're after a great set of sunglasses that don't cost a fortune, these are an excellent choice. They provide great coverage, stay secure on your face, are comfortable on long rides and have excellent lenses.

The bronze mirror lens is lovely to use (blue or silver mirror options are available too). Vision is good in lightly overcast and bright conditions with the (many) road imperfections easy to pick out from a good distance.

There's also the option to fit Madison's £4.99 RX insert if you need prescription lenses.

Read our review of the Madison Stealth glasses
Find a Madison dealer

dhb PhotoChromatic Half Frame Sunglasses — £24

2020 dhb PhotoChromatic half frame sunglasses.jpg

The dhb Photochromatic Half Frame Sunglasses offer decent performance in a variety of conditions without looking obviously technical or breaking the bank. I am also pleased to report that I found them very comfortable worn for long periods.

The photochromatic technology works very well for the most part: they react better to subtle changes in light than sudden and extreme changes such as harsh morning/evening sun, and though they're not as quick-reacting as much more expensive models, I wouldn't consider it a deal-breaker considering their price.

Around dusk, they handle the steady, incremental darkness surprisingly well and they've never given a misleading view of surfaces, or conditions ahead – optical clarity has remained consistently good. To date, I've not needed to remove them in very low light.

If they ever come back into stock, Decathlon's Rockrider photochromic glasses are also worth a look.

Read our review of the dhb PhotoChromatic Half Frame Sunglasses
Find a dhb dealer

Madison Code Breaker Glasses Three-Lens Pack —  £43.99

2020 Madison Code Breaker Glasses

The Madison Code Breaker Glasses Three-Lens Pack provides a sharp-looking pair of shades with decent coverage, strong performance and lenses for every occasion – at a wallet-friendly price. They’re not totally fog-free, however, and can be a little finicky to put together when you do swap them.

Swapping the Code Breakers' lenses is simple thanks to its twist lock system. A swiveling lock at the center of the upper frame turns and, with the arms at 45 degree angles, the lens and lower frame falls away. Then it’s just a case of bending the lower section to unclip it from the lens.

Read our review of the Madison Code Breaker Glasses
Find a Madison dealer

    Galibier Surveillance Precision Optics glasses — £37.00 - £44.00

    Galibier Surveillance Precision Optics glasses - Tortoiseshell and gold - worn.jpg

    Galibier's Surveillance Precision Optics cycling sunglasses provide excellent all-round vision. They're light,  very comfortable to wear, and an excellent price for the quality.

    We tested two options, with Smoke Plasma Mirror lens and with Gold Plasma Lens. The smoke lens delivers true colour rendition, while the gold lens has a coating to increase contrast and battle glare. Both work superbly with no distortion and really clear optics.

    Read our review of the Galibier Surveillance glasses

    Tifosi Swick —£22.50

    Tifosi Swick Onyx Blue Fade glasses-1.jpg

    Tifosi's Swick cycling sunglasses work well on the bike, but aren't so bike-specific that they look odd off it. If you want for mixed use, they're a good choice.

    They've got that classic look thanks to their large square lenses and they don't really wrap round your face like sportier cycling sunglasses but they're still good for riding in. The lens is dark enough for sunny days and the optics are good.

    Read our review of the Tifosi Swick sunglasses
    Find a Tifosi dealer

    Tifosi Intense — £33.79

    Tifosi Intense sunglasses

    Tifosi is known for good-quality cycling sunglasses at very sensible prices, and these single-lens glasses fit the bill. Users report the vented lenses of these well-made sunnies do a good job of stopping them from fogging, and they're comfortable too. This version comes with three lenses so they're useful all year.

    Rockrider ST100 — £3.99

    B'TWIN ARENBERG CYCLING SUNGLASSES.jpg

    For a mere four quid, it's hard to see how you can go wrong with these bargain cycling glasses from sports superstore chain Decathlon. And it turns out they're really good: light and comfortable as well as costing less than a coffee and slice of cake. If you can put up with the inevitable 'safety glasses, aren't they?' jibes, you're quids in over the eye-candy brigade.

    The same price also gets you the ST100s in yellow for overcast days and with clear lenses for when it's dark.

    Read our review of the Rockrider ST100 glasses (previously known as B'Twin Arenberg)

    Polaris Aspect — £12.99

    Polaris Aspect glasses.jpg

    At just over a tenner, it's hard to see how you can go wrong with these smoke-tinted eye shields, and they're well-regarded by plenty of happy CRC purchasers.

    Lazer Xenon X1 glasses — £24.99

    Lazer Xenon X1 Sunglasses.jpg

    Best known for its helmets, Belgian company Lazer produces a wide range of glasses and these Xenon X1 glasses feature a Grilamid TR-90 full frame design with Ultragrip nosepiece and temples to stop them slipping. They weigh just 28g so you barely notice them, and they look different to most of the other sunglasses in this guide.

    Find a Lazer dealer

    Madison D’Arcs triple glasses set — £24.95

    Madison DArcs Triple Glasses Set.jpg

    A really popular model, the D’Arcs sunglasses have a classic half-frame wraparound design. They're supplied with three lenses to suit different conditions, using a single lens design for maximum protection. The frame is coated with a rubberised material to provide a comfortable non-slip fit.

    Find a Madison dealer

    Endura Shark glasses — £29.99

    Endura Shark glasses.jpg

    Scottish clothing company Endura offers a large range of cycling sunglasses, these are very traditional wraparound style glasses. The frame is made is lightweight and the vented nosepiece boosts comfort. Endura includes three UV lenses to suit different light conditions

    Find an Endura dealer

    Northwave Team Sunglasses — £40.00

    Northwave Team Sunglasses

    These lightweight glasses offer good eye protection and you get a choice of clear, orange and darker reflective lenses so they're suitable for a variety of light conditions. They come in a good protective case that is filled with foam to keep your glasses safe when you're not wearing them. You also get a carry bag and two extra sets of lenses.

    Read our review of the Northwave Team Sunglasses
    Find a Northwave dealer

    Bianchi Falco glasses — £39

    Bianchi Falco glasses

    These Euro-styled glasses are light and offer good three-lens value, but they're possibly just for Bianchi lovers. The frames of the Falcos are made from Grilamid TR90, and the have a narrow wrap-around shape that sits close to the face. All of the lenses offer 100% UV protection and optical quality is good.

    Read our review of the Bianchi Falco glasses

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    Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

    David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

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