Ask RideApart: Best Prescription Glasses For Motorcycles?

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Motorcycle glasses

You ask, the community answers. It’s Ask RideApart. This week: What are the best prescription glasses for motorcycles?

Photo: Jodene E

This week’s question comes from reader Fernando Ramos, who wants to know: “What are the best prescription eyeglass frames to wear with a full-face helmet?”

Ok, four eyes, which glasses work best for you? Any other tips for wearing glasses while riding?

Have a question for us? Post it on our Facebook page, or on Twitter using the #AskRideApart hash tag. We will select the best topic from our submissions and post them here each week.

  • maxkohl

    Best glasses are not glasses. Switch to contacts. I did and I never want to go back.

    • RyanO

      I’ve worn contacts for quite a while, even before I started riding. I stopped when I was at the track and turning in when I blinked and a lens rolled up a little making half my vision blurry causing me to run off the track. Never again after that. But I do agree no glasses are better, I’m hoping to get LASIK soon.

      • maxkohl

        Yes and Lasik. I’m looking to getting mine done soon.

  • Dirtymopwater

    The obvious solution: PINCE-NEZ!

    • appliance5000

      Hogan!

  • RyanO

    The first and best answer should be LASIK. I hate wearing glasses so much.

    If you must wear glasses get a pair of prescription Aviator sunglasses. I got a few pairs free when I was in the military and they are the only glasses I ride with. You get much more peripheral vision out of them as opposed to my black framed ray bans that I wear the rest of the time. I’d say my aviators give me almost 35-40% more clear vision than other glasses I’ve worn in my helmet.

  • George Shaw

    Any make of glasses so long as they have thin side pieces so as to be comfortable fitting in your helmet, secondly, deep lenses particularly at the top as you look up and to the side when banked in a corner

  • AHA

    Agree that most alternatives are probably better than glasses. I require bi- focals so LASIK & contacts are not an option. I use varifocal lenses that are also relatively large to improve the field of view. It helps if you aren’t crouched down in a racing hunch (i.e. looking out the top) too. Try to find frames with robust hinges as these take the most pressure when sliding in & out of your helmet. Fogging is the worse problem. Pinlock essential & also try Fogtech or similar on the glasses & Raincoat on the outside of the visor.

  • Afonso Mata

    4eyes here! :D
    The ones that really work for me are the OAKLEY SCULPT 6.0 ( http://www.oakley.com/products/6056/21588 )
    They’re great because not only the side pieces are thin, but also because they’re straight: i.e. easy to slide inside the helmet. Those rubber things are also quite grippy which makes the glasses stay in their place.
    A helmet with internal sun visor (like Nolan’s N86 or HJC’s RHPA-MAX) is the perfect match for our 4 eyed needs ;)

  • Roland Straylight

    Finding a helmet with glasses grooves is handy. Sprung hinges will stop them getting bent out of shape taking lid on and off. Slim side arms give better peripheral vision. My favourite pair to ride in are plastic bodied with an integral ‘comfort’ bridge (as opposed to the nose pads found on most steel frames. They’re tough, easy to hold with cold hands and easy to see when I don’t have glasses on. I carry my bike, luggage and lock keys on a lanyard (easy to find, no searching through 300 pockets) and hang my glasses there when taking helmet off. The promotional keyrings that have a plastic loop are also handy for this if you have ignition near the bars rather than by the engine. Carry a spare pair if you can’t ride without them. I have a small pair in a sturdy case in my tool roll, once rode home from a petrol station with glasses duct taped together after I dropped them, particularly on a long trip or tour when you’ve got luggage space.

    I used to wear contacts, became expert at losing them on bikes, in moshpits, abseiling, sailing, kyacking etc. I have proscription sunglasses, prefer tinted visors or secondary sun-visors in helmets as they reduce the glare from all angles of the eyeport. I hate having the sun catch me in the corner of the eye from behind sunglasses, particularly annoying with low sun me as I check over shoulder before a manoeuvre.

  • Roland Straylight

    Throw away your helmet’s built in breath deflector, which will just deflect your breath at your glasses and fit a foggy mask or other velcro-in tight-fitting neoprene mask.

