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Grumpy Uncle Dave Review

POC Crave Clarity Riding Glasses

Words Dave Tolnai
Photos Dave Tolnai
Date Feb 1, 2021
Reading time

As a bottom-tier* writer for a mid-tier website dedicated to a fringe sport, I need to make hay while the iron is hot. If a free part/accessory/garment becomes available, I grab it immediately, whether or not it is useful, necessary or attractive. Now, others in my household insist that 5-6 helmets is too many, and that nobody needs a riding coat for each day of the week, and they probably have a point. But when the gravy crumbs could dry up at any moment, you don’t spend too much time questioning their provenance or usefulness.

*What's below bottom-tier? -Ed.

For example, you will remember that I wrote about all my stuff getting stolen from my truck a few years ago? Maybe? Well, if you don’t, all you need to know is that I’m still milking that horse for all the cheese it can produce.

The one thing that I did not manage to immediately replace was my riding 'eyewear.' I’m a very, very infrequent wearer of glasses while cycling, so it was very, very easy to just move on when I found myself no longer owning a pair. But then fall hit, and the rain came and I found myself riding a fair amount in the wet, resulting in my eyes constantly getting caked in shit and my body careening off the trail at least once a ride, due to blindness. After I hit the fine people at POC up for some parts to get my helmets rolling again, I thought I’d try my luck and see if they’d ship me a pair of riding glasses. Lo-and-behold, several days later, a tiny little parcel showed up and I was the proud new owner of these!

“These” are, are a pair of POC Crave Clarity glasses in the recently discontinued light blue frame colour (with optional clear lens). Non discount shoppers can find these same glasses available in several frame colours and lens types, for the price of C$320 (well…between C$290 and C$320, depending on your lens choice). This… is not a small sum of money. Throw in a spare clear lens for another C$80, and we’re getting into gold toilet/butler territory. It actually makes me a bit happier to know that the pair I received would otherwise have been destined for the face of some other clearance shopping schmuck, had they not come my way. Who knew that I’m even a bit cheap when it comes to free stuff?

Unwrapping these babies left me with a few thoughts and sensations. The first was impressed, due to the little “lens by Zeiss” logo. The next was disappointed, as I was expecting a Pete Roggeman 70’s squash player experience. Those wanting to go full-Roggeman should probably look to the larger Aspire Clarity, which in addition to shielding your eyes, will also protect sizable portions of your cheeks and forehead (and will save you C$50 in the process). Practically speaking, the smaller size probably suits my purposes better. They cleared my helmet with no problems, and there is lots of room for air to flow that hopefully will help remain fog-through the cold and damp days of winter.

As I implied above, I’ve been riding a lot this fall and winter, and I’ve been subjecting my face, eyes and buttocks to horrendous, mud-filled experiences, to the point where I felt somewhat guilty throwing these things on my face for a mountain bike ride. Showering your crotch with icy mud-water is one thing, but spraying filth on a brand new lens? That’s another form of uncomfortable. For the sake of the glasses, I thought about waiting and breaking them in under less heinous conditions.

The strange thing though, is that after having this discussion with myself in the parking lot and then deciding to throw caution to the wind, I totally and completely forgot about them for the rest of the ride. Now, “forgot” is maybe a bit of an exaggeration. I obviously noticed them as they deflected large splatters of mud away from my tender eyes. And I obviously noticed them as they fogged up whenever I came to a stop. But, more than any other glasses that I’ve worn before, these things disappeared from my field of view, and I had no conscious feeling to them being on my face, either through how they fit or how they impacted my vision. It was almost like they weren’t there. Even when they fogged up, they’d clear remarkably quickly when I got rolling again. So, yes, they cost a small fortune, but holy crap are they nice to wear while you ride. And because of this, I’m now wearing them more rides than not. I’ve almost become one of those glasses-while-riding guys.

Most of my complaints start with “especially considering the price.” First, it would be nice if there was a clear lens option straight from the factory. Having to shell out for another lens on top of the already hefty base price would be a tough pill to swallow if I was shopping for new glasses. Next, I would say that the translucent blue frame wouldn’t be my first choice if I was forking out actual money for this product. Other frame colours look like they might do a better job of making an argument for their premium price. Yes, they do everything that is asked of them. The arms click in and out with authority and yes, it’s all about the performance, but I think this frame colour suggests to most people that I’m wearing a cheap pair of safety glasses.

So, much like some lucky tourist bumped up to business class for his flight to St. John’s, I’m pretty excited to experience something outside of my price range. Just like starting your flight with a complimentary glass of cheap champagne, these glasses are something that I could get used to. That doesn’t mean I’d want to pay for it/them, but I can’t help but dream once I’ve tricked somebody into allowing me the experience. There are cheaper options on the market and many of those will get the job done, but it really says something that I search these out before I go riding and I curse myself on the days that I forget them.

POC Crave Clarity Riding Glasses (psst, the red and uranium/black/translucent are on sale for a mere 203 USD)

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Comments

momjijimike
0
momjijimike  - Feb. 1, 2021, 1:36 a.m.

