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Merida Race 3 sunglasses review

Performance eye protection without the performance price tag

Merida Race 3 sunglasses
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

Our Verdict

Affordable eye protection for sunny days that’s best suited to smaller faces

For

  • Decent eye coverage
  • Vented lens help avoid fogging
  • Adjustable nose piece and arms

Against

  • Close fit doesn’t suit larger faces
  • The heavy tint is best for very bright days
  • Lenses are untreated and prone to smudging

The benefits of eye protection are obvious: keeping sun and debris out your eyes when barreling down a trail will help keep you in control but riding sunglasses are expensive. Oakley and the likes often run into the hundreds and in the rough-and-tumble life of mountain bike products it takes just one crash to write gear off. Merida’s Race 3 sunglasses offer a stylish budget option that won’t threaten to leave you in financial ruin every time you crash.

Design and Specification 

Merida’s Race 3 sunglasses are a large-lensed half-frame design that, despite the very reasonable outlay, offer plenty of technical features. The frames themselves are made from a tough TR90 thermoplastic which offers some flex to help with fit. The nose piece and arms are both adjustable and finished with a grippy rubberized material to avoid them leaping off your face. Thin arms also help the glasses play nicely with deep coverage helmets and storing them in helmet vents.

When paying for premium sunglasses most of the cost is in the lenses. Merida refers to the lenses as ‘Cat 3’ claiming a 20% light penetration and have a blue tint to them. The lenses have two vented slots in the top to aid airflow to reduce fogging although they aren’t treated with any anti-fogging finishes. The mirrored finish gives them a more premium-looking finish as well.

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Merida Race 3 sunglasses

Extendable arms offer some adjustment (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Race 3 sunglasses

The nose piece is flexible to help security and comfort (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Race 3 sunglasses

Lens vents offer airflow for reduced fogging (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Race 3 sunglasses

The glasses don't fold very flat so are better stored in a bag or in helmet vents (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance 

The Race 3 sunglasses provided a decent amount of coverage despite my larger face/head. The shaping of the lower edge on the lens is well cut to avoid contact with the cheeks and the extend wide enough for side-eye protection. The overall fit is snug which is great for keeping debris out - although my brow did often contact the inside of the lens and leave smudges. Despite this very close fit, fogging was non-existent thanks the vents offering a decent level of airflow.

The lenses have a dark tint which is better suited to very bright days rather than cloudy weather or dark woods. Clarity is decent though helping to define trail features in sunny conditions. The glasses have quite a rounded shape when folded so are a bit bulky for a pocket and much easier to store in a bag. You do get a little bag and a hard case included for safe storage. Unfortunately, Merida doesn’t offer replaceable lenses but considering the Race 3 glasses are cheaper than most other brand’s replacement lenses, this is easily forgivable.

Merida Race 3 sunglasses

Good coverage although the shape is better suited to smaller faces (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

If you are often riding in very bright conditions and have a medium to small face then the Merida Race 3 sunglasses are excellent affordable riding eyewear. Replaceable lenses would be a nice addition (especially as Merida doesn’t offer any versions with a lower tint) and the low price means you won’t be continually worried about breaking them when out on the bike.

Tech Specs: Merida Race 3 sunglasses

  • Price: £30.00
  • Weight: 34g 
Graham Cottingham

Graham Cottingham has mountain biking at his core. He can mostly be found bikepacking around Scotland or exploring the steep trails around the Tweed Valley. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has gained a reputation for riding fixed gear bikes both too far and often in inappropriate places. Rides: Canyon Strive, Surly Karate Monkey, Surly Steamroller, Dolan Seta