Boosting Colors and Clarity For Different Riding Environments
To fully understand Shimano RIDESCAPE eyewear lens technology, consider the visual differences between a road bike ride along the Southern California coastline versus shredding serpentine singletrack in a dense western British Columbia forest. While both these hypothetical cycling scenes almost surely bring a smile to your face, they each pose distinctly unique challenges for your cycling eyewear of choice.
The Californian coastal cruise is likely to be sunny and bright as you pedal past beautiful oceanside scenery. But your eyes must also be constantly scanning the asphalt ahead, watching for road hazards and keeping track of the painted lines indicating where and where not to go in order to remain a safe distance from passing cars.
Meanwhile, up in beautiful B.C., visual conditions are likely to be constantly changing as you dart in and out of shadows cast by towering spruce and fir trees. Here, your eyes must quickly adjust to varied light levels while also tracking oncoming trail obstacles such as roots, ruts, and rocks.
Clearly, each of these riding environments merits different eyewear specifically designed for those unique needs. And that is exactly what Shimano RIDESCAPE lens technology does. First launched in 2021, RIDESCAPE was developed based on collected feedback from cyclists riding in a broad range of light conditions and cycling environments. Shimano eyewear engineers then studied this feedback and adjusted the color transmittance curve for each scene-specific RIDESCAPE lens accordingly. The result is that for each particular cycling environment, unwanted background color “noise” is filtered out while key colors are emphasized.
Now, instead of seeing a landscape that's washed out, dull, or flat with Shimano RIDESCAPE lens technology, your chosen cycling scene is clearly defined, vibrant, and vivid. That means you’ll have an easier time spotting potholes along that California coast road, identifying square-edge rocks on the trails in B.C., or seeing whatever is most important wherever you choose to ride.
RIDESCAPE lenses are also exceptionally comfortable to wear thanks to the use of a unique polyamide material that’s 12% lighter than the more commonly used polycarbonate. This results in up to a 2-gram weight reduction (a truly significant amount when it comes to eyewear).
Polyamide also has a lower refractive index and higher Abbe value, where the refractive index refers to how light is bent and slows as it travels through a lens (the lower the index, the higher the visual clarity), and Abbe is a measure of the amount of chromatic aberration, also known as the colored fringes that surround an image and cause blurriness (the higher the Abbe, the clearer the image). Bottom line, RIDESCAPE lenses are about as close to visually perfect clear glass as you can get.
The current RIDESCAPE lens lineup boasts six scene-specific options available for a variety of cycling-specific frame designs. This combination covers all the bike riding bases, including road, off-road, and gravel, plus additional lenses for extreme sunny days, standard daylight conditions, and low-light cloudy days. Each carries a visible light transmission percentage (or VLT) that indicates how much light the lens lets through. The higher the VLT, the lighter the shade of the lens, while the lower the VLT, the darker the tint.
Other RIDESCAPE lens features include a wide field of view design to better protect eyes from wind and debris, and a hydrophobic outer and inner lens surface coating that increases water and sweat repellency so they stay cleaner longer and are easier to maintain.
The lenses also provide full UV-400 sun protection, have an anti-scratch coating for increased durability, and come paired with an array of ultra-lightweight rimless or half-rim cycling-specific frames that blend seamlessly with the wide variety of modern bicycle helmets, assuring your eyewear stays securely in place no matter how rowdy your ride gets.
Here's a breakdown of each Shimano RIDESCAPE lens option.
Tuned for extreme sunny conditions often experienced during shadeless summertime road rides, this lens enhances vision in bright light, making it easier to see subtle changes in surface texture, which can mean the difference between avoiding or hitting a stray rock in the road. And with a 13% VLT, your eyes are better protected from blinding road glare, which helps reduce eye strain.
Tuned for all-around road riding, this lens is optimal for sunny and clear conditions. Utilizing a 21% VLT, the RIDESCAPE RD boosts asphalt contrast and enhances road surface texture and details, making it easier to spot hazards such as potholes while also reducing eye strain.
Tuned for the earth tones of open off-road and gravel riding, this lens has a 21% VLT that helps highlight subtle transitions between gravel, dirt, and pavement. This makes it easier to spot ruts or sharp rocks before they have a chance to derail your race or ride.
Tuned for off-road and trail riding, where light conditions are often variable as you zip in and out of shadows. It employs a 35% VLT that helps reduce glare from sun leaks and sharpens your visual awareness so you can react more quickly to changing trail surfaces and oncoming obstacles such as roots and rocks.
Tuned for cloudy or rainy-day rides, and for riding at night, the RIDESCAPE CL lens utilizes an anti-reflection coating that reduces oncoming headlight glare, making this lens an ideal choice for commuters. It employs an 82% VLT that helps boost light transmittance for enhanced visual performance in low light and wet riding conditions.
Tuned for general-purpose daylight riding, this budget-friendly, high-contrast boosting lens filters out harsh asphalt glare and sharpens surface details. With a 13% VLT, it delivers richer colors and higher resolution, providing a clearer view for more confident and comfortable daily riding. The RIDESCAPE HC lens is also available in a photochromic option, which automatically changes the visible light transmission percentage when exposed to different levels of U.V. light. If surroundings are dark, the lens is almost clear, but when it's bright out, the lens turns a darker hue.