By the time you’re ten years old, your vision is about as good as it gets. Somewhere in the next couple of decades though, it all starts going to pot. Raise your hand out there if you wear glasses. Now, do you wear them when you ride?
Finding a pair of frames that play nice with a helmet has been a big problem for me; I’m funny about not wanting my temples to feel like they’re going to explode. But, I’m starting to miss corners. Reading street signs is getting harder and harder, and can’t tell sh** from shineonla in dappled sunlight...is that a pothole? An oil stain? Road kill? This is not good. Being able to see when you ride your motorcycle is good. Good thing Liberty Sport tracked me down.
Liberty Sport, Inc. focuses specifically on frames and sunglasses for action sports. They provided several different models for this review, and honestly, I was fully expecting to hate ‘em all. Why wouldn’t I? I’ve spent thousands of dollars looking for frames that don’t hurt my face like holy water on a vampire. The Liberty Sports looked like the usual big, bulky offenders. Surprisingly, they were not. I tried them with a variety of helmets (Icon Airframe, Bell Star, AGV K3) and completely forgot about them the minute I put my visor down. And an hour later when I got to work.
It’s not just about being lightweight, which the Libertys are, but they have some pretty nice features you won’t find in regular eyewear. The frames I tested had a face-hugging fit and a soft, flexible bridge and nose pads that really enhanced comfort. Some styles have removable, magnetic ‘sidecups’ to minimize peripheral glare and wind (a real problem if you suffer from dry eyes or allergies). The magnet is strong and tight, but if you’re used to grabbing your frames at the corner, you’ll have to get used to grabbing them somewhere else; more than once I did this only to have the thing pop off and get lost in my helmet.
Motorcycle-specific styles come with an Ultimate Driver (rose-amber) tint designed for speed and motion activities which was really easy on the eyes (literally), but I also like the Ultimate Outdoor (amber) and Ultimate Polarized Neutral (gray) lenses. All lenses have UV 400 coating for maximum UVA/UVB protection and are impact-resistant per ASTM Z80.3 standards*.
[*Testing done by the American Society for Testing and Materials means these glasses will withstand an object hitting them with enough force to transmit 19 joules of energy without breaking. To put it in context, 1 joule is about how much energy is created when you a small apple dropped from a height of three feet or so hits a solid surface. Multiply by nineteen. Adjusting for mass, and based on anecdotal experience, I’d say the average size bug slamming into your face while you’re going 70mph is about 18.995 joules. Just a guess.]
Sunglasses (or a helmet’s tinted shield) improve visibility and protect your eyes from the elements. They won’t do squat for vision correction. Happily, all Liberty Sport lenses are Rx-able. Knock yourself out.