I'm using the UVEX 204 in clear and orange. As soon as there to many scratch I buy an other one for 15€. Works for me perfect. I'm sorry, worn't buy the POC for 200€...

Reply

kos
+18 Garrett Thibault Merwinn Pete Roggeman jaydubmah Poz Velocipedestrian Cam McRae khai mrbrett Sandy James Oates Derek Baker Tim Coleman Todd Hellinga IslandLife Deniz Merdano Dan Angu58 meloroast
Kos  - Feb. 1, 2021, 5:46 a.m.

I almost quit reading at the price, but continued anyway, because I enjoy the musings of a bottom-tier, fringe sport writer.

Reply

Cheez1ts
0
Garrett Thibault  - Feb. 1, 2021, 6:28 a.m.

I agree with Kos. Unfortunately I quite enjoyed Dave’s musings and I did follow the link to look at the on-sale glasses... but I’m too cheap.

I’ve started wearing googles and a full-face helmet every ride, just hang the googles backwards around my neck going up, and bring my google bag to wipe the rain out before I put them on.

I’d like a different solution for commuting and trail rides.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Nologo
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 1, 2021, 9:35 a.m.

I think your one-solution-fits-all is something along these lines, but fully appreciate that $320 isn't everyone's comfortable price point. That said, you can find clear-lensed options for less, just pay attention to the optics, because it does matter. I know some people ride in $10 safety glasses, and their vision is likely better than mine, but between lack of anti-fog, poor peripheral vision due to encroaching frame, more weight and bad comfort, they're not an option for me. Kudos to those that can make 'em work, though.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+3 Nologo Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 1, 2021, 12:58 p.m.

"Pay attention to the optics, because it does matter." This.

Reply

dbozman
+2 Chad K meloroast
dbozman  - Feb. 2, 2021, 5:02 a.m.

Indeed. I bought a pair of those $15 Bolle safety glasses so many riders rave about. I have 20-20 vision and the distortion in those lenses was so bad it was like a bad shroom trip.

Reply

LWK
+6 Garrett Thibault Pete Roggeman AJ Barlas Nologo Dan meloroast
LWK  - Feb. 1, 2021, 8:23 a.m.

opposite perspective...  I have a pair of these (several years old now) and love them, money well spent for me.  I have limited vision in one eye and am getting to the age where the eyes dont work quite as well as they used. So eye protection and clear vision is important to me.  I tried multiple pairs of cheaper glasses and was never happy.  These are fantastic.  Yes, they are expensive but glasses are not hard things to take care of.

Reply

IslandLife
+2 Pete Roggeman Garrett Thibault Andy Eunson Nologo
IslandLife  - Feb. 1, 2021, 8:36 a.m.

For considerably cheaper, Ryders make glasses with their "Fyre" lens. Ryders have some kind of partnership or ownership situation with Essilor, so they get access to their lens tech. And holy shit, these things are just so good. Living and riding through PNW winters I can say that their anti-fog tech... is very, very good. I toss these on at the beginning of my ride and don't touch them until the end.

And Ryders always seem to have some kind of sale going on... so if they're not on sale right now, sign up for their newsletter and just wait.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Garrett Thibault IslandLife
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 1, 2021, 9:32 a.m.

Here's my review on those. It's from several years ago but I stand by everything in there: https://nsmb.com/articles/ryders-fyre-lenses/

Retail on them is $239 CAD but, like you said, if you can't find Ryders on sale, it must not be a day ending in 'y'. 

Anyway, they're great in all conditions and the price to feature/benefit ratio is very good, indeed.

Reply

Cheez1ts
+1 IslandLife
Garrett Thibault  - Feb. 1, 2021, 10:35 a.m.

Thank you both! This is the type of comment I was hoping to find below the article: cheaper alternatives. I’m impressed with the anti-fog on my Ryder’s googles, I’d certainly like that feature on glasses.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+2 IslandLife Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 1, 2021, 1 p.m.

Are the goggles the Tallcan? I've had similarly incredible experiences with those goggles in conditions where they should fog. The Fyre treatment on their glasses is equally as good.

Reply

IslandLife
+1 AJ Barlas
IslandLife  - Feb. 1, 2021, 1:54 p.m.

Yep, I've also got a set of Tallcan's that I've also been wearing this winter and I don't think I've noticed them fog up yet.

Reply

DanL
+2 IslandLife Pete Roggeman
DanL  - Feb. 1, 2021, 2:11 p.m.

I picked up the Shore's in a moment of 'need cheap goggles for bike park' and they have been consistently hitting above their weight - they fit my face without crushing my nose down, they don't fog especially compared to some Airbrakes I had, no scratches yet and they also make perfect night snowboarding goggles.

Ouch
0
Ouch  - Feb. 1, 2021, 4:17 p.m.

The Tallcan are great for their antifog, but the lenses scratch so easily!!! I was so careful cleaning the lenses and after 6 rides, they're scratched to the point of poor optics now.

Ryder states this is normal? I'll never buy anything thing from them again!

