Arclite Optics - best helmet friendly sunglasses evah!!

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Roostre, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Roostre

    Roostre Disco

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    I thought I would share this discovery. Like many I have struggled to find good sunglasses that are helmet friendly and great to ride with - so I am going to review the Arclite Optics sunglasses. Disclosure -I have no vested interest in the company and I'm not an investor. I happened to attend a rally with the owner of Arclite and he was kind enough to let us demo a pair for a few days.
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    Lenses are easily interchangeable so you can swap them around if your needs change. Here's a few pics on my ugly kitchen countertop:
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    I rode with the Photochromic lense (shown in last picture above) on the first day of the rally:
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    You can see how much darker they were after hitting some gorgeous Utah/Arizona line sunshine. I've tried other darkening lenses and they didn't work right under my helmet. I don't know what kind of magic they used, but these worked perfectly inside my Soumy.

    When I first saw these I was a little skeptical of the frame design. The width of the arms (temple?) seemed too much! After wearing them you have an ah-ha moment - the design is easy to put on with your helmet on - AND it doesn't have to rest down on your ear to sit correctly. This means you don't get that rubbing on top of your ear that so many glasses can cause. The design works so well that you forget that you are even wearing them.

    A big part of forgetting is that the optics is so high quality. The clarity of these lenses is amazing. I was absolutely shocked when I switched back to my 100% goggles. ( I thought they were pretty good.) I can say that I was able to ride faster with the Arclite glasses on because I could see further ahead with clarity.

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    The way the lenses fits my face means that almost no wind or dust can get by them. Most glasses under my helmet have a max speed before I start to get watery eyes from wind whip. These are so good at sealing that out that I was comfortable with just the glasses at any speed. They seem to not collect dust as readily as other glasses either. I rode both middle, and back of the pack with these for 3 days and never felt the need to clean them during a ride. They never fogged up, which usually is a problem because I am a sweaty mess when I ride.




    I have made these my go-to glasses for everything. I wear digital hearing aids that sit atop and behind my ear. (Hard to see, but there is a little wire that feeds down into my ear canal). It's nice that they don't ride down on my hearing aid and rub on the microphones.
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    The Z87.1+ rating means I can wear them at work, too!
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    All in all a great product that works! It's also nice to know that it comes from a great local that adventure rides and is passionate about the these products. Listening to him describe the process used to make these reveals how much heart and soul he has put into making this a great product!

    https://arcliteoptics.com/
    #1
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  2. dpike

    dpike BeeKeeper Supporter

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    bret tkacs reviewed these a few months back with the same enthusiasm.
    #2
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  3. Chadzu

    Chadzu Lost In Space

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    I had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Chen, the head honcho at arclite optics a few weeks ago. We talked for a couple of hours about optic technology and how challenging it is to make a quality product. I applaud their effort to produce their product in the USA as much as possible. It gives me a warm fuzzy to see cool stuff that is made in Utah.
    ansi z87 and beyond that full mil-spec impact rated. 2.5mm lense is strong and the clarity is really good. I look through company provided safety glasses all day and the optical quality that I have become to expect was far exceeded by the arclite glasses.
    The super thin arms are welcome. They fit under or over a stocking cap better than anything else I have tried. Thats the same reason they work so well in a helmet.
    If you are in the market for some shades that you can comfortably wear with a helmet, and provide high levels of protection you should check them out.
    #3
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  4. ArcliteOptics

    ArcliteOptics Adventurer

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    Thank you for the outstanding reviews and comments! We started a Arclite Vendor Thread which we posted here:

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/arclite-optics.1429848/

    Please let us know if there are any questions we can answer or information that we can provide. We're happy to be part of the community here!
    #4
  5. ArcliteOptics

    ArcliteOptics Adventurer

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    Yes, Bret gave us an excellent and very thorough review! He's been a big fan and supporter of Arclite products! If you haven't seen it...

    #5
  6. GR8SKP

    GR8SKP Been here awhile

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    Great review. I have these with 5 different lenses just waiting to be used for motorcycle and mountain biking.

    Can anyone speak to the effectiveness of the photochromatic lens when used with a peaked helmet and visor? I have an Arai XD4 and wondered if it would cast too much shade or if the visor would be a problem.
    #6
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  7. Q's Moto Vlog

    Q's Moto Vlog n00b

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    I love the Arc Lite Ethos VLD glasses. They basically replaced the face shield on my 3/4's helmet. They're that good.
    #7
  8. cwadej

    cwadej Keeper of the truth

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    I hope the Z37.1+ is a misprint. Z37 is allowable gas concentrations.
    Z87 is impact eyewear.

