Tifosi Rail Sunglasses: Getting Rolling

Tifosi Rail Sunglasses: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted

Tifosi has made a name for itself in the eyewear category by offering cyclists, runners, baseball players, and sportspeople value for the dollar spent. High quality eyewear for cycling generally means lots of cabbage out of your pocket, but this is not the case with Tifosi.

Image of the Tifosi Rail sunglasses on a table.
The Tifosi Rail model in Black/White frame with the Smoke Mirror lens.

The question many have with the brand is if it is “good enough” to compete with the big players in the eyewear space. I wanted to take another look at Tifosi, having used their products over the last two decades, and see where the brand stands now against those more well known and fashionable brands for cycling. I have a lot of experience with those brands in terms of use for cycling so the comparisons would be easy for me to make here.

So I had Tifosi send over the Rail model in White/Black with three interchangeable lenses. The Rail comes in several configurations with some having photo-chromatic lenses. So check out those on their site here. For now, let’s dig into what I have here on test, the Rail with three interchangeable lenses.

Image showing interchangeable lens options for the Rail.
The Rail model we received has three interchangeable lens options as shown here.

What It Is: The Rail is Tifosi’s blade style single lens, high coverage model with a rim-less frame design. Typically these sorts of designs lend themselves to cycling well as you won’t have a frame cutting off your peripheral vision and the large lens protects the eyes a little better not only from light, but from debris or insects.

Specifically, the Rail has Tifosi’s Grilamid TR-90 frame which makes the frame light and durable. The lens is shatterproof and besides the clear lens, provides UVA/UVB protection for your eyes. The nosepiece and ear pieces are made from hydrophilic rubber which actually increases in grip as you sweat. Finally, Tifosi offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. The retail price of the Rail with the three interchangeable lenses is $79.99 USD.

Lens Type & Tech: The three lenses I received with the Rail are the “Smoke Mirror”, the “Red AC”, and a clear lens for very cloudy days or night riding. The lens is optically decentered, which means you get less distortion of what it is you are looking at through the lens. The polycarbonate lens material is shatterproof and scratch resistant. Finally, the lens blocks 100% of UVA and UVB light. Overall the Smoke Mirror lens will block the most light overall and is recommended for the brightest, Sunny day conditions. The Red AC is a high-contrast lens that is best all-around and brings more definition to what it is you are looking at. Finally, the clear lens is for very dark, overcast days or night-time riding.

You get those three lens, a carrying case, a handy cloth bag with which you can clean the lens with, and a user manual. All for the aforementioned $79.99.

The lens and Rail glasses with their case.

First Impressions And User Experiences: The carrying case is your typical “hard-soft shell” affair, the type you probably have used before. Inside there are the glasses and the extra lenses each in their own “pocket” It is worth noting that the pocket is held in by a hook-and-loop piece and can be removed.

The initial impression I had was one of a nicer set of glasses and the size of the Rail looked appropriate for my bigger face/head size. Putting the Rail on, it was immediately apparent that I would be experiencing a large coverage area and that the bows were not too tight or too long for my liking.

The nose-piece is adjustable so I pushed that around a bit to find the most comfortable place for it to be and that was that. I was ready to go. Looking through the Smoke Mirror lens seemed to reveal no weird artifacts or glare issues. Good!

I rode a couple of times with the Smoke Mirror lens but honestly, transitioning from open areas to tree covered bits left me a bit blind in the shadows. No worries. I turned to the Red AC lens. It was very easy to switch out the lens after following the included manual’s instructions and I was off again. The Red AC was much more suited to what I was doing, so I think that for the time being, I am going to stick with that choice.

Guitar Ted in the Tifosi Rail glasses outdoors somewhere.
Here’s lookin’ at ya! GT in the Tifosi rail glasses.

So Far… The Tifosi experience is one of good value and great quality eyewear. No doubt about their past performance in the eyewear market, but has this newer range, which includes the Rail I am testing, raised the bar? Is Tifosi comparable to higher end, more name-recognizable brands? Perhaps….

I like the triple lens options and the Red AC is that all-around tint I think I like best. Now fit over the long-term ride, that’s yet to be seen how that goes. That and a comparison test will help me answer the questions I have. But for now? I am pretty impressed with the Rail. Stay tuned….

For more on Tifosi eyewear see their website here; https://tifosioptics.com

Note: Tifosi Optics sent over the Rail glasses at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We were not charged nor bribed for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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