DanL
+11 Timer Pete Roggeman Garrett Thibault AJ Barlas Velocipedestrian Cam McRae khai Cr4w Nologo mrbrett Tim Coleman
DanL  - Feb. 1, 2021, 8:40 a.m.

"milking that horse for all the cheese it can produce"

Sublime wordsmithing

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Nologo Tim Coleman
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 1, 2021, 9:26 a.m.

Uncle Dave hit several high notes in this one, that's for sure.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - Feb. 1, 2021, 10:11 a.m.

My conundrum is that I really only ride in clear lenses, but want good quality and the bigger coverage you can get on some Smith, Ryders and these. Hard to find what I want in clear-only, so I have a selection of expensive tinted lenses sitting unused.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
+1 JVP
AndrewR  - Feb. 1, 2021, 10:57 a.m.

Ryders Invert: https://www.ryderseyewear.com/ca-en/invert-antifog#style-17890

I love my ROAM Fyre yellow lens (even though I would not normally wear a white frame)

Reply

Vikb
+4 Pete Roggeman AJ Barlas Nologo taprider
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 1, 2021, 10:18 a.m.

I've used lots of cheap sunglasses and some nice $$$ ones as well. For MTBing....especially in deep dark forest low light I'd rather have amazing optics and a budget drivetrain than the other way around. I'm one of those people that can [somewhat frequently] keep a pair of sunglasses a decade without losing or destroying them. So spending some $$$ upfront has decent long-term pay off. 

I've never tried any POC glasses, but the few pieces of POC gear that I have used have all been really nice.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+2 Vik Banerjee Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 1, 2021, 1:02 p.m.

If ya can't see, ya can't really ride, hey! Our forests are dank af.

Reply

Vikb
+1 AJ Barlas
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 1, 2021, 1:49 p.m.

It's true and there are a fair number of pointy sticks in them forests. I had two near misses a few years ago which motivated me to drop the $$ for fancy shades that I would happily wear every ride summer or winter.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 1, 2021, 5:58 p.m.

Similar to what got me to start wearing glasses riding. Two people I knew in town almost lost an eye to rogue sticks. Both in the same winter. That was it for me but I’d always battled with dirt and grit getting in my eyes. I don’t wear squint goggles well because I get too excited, 🙂

Reply

craw
+2 AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman
Cr4w  - Feb. 1, 2021, 3:06 p.m.

I always underspent on eye protection and predictably ended up never wearing it. It wouldn't take much to damage an eye; in fact it's surprising that it doesn't happen more often. Then I finally got some great glasses and now I wear them diligently. They're photochromic which isn't really that big a deal but they don't fog and the optics are superb. I wear them on every ride. You definitely have to commit to spending a bit to get something that fits well and has good optics.

Reply

Cheez1ts
+2 AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman
Garrett Thibault  - Feb. 1, 2021, 4:22 p.m.

Fits well is a good point. I should plan to try before I buy (ie not buy online)

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 2, 2021, 5:14 p.m.

One thing to mention on fit: I used to think that a frame that fit 'snug' in on my face (ocular cavities and in and around my nose) was preferable, and it does need to stay in place and keep the wind out of your eyes, BUT make sure the fit isn't overly tight - or maybe the word I'm looking for is 'perfect'. Meaning that if there isn't sufficient space for air to flow in there, you'll have more issues with lenses fogging up. You don't want a seal, and obviously too loose is no good, it's somewhere in between.

Sorry I can't be more specific but it's something I had never been told but it turns out that a bit of airflow is a good thing - just not too much or else you'll have the watery eyes you're trying to prevent in the first place.

Reply

davetolnai
0 LWK IslandLife
Dave Tolnai  - Feb. 1, 2021, 5:38 p.m.

Man. Tough crowd. I mean...what would have happened if I reviewed these things and didn't dwell a bit on the price tag? You'd have called me more than grumpy.

My only complaints are the price and the particular frame colour that got sent my way. As others pointed out, it's really easy to spend a lot less money and wind up with something that sucks and that you don't wear. As I said in the review, these totally disappear from your field of view and I've never really experienced that before. So while I would love it if these things came in at half the price (or less), I can't really complain about the results.

Reply

Cheez1ts
+2 IslandLife Pete Roggeman
Garrett Thibault  - Feb. 2, 2021, 9:56 a.m.

Overwhelming consensus is that we all love your writing and read your review of expensive glasses that we otherwise wouldn’t have. 

I think the takeaway is that the majority of those who take time to leave a comment aren’t willing to spend this much on glasses. 

But there’s even one comment that agrees with you that these are great. What more could you want man?

Reply

davetolnai
0
Dave Tolnai  - Feb. 2, 2021, 4:40 p.m.

This is fair.  I think most of my angst is towards whichever editor called me grumpy.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 2, 2021, 5:16 p.m.

It wasn't this one, because:

1) You're Uncle Dave! And Uncle Dave is always just a tiny bit grumpy, which is why he's our favourite uncle (that writes for our mid-tier website mag)

2) I thought you were less grumpy than usual this time around

Reply

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