    My work would not allow them due to the frame not showing Z87
    #8
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  9. cblais19

    cblais19 Long timer

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    Not sure about this specific one, but my Julbo Zebra lenses work great in my XD4. That big visor lets more then enough light in to trigger transitions.
    #9
  10. GR8SKP

    GR8SKP Been here awhile

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    Great to know, thanks! That lens will be useful on my early morning commute that starts off dark.
    #10
  11. ArcliteOptics

    ArcliteOptics Adventurer

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    Not to worry! Our frames are marked with Z87.1+. It does look like a "Z37" from the photo in Roostre's post, but likely just a shadow on the de-bossing. Or perhaps just a Roostre typo?

    Our products meet the Milspec for protective eyewear and far exceed the Z87.1+ levels of prtoection. If you're curious about what these standards are and what they mean, as far as impact and ballistics go, we have a good resource in on of our blog posts here:

    https://arcliteoptics.com/the-basics-of-impact-performance/

    USA Safety Glasses also has some good info here:

    https://blog.safetyglassesusa.com/a-guide-to-ballistic-tactical-eyewear/

    https://blog.safetyglassesusa.com/what-does-ansi-z87-1-2010-certified-mean/



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    #11
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  12. ArcliteOptics

    ArcliteOptics Adventurer

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    By "visor" you mean the brim on adv and moto helmets, such as in the picture below and not the flip-down polycarbonate shield/lens, correct? If yes, then it shouldn't be a problem at all. But UV activated photochromics won't darken behind optical grade polycarbonate, which is what motorcycle helmet shields are made of, because they filter out 99.9%+ of the UV required for any darkening.

    I know the terminology is problematic. Visor, Shield, Peak Brim, etc....

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    #12
  13. GR8SKP

    GR8SKP Been here awhile

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    Yes, the terminology does vary. But you have it right and have answered my question. Sound like that lens will work so long as the shield is up. This is what I suspected which is why I bought the 5 different lenses. Thanks for weighing in, Stephen. Looking forward to trying these glasses out.
    #13
  14. cblais19

    cblais19 Long timer

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    Strange, I don’t have any issues with my Julbo Reactiv lenses darkening behind my Arai shield.
    #14
  15. GR8SKP

    GR8SKP Been here awhile

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    Ah, so there's hope! Different glasses, but I will definitely try it out. Thanks.
    #15
  16. SK_in_AB

    SK_in_AB LOOKin to GS

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    Bit of a hijack here. These glasses sound great. But I need prescription sunglasses with a progressive bifocal. Has anyone found a good Rx brand that is similar in shape and helmet friendly like thsee Arclites? I have been to quite a few optical stores and was told the highly curved shapes of this type of lens can't be provided in a prescription lens. I think there should be some out there.
    #16
  17. cblais19

    cblais19 Long timer

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    Depends on your perscription, Julbo has RX offerings as do other higher end mfrs. They offer ones similar to above, but the corrective lens portion is only part of the total.
    #17
  18. deep6blue

    deep6blue Been here awhile

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    What's the difference between the VLD and non-VLD glasses?
    Which is better for daylight riding, the red or yellow lenses?
    Since we have random weather patterns (sunny to overcast), which color would you recommend for the Pacific Northwest?
    Who are the local vendors for these glasses in the Pacific Northwest?
    #18
  19. ArcliteOptics

    ArcliteOptics Adventurer

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    This is an excellent question that has a fairly long-winded answer. All of this explanation is assuming we’re talking about a pair of Rx eyewear without needing a prescription lens carrier insert.

    Here’s some background on how the ophthalmic Rx industry operates and some of the constraints that exist which makes Rx without inserts somewhat rare for products with functionality like ours. Particularly single lens shield type eyewear; we haven’t come across any single shields that offer Rx without an Rx lens carrier insert. There’s quite a bit to this, so apologies for the long and technical explanation.

    The ophthalmic industry, early on, had to define some standards, categories and conventions for prescription lenses since everyone has different eyesight and pupillary distances. The convention for the powers of prescription strength in the eyewear industry is generally in increments of .25 diopter increments and can vary up and down. For example, the US Army requires Rx inserts with powers of +11 to -11 diopters to be compatible with protective glasses and goggles. That’s a lot of Rx steps!