  • KeithB

    This may sound obvious but don’t use glass lenses. While glass has the best optical properties, they can break on impact. (Don’t ask…..)
    Also, a light film of soap on the lenses can reduce fogging. It does cause a slight blur but is much better than a full on fogging!

  • Brian

    my glasses are from Nike actually, from their fashion and active eyewear line. Nike 4190 frames with the lenses of your choosing. Mine are polycarbonate with Transistions Active tinting, and are slimline and light enough, and the side arms are straight enough to slide into my helmet with ease. When I went to get glasses, I actually took my helmet with me for getting fitted, which the people at the Dr’s office thought I was crazy at 1st, then they got it really quickly and now they always remember me and make sure I bring my helmet when getting fitted for a new pair.

    My eyes are not bad enough for Lasik, and I just can’t stick a contact lense in, so those are just not an option for me.

    • HeDidn’tWeDid

      I have taken my helmet with me too because I spend 20,000 miles/year sitting on my ride with my helmet on…it only makes sense to see what fits. Contacts? No. I also do a lot of off-road riding here in Arkansas with sand, mud, dust, rocks. A few of my fellow riders always have issues with their contacts after those dusty and sandy rides. Sometimes a reliable pair of glasses is best.

    • Piglet2010

      If you have not already figured this out, pulling your lid to one side at a time while inserting the “hooks” over your ears really helps. Even more effective and easier wearing a modular lid with the chin bar up.

  • Miles Prower

    For bicycling, hang-gliding, and motorcycling — all of which involve helmets, eye protection, and ventilation — I wear Rudy Project Horus glasses. I own two sets, so I can switch frame/lens combinations to suit need or whim.

    http://www.rudyprojectusa.com/index_inner_detail.php?group_id=1rxinframe.htm&cat_id=30&item_id=SN051033

    Straight temples with super grippy rubber. Adjustable nose piece. Great wrap. Swappable lenses. Right balance of protection versus venting. And they can be RX’ed with polycarbonite lenses even for my -6.0 prescription eyes.

    Tip — don’t get the silver frame. They reflect like crazy in your visor.

  • cheese302

    i own three pairs of IC Berlin glasses that are extremely
    lightweight, look great, and have been VERY durable for me. under a
    motocycle helmet they have been fantastic, now that i have been bicycle
    commuting, i am going to be looking for another set of glasses that will
    block wind better for me but up to this point IC has been fantastic.

    http://www.ic-berlin.de/epages/web.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/web/Products/M1138/SubProducts/M1138001007

    my current favorite glasses (and the first of the three i own)

  • ticticticboom

    Lasik or contacts are not an option for me either. I need progressives to see both near and far. I can’t even read my speedometer without them. I bought hingeless titanium frames from Silhouette for all day every day comfort and the added benefit of being totally helmet friendly. I wear a modular helmet and I don’t even have to remove my glasses to take my helmet on and off. On a side note, my night riding days are over. Between my decreased night vision (separate from my correctable focus issues) my unwillingness to deal with drunks and distracted drivers at night and just a sense of liking my odds better by not riding at night…I’m done.

  • David

    I wear Silhouette frames. They don’t wrap around my ears, so putting them on and taking them off is a breeze. Only downfall is they are a little pricey and hard to find.

  • Dan Sciannameo

    Bobster XRH with rx lenses. ANSI Z87

  • Chris

    I’ve found that prescription frames with straight temples–Oakley Derigner in my case–have been the best as they’re easy to slip on through the helmet. You don’t have to get them in high and drop them down, nor do you have to figure out the path to push to deal with the earpiece bend. I wear a Shoei Qwest, so I also added a Respro Foggy to combat glasses fogging.

    • jej

      I use the same line of frames and like them for the very same reason.

    • Rameses the 2nd

      Good recommendation. I am about to get a new pair and I will definitely check out Oakey Deringer. I have a Nike pair and even though the frame is slim it is pain in the back to squeeze it in my RF100 helmet. I just can’t wear lenses and I am too afraid of Lasik, so I will stick with glasses.

    • Josh

      The straight arms can be a double-edged sword, in my experience. I have the Oakley Wingman frames, and the arms are long enough that whenever I shift my helmet on my head, it shifts the glasses… I’ll be looking for something with shorter (straight) arms soon.

