Blue, red, amber, orange, pink, green, gray, yellow, clear — the best lens color for cycling is all of them. That’s because each lens tint comes with distinct advantages and disadvantages, but all of them enhance contrast, boost colors, and improve sharpness. Choose the right tint for the conditions and enjoy the ability to see what’s ahead faster and clearer than you would with the naked eye, which in turn speeds your reaction time to deal with any obstacles on the road or trail.
Before you decide on the right tint, it’s important to have your eyes checked for color blindness. You may find you have issues with certain colors, i.e., blue tints may blur your vision. Ultimately, the tint color you choose will depend upon your personal preference. While we don’t list black or gray lenses here, you may love them. And any lens you love is a lens you’ll wear. Your eyes will thank you for that.
Best Lens Color for Gravel Cycling
Amber or Copper lenses are the best all-rounders here, same as they are for road riding. Their ability to block ample light is welcome on those days rolling through farmland or desert on empty roads with no shade.
Rose or Pink lenses work well when riding through forested back roads and low-light conditions. The color heightens color contrast and improves depth perception, allowing you to see obstacles faster and in sharper detail. However, the tint will distort objects’ natural color, which may take some getting used to.
Best Lens Color for Mountain Biking
Rose or Pink lenses thrive on densely forested, highly technical singletrack. They heighten contrast and boost depth perception, critical elements of picking a safe line through the trail in ever-changing, low-light conditions.
Amber or Copper tints work well for mountain bikers too, although you may want to consider a lighter shade that’s closer to yellow to better handle low-light conditions in a dense forest or tight canyon.
Blue tints will do the job here. They handle changing light conditions and transitions well, but skip them if riding on exposed trails in the bright sun.
Green tints work best in lush, green terrain because they heighten contrast and even out colors.
Best Lens Color for Winter Cycling
Yellow or Light Orange tints are the go-to low-light cycling glasses for fog, thick haze, overcast days, and dawn or dusk riding. The tint carries just enough color to sharpen contrast and boost clarity without making it difficult to see. They’ll even work for night rides on lighted streets. Same goes for riding in the rain and snow.
Green lenses work well in rainy and foggy environments thanks to the tint’s ability to heighten contrasts even against the dull light of a rain storm.
Clear lenses still provide the UV protection of their tinted brothers and sisters, but more importantly, the physical protection from grit, dust, rain, wind, etc. You may give up contrast and clarity, but during winter’s short days and weak sunlight, being able to see in the dark is more important.
The Best Cycling Lens Tint System
The ideal set-up for your cycling glasses is a frame that lets you swap in the right color tint for the right conditions. Rudy Project’s Quick Change System is designed to do just that. It lets you quickly change lenses as needed. Want to build the ultimate tint quiver? Check out the 23 different lens tints available for Rudy Project’s Rydon frames.