    Another convention comes into play with the curves of the lenses. The relationship of the front and back curves defines the power of the lens. Since there are infinite possible combinations of front and back curve geometries, the ophthalmic industry established the convention of “base curves” The base curve convention defines the outer radius of the lens in whole number steps 1, 2….10, +. These whole numbers are derived from a formula that incorporates radius and index of refraction of the material. So, this nails down the front curves as standards and the back curve varies depending on the power of the Rx. In many cases the eyewear frame style and geometry, in addition to power, dictate a specific base curve.

    So basically, how it works is you get your prescription from your eye doctor who measures your Rx in terms of power in +/- .25 increments, any angles of astigmatism and pupillary distance. You pick out your frames and the lab selects the appropriate base curve and size lens blank, shapes the lens, applies any additional coatings, then installs the lens in the frames. And keep in mind that many people have different corrective powers in the left and right eyes.

    So, you can start to see why it’s so challenging to have an Rx primary lens which doesn’t require an Rx lens carrier insert for products like ours. There are so many variables and combinations:

    · Wide range of +/- .25 Diopter steps in power

    · Variable pupillary distance between left and right eyes

    · Common difference in power between left and right eyes

    · Variable astigmatic angles

    Throw into that mix the variety of tints, coatings and other functionality of our type of products:

    · Tint variations

    · Permanent Anti-fog coatings, some of which cannot be applied to Rx lenses after being shaped

    · Outer lens coating variations

    · Varying lens geometry required for different styles of frames.

    To pull all this off to accommodate everyone’s different Rx you would need lots and lots of lens blank injection molds. Quality optical lens molds, which have good optical performance are very very expensive! If we consider single shield lenses like ours, the pupillary distance, astigmatism and difference in power between left and right eyes, it’s just not remotely practical.

    So, what we see is prescription two lens sunglasses with individual left and right lenses. This starts limiting the amount of protective coverage you can incorporate into a design. We also find relatively limited Rx lens options in terms of functionality (Tints, Coatings, Ballistic Protection, etc…) This because most tints are compounded into the base/substrate material and many functional coatings are applied in mass production. So operational set up for that many varieties would be a nightmare and not cost effective. It would real tuff not to lose a ton of money. You’d have lens blanks sitting in inventory for a long time waiting for those few people who have the specific Rx for that blank and in the specific tint desired.

    Another issue is with lens interchangeability. We offer kits that have multiple lenses because one type of lens can’t cover all your needs, at least not with today’s technology. Prescription eyewear has to have fixed lenses, so you wouldn’t be able to swap out your lens in the middle of a ride when the conditions change.

    This leads us to the Rx lens carrier insert. The only standardized insert across multiple brands/companies that we’re aware of is the US Army’s Universal Prescription Lens Carrier (UPLC). This is what we’ve designed our Ethos and Ethos VLD to be compatible with.

    With respect to other brands similarly shaped that have Rx and are helmet friendly: our earpiece and frame technology is protected with multiple issued patents. So those attributes of our products are exclusive to Arclite.
    #19
  20. ArcliteOptics

    ArcliteOptics Adventurer

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    The big difference between the standard Ethos and the Ethos VLD is that the VLD is a frameless design without a brow portion of the frame. This does a few things. It allows for excellent vertical field of view, which is great for riding and shooting. It provides a more relaxed fit without the rigidity of the brow portion of the frame. It also allows for a greater protective coverage. The VLD lacking the brow piece also breathes a little better out of the top of the lens since there’s more opportunity for air to escape out the top. The standard Ethos was really focused exclusively as a military/tactical product, whereas the VLD was designed to be a mil/tac, motorsports and actions sports product. Both have the same earpieces which is one of our corner stone technologies (see photo below).

    The Red Mirror/Moto lens is best for bright sunny conditions and has awesome vibrant color contrast and pop. The yellow lens is best for low light conditions, particularly with snowy or white out backgrounds. The trail/cycle lens also has great color contrast but is more for shady or intermediate light conditions when compared to the red mirror/moto lens and seems to be a pretty popular lens in the pacific north west. The photochromic lens is great and really does a good job in adapting to overcast to sunny light. But the Red Mirror/Moto lens is really the go-to lens when it’s really bright. The 3 lens Moto VLD kits really cover a wide range of conditions. They include Moto, Photochromic and either Yellow or Vermillion. Check out this link for more info on all of our lenses:

    https://arcliteoptics.com/lens-technology/

    We don’t have any local vendors in the Pacific North West. Most of our consumer commercial sales are placed on our website. We do see a disproportionally large amount of orders from the Pacific North West. Also, offer free shipping over $100 and free returns with paid return shipping in the US. So, if they’re not working for you for any reason, you can return them at no cost within 30 days. I will say that we get very few returns and those few are typically a head shape compatibility/fit issue.

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    #20