  • tigerrider

    I rode for 20+ years using thin metal frames and after switching to a nice rayban that is a big bigger than the Wayfarer, I will never switch back. They stay in place, solid, study and don’t squish under the forces of the hemlet liner.

    • Piglet2010

      I wanted to make it 20 years, but the frames on my Serengeti Drivers cracked after 19 years, 53 weeks of use. But the big lenses on “aviator” glasses are better as the frames are out of your field of vision.

      • BillW

        Um, aren’t there only 52 weeks in a year?

        • Piglet2010

          Not with my typing skills.

          (Now fixed).

  • Sam Bendall

    lasik.

  • ChiMagic

    Randolph Engineering Frames

    • Josh

      The best answer. Made in Massachusetts, and their bayonet style arms are designed to be worn under flight helmets by fighter pilots. Sadly, it can be hard to find a retailer, but they do sell online: http://www.randolphusa.com/

      • ChiMagic

        I’ve been ordering eye glasses from http://www.hidalgos.com/ for decades. They will customize Randolph Engineering frames.

  • Dylan Jones

    I use sports sunnies with interchangeable lenses so can use them in any light conditions the prescription lens clips into the frame good with an open face in summer and cracking when on race escort with a flip front lid.

  • runnermatt

    I want to get a set of Prescription Wiley-X SG-1 goggles.

  • karlInSanDiego

    I wear a contact in my left eye only (monocular or monovision correction) though both eyes have the same prescription. So secretly, I’m wearing a monocle! I’ve got mild presbyopia in both eyes which doesn’t affect my riding at all. But the same time I learned of that new feature of my vision, I also found out I’m nearsighted (diopter 1, so also mild, but affecting ability to read signs at distance). I asked my optometrist about lasik in my case and she noted that mixed eye correction would be my best option given my problems with short and long sight, and that it takes adjustment and she requires a patient to simulate the effect of mixed lasik correction with contacts first. So I see far with my left, and close with my right (currently uncorrected). It’s not always perfect, but this might be an option for some who thinks they must use progressives, which in some cases creates bad peripheral distortion. I was told by an eyeglass salesman who rides, that he gave up trying to make progressives work for him on a bike. With my current solution, I never have problems with depth perception or side distortion

    • karlInSanDiego

      Also, Transition lens on helmet (Bell) visor is a great resolution to the sunglasses vs. reg. glasses problem.

  • appliance5000

    One thing I’d suggest is for fogging: “defog it” just works. No more blinded at the lights.

    Also I’d be aware of the possible hit on peripheral vision. The brain like to “fill things in” but I take extra care to actually look.

  • Jack Meoph

    From the responses, the answers are all over the place. As with helmets it comes down to personal preference. I have a pair of Nike’s that have the straight arms, and I chose them specifically for using with a helmet, I hate them. Instead, I wear a pair of glasses that have very small lenses and standard arms that fit behind my ears, and they are perfect for me. So saying that this pair is better or this pair is best, it is just a matter of what actually fits and is comfortable. Also, your optometrist can adjust the focal point of the lens so that you can have things further ahead be in focus, as in keeping your head up and looking through the turn at speed, or just going fast enough that you want objects in the distance to be focused, and not something that’s 20 feet away.

  • d*

    i find a frame with a solid front and thin bendable arms to be best. my most comfortable glasses under the helmet are made by lindberg – i have a pair of their plastic frames with titanium arms. model 1231.

    http://lindberg.com/#/showroom/men2/

  • Glenn Rueger

    My optometrist came up with a great rose/yellow/brown custom tint for my metal frame Ray Bans. Great for contrast on cloudy days and they fit the Arai channels perfectly. I have to carry a set of clear lens Ray Bans for night riding. Always have used a clear face shield since it’s easier to carry a change of glasses than an extra shield.

  • Rich

    Whatever you get, make sure to get lenses with Crizal Optifog.

  • Lucas Wood

    Sunglasses are for sure RayBans, Otherwise I would put on my nike sport glasses, they are meant for bicycling but they work just as good for visor up riding

  • atomicalex

    Orgreen Provider in blue here. They fit, don’t get banged up, hold true to shape, and can support the nastiest ‘scripts. One of which I happen to have. Lasik and/or contacts are not an option for me. :(