Lots of glasses now come with a selection of lenses as standard, although the variety and quality of these usually has a bearing on the price.
The first choice with lenses is in choosing whether you want something with two individual lenses or large one-piece integrated lens. In performance terms, the one-piece lenses usually have a great degree of coverage, as they don’t have a complete gap where the nose bridge sits, and will often be constructed to come further around the side of the head, meaning you won’t get that irritating effect when the lens ends right in the corner of your vision.
The great thing about a set of glasses that come with interchangeable lenses is that it increases their versatility. Like I said at the top, glasses are useful year-round and in almost all conditions, but you need the right lenses, so having one set with interchangeable lenses makes sense. We think the two key lenses you need are one set of tinted lenses for when it’s sunny, and a set of clear ones for when the weather’s not so good and you’re looking to protect your eyes from insects, stones and the wind.
Of course, if you get a set of photochromic lenses (that change tint according to light intensity) then you’ve solved both problems with just the one. But you can buy a whole variety of different tints now, everything from wildly coloured mirrored lenses (great for riding in bright sunshine and if you’re aiming for the ‘pro’ look), to tints that claim to improve visibility in specific conditions. For example, a lens with a yellow/orange tint is a good bet for low light conditions.
Whether each individual lens works or not isn’t really the right question to ask, as they all almost undoubtedly have some merit, but whether you really need seven different lenses for your one set of glasses is probably the more pertinent question. Pick and choose the lenses you’re most likely to need. Plus, changing lenses all the time can be a bit of a pain.
A lot of glasses with interchangeable lenses will be supplied with at least two options, while many brands will also offer a wider range of aftermarket lenses, which you can pick and choose from.
Finally, as far as lenses are concerned, one useful extra that some have is an anti-scratch coating. At some point the chances are you’ll get into a situation where something tries to scratch the lenses, even if it’s just small stone that kicks off the road. Anti-scratch coating is just an added layer of protection that means you won’t ruin the lenses quite as easily. Having said that, it’s worth keeping in mind that nothing will keep your glasses in better condition than simply looking after them…