When riding a motorcycle, you must wear eye protection. The sun, wind, rain, bugs, and debris splashed up by other vehicles may quickly ruin a good day. Whether or not you use a helmet shield, you still need eye protection, therefore with that in mind, we give our guide to the best motorcycle sunglasses on the market.
The two main reasons for wearing sunglasses are impact prevention and UV protection. You’re covered on both counts if you buy sunglasses with polycarbonate frames and lenses with ANSI Z87.1 and UV400 certifications; in fact, every pair we recommend meets these standards. Everything else regarding sunglasses is a matter of convenience, comfort, or personal preference. What exactly do these ratings mean? Polycarbonates are polymer blends of plastic that are more impact, heat, and scratch-resistant than normal plastic – they protect better, endure longer, and are clear enough for optical usage. The ANSI Z87.1 impact rating is the gold standard for safety glasses in the United States; Directive 89/686/EEC Category 3 is a comparable European norm. UV400-rated lenses prevent both UVA and UVB rays.
Should you buy manufacturer-branded sunglasses?
So why not just get glasses from your bike’s manufacturer? That way, you’ll demonstrate brand devotion, and their sunglasses should be ideal for their motorcycles, right? Not at all. To begin with, the premise is flawed because many corporations do not sell eyewear – but their dealerships may. Second, simply wearing a brand’s name does not imply that sunglasses are suitable for any type of rider, let alone all of them. Having said that, we’ve included some great sunglasses sold by bike manufacturers in the categories below.
On their websites, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, and KTM do not sell sunglasses. BMW and Moto Guzzi both sell sunglasses, but exclusively through dealers. On their websites and at dealerships, Ducati, Yamaha, Indian, and Harley-Davidson all sell sunglasses.
Ducati only sells one model online. The Merge Wrap-around sunglasses, priced at $100, include arms and a removable strap that can be worn under a helmet. The Merge sunglasses include polycarbonate lenses and frames, but there are no UV or impact resistance ratings.
Yamaha sells three different designs of sunglasses ranging in price from $5 to $80. One set of Yamaha sunglasses features polycarbonate frames and lenses, another pair is UV400 rated, and a third pair has polarised lenses, which reduce glare but can obscure some colors. None of them are listed as possessing all three traits.
Indian Motorcycle sells four different designs of motorcycle sunglasses ranging in price from $30 to $100. All four varieties of Indian-branded sunglasses, which are designed and manufactured to Indian specifications, include polycarbonate lenses and frames, full UVA and UVB protection, and are impact resistant to Directive 89/686/EEC Category 3.
The Harley-Davidson website offers a diverse selection of H-D-branded sunglasses ranging in price from $40 to $179. Wiley X manufactures all H-D sunglasses. Harley-Davidson sunglasses come in 36 different models for men and 17 different kinds for ladies. Every Harley-Davidson eyewear style is ANSI Z87.1 impact resistant. While UV protection for their sunglasses isn’t featured on the Harley-Davidson website, according to a Wiley X FAQ, all of their lenses have 100 percent UVA protection.
Best sunglasses for long trips and touring
If you spend long days (and nights) on the road, you’ll need wind-resistant sunglasses. You’re probably already wearing a full-face helmet with a shield, but wind and dust can get in, so glasses with foam eyecups will provide more protection. Long-term savings can be realized by using removable or interchangeable foam inserts.
With Wiley X’s Boss Frames, which are suitable for medium and big heads, you can go the distance. The Boss range comes in a variety of lens and frame colors, but we went with a matte black frame and a grey lens. We also chose the Rx Rim variation, which accommodates a wider variety of prescriptions than many lenses. Wiley X’s detachable Facial Cavity seal keeps out fine dust, pollen, allergens, and peripheral light in the Boss frames. The Boss sunglasses come with a leash line with rubber temple grips, an elastic T-Peg strap, and a black zippered bag.
Best sunglasses for performance riders and cruising
Whether your definition of performance riding is organized competitive racing or blasting from bar to bar, you want glasses that stay on and stay straight so you don’t get distracted by sliding. You also want clear vision, so avoid glasses with narrow lenses or hefty frames. Prioritize strength over everything else, especially if you are not wearing a shield with your helmet, because hitting objects in the air at high speeds increases the impact. Birds are generally intelligent, but they aren’t always accurate assessors of motorbike speeds – if you don’t wear a shield, use very strong glasses.
Here’s an interesting fact from Motorbike Writer: In Australia, there were 633 motorbike accidents caused by animal impacts over a five-month period in 2016. Almost 5% (28) were with various sorts of birds, ranging from cockatoos to hens. Furthermore, because it was Australia, 60 percent (380) involved kangaroos and nearly 10 percent (60) involved wallabies.
Indian Motorcycle’s Performance Sunglasses have Photochromic Eclypse Polycarbonate lenses that shift from clear to grey in 50 seconds when exposed to ultraviolet light. According to Indian, the transition from grey to clear takes between 60 and 90 seconds. The anti-fog coating is on the prescription-ready glasses. A sweat-resistant rubber seal covers a detachable, latex-free foam eyecup. The eyecups prevent fatigue and distraction from wind and peripheral light.
Best sunglasses for riding off-road
Mud, mud, dust, plant life, and water are all part of the adventure. Off-road riding may be a lot of fun, and while you don’t mind getting splashed or splattered, you don’t want muck in your eyes. Depending on the temperature, seek sunglasses with antifog treatments and keep heat buildup in mind. Some type of good ventilation is especially important when wearing glasses (or goggles) that completely encapsulate your eyes. The last thing you want to do is take off and throw away your sunglasses due to heat buildup – you never know when a roadrunner or pheasant will do a face plant.
The Echo Partial Polarized Performance Sunglasses, like other Harley-Davidson sunglasses, are made by Wiley X. To reduce glare, the matte black frames and grey lenses are slightly polarised. The replacement soft foam Facial Cavity seal keeps wind, dust, filth, debris, and cold out of your face, allowing you to keep riding. These lenses are prescription-ready thanks to a service provided by Harley-Davidson dealerships.
Best sunglasses for casual riders
If you’re a beginning rider or just ride once or twice a month, you can generally wear whichever sunglasses you choose as long as they meet our basic requirements of polycarbonate frames and lenses, impact resistance certification, and UV blocking. There’s no reason not to go with fully enclosed, replaceable EVA foam eyecups with additional ventilation, but you might not need to go quite that far.
Even though Indian Motorcycle’s Entry Sunglasses are far less expensive than the other sunglasses we considered, they are unquestionably designed to protect motorcycle riders. The Entry glasses have a non-removable foam eyecup that reduces wind and peripheral light. Unlike the other pairs of spectacles in this article, the eyecups cannot be removed for cleaning or replacement. Riders who travel farther, longer, and in harsh riding circumstances are less likely to accumulate heat, moisture, and grime. If you want to spend the extra money on higher-performing sunglasses, there’s nothing wrong with upgrading, but this pair should work extremely well for beginners for less than half the price.