Sunday, September 26, 2010

Product Review - Ryder's VTX Sunglasses

Okay.  So this is my second go-around with doing a product review.  By the way, if you're in the market for some new swim shorts, check out my review of Speedo Endurance+ shorts.

This time, I'll be taking a look at Ryder's VTX sunglasses.  Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, unlike the Speedo shorts, I did not pay for these shades.  I won these in a drawing put on by Steve in a Speedo. Prior to winning the VTXs, I was wearing Tifosi Slip sunglasses.  Both the VTXs and the Slips retail for $59.95.  So, were I to buy myself a new pair of shades, the VTXs would be right in my wheelhouse on the price side of things.

Here's how the glasses appear on the Ryder's website:

I got the sunglasses in the mail and ripped open the box to get to the goods.  They come in a standard hard case, with zip closure.  This model has 3 swapable lenses - Clear, Brown and Orange.  There are sleeves inside the case for storing the lenses you're not using.

All tucked in.
All spread out with the orange, brown and clear lenses.
The first thing that I noticed was that there wasn't a customary cleaning/storage bag included.  I thought this was a little odd as every other set of sunglasses I've owned have come with this handy little bag.  If anything, I know that I can use it for cleaning the lenses without worrying about scratches. 

The second thing I noticed was that they looked a little different than the photos on the Ryder's site.  As you can see in the photo above, the arms and nose-piece are a gunmetal gray color.  However, on the set I received, these parts are red.  Now, personally, I prefer the gray-on-red motif, but red-on-red isn't a deal breaker.

Okay.  Enough about the looks.  That's a personal preference thing anyway.  What you want to know is, are the sunglasses any good?  Let's take a look. 

It's nice to have 3 lenses to choose from.  Although, I find myself using the orange lenses for 80-90% of my workouts.  They're dark enough for bike rides in the middle of a sunny day, but I can still see clearly at dusk.  I've only used the clear lenses a handful of times for night-time and early-morning training.  The brown lenses are really just for sunny days, but they do look pretty bad-ass.

Practicing my 'bad-ass' face.

Changing out the lenses is fairly straight-forward.  Just bend the frames up and out come the lenses.  Insert the new lens outside-first and pop them back into place.  At first, I was worried that the lenses wouldn't hold solidly in the frames.  There was just a little wiggle room, even after they clicked in.  Though, once I'm wearing them, they feel solid.  After over 2 months of cycling and running, a lens has never popped loose.

The most unique thing about these Ryder's is the material out of which the arms and nose-piece are made.  This stuff is pretty cool.  It's bendy enough to get a nice snug fit on your temples and the bridge of your nose, but solid enough to keep its shape.
Bendy arms.

Bendy Nose.
I really dig what they're doing here.  One of my biggest issues with my Tifosis was their tendency to slide down my face, especially when I was on my bike in the aero position.  I constantly found myself looking through the space between the top of my shades and the bottom of my helmet.  With the Ryders, I could adjust them to sit nice and snug, right up against my face. 

They're bendy.  Like. REALLY Bendy.

Comfort for the lenses is outstanding.  Once they're on, they're on, and they stay put.  I've never had to push them back up on my nose, even after 112 miles in the aero position.

Here they are during the beginning of the Ironman bike leg.  I chose the orange lenses for that day.

Here they are during the run - no longer necessary in the dark, but the coolest part of this photo nonetheless.

So, let's summarize. 

The Pros: 
Comfort - One they're on, they disappear, and they stay put. 

Price - You get a good set of shades for $60.  In my opinion, it's a better deal than most other $60 shades out there.

Style - This is a personal thing, but I like mine.  If you don't like the VTX style, try one of the other Ryder's models. 

The Cons:
No Baggie - Call me picky, but I really miss this - not so much for storage, but definitely for cleaning.

Availability -  According to the Ryder's website, there isn't a dealer in my state.  The closest dealer is in Madison.  So, if I wanted to buy a new pair, I'd either have to order on-line, cross my fingers and hope that I look good in them, or I'd have to start drivin'.

In the end, I'm really pleased with these shades - not just because they were free, but because they work. 

Incidentally, if you have a product that you'd like me to try out, I'll be happy to work with you and your company (I'm looking at YOU Porsche). 

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