Pit Viper Polarized Glasses - Review

Nov 3, 2016
by Mike Levy  
Pit Viper sunglasses review test


Depending on your fashion sense, or maybe lack thereof, you're probably going to think that Pit Viper's glasses either look awesome, stupid, or some combination of the two. Or maybe like something from an early 90s frat fashion show. Thankfully, Pit Viper don't take themselves too seriously, which is at odds with the surprisingly functional design of their $89.00 USD polarized glasses. The product is a bit obscured by the company's humorous take on marketing, but the lighthearted approach is both clever and refreshing, a welcome change from other sunglass companies that seem to believe their bug-shaped eyewear is what Jesus would wear if his second coming happened to fall on a sunny summer day. They're just glasses, people.

''If you haven't figured it out yet, we are very serious about not taking ourselves too seriously,'' they say on their website, and watching the company's collection of YouTube commercial videos only confirms this. I usually avoid pointing out a company's propaganda, but their anti-marketing marketing videos are most definitely worth checking out, if only to see them taking the piss out of everyone who takes themselves too seriously.

Aside from the neon colours and using the Pit Vipers to ''prop your f*ck'n bike up,'' as the company says, these things are probably the most functional eyewear that I've worn.
Pit Viper Details

• Polarized lens
• Open frame design
• Three frame color options
• Three lens color options
• Adjustable arm angle
• Adjustable arm length
• Adjustable nose piece
• Two different arm shapes incl.
• Adjustable neck strap incl.
• MSRP: $89.00 USD

Pit Viper sunglasses review test
Pit Viper sunglasses review test
The Pit Vipers stand out like a neon green monster truck at a classic car meet.


The polarized option is new for Pit Viper, and they're offering it with three different frames and lens colors: the '1993' model with the 'rainbow mirror lens' that's shown here, the 'Merika,' and the 'Gold Standard.' All three feature the same multi-adjustable frame and lens shape but offer varying degrees of in-your-faceness. Most high-end eyewear will have a polarized lens these days, which is said to be ideal for water sports where glare can be more than just annoying, but the lens treatment is also handy for anyone who's outside a lot. Non-polarized Pit Vipers cost $69.00 USD, so it's a $20 upcharge to kill the glare.

The lens also offers quite a bit of coverage, and they almost look a bit goggle-like at first. That extra coverage equals extra protection, of course, but the open design at the bottom should let them breath more than something with a frame that runs completely around the lens.


Pit Viper sunglasses review test
Pit Viper sunglasses review test
You can adjust both the arm angle and arm length, and also custom shape the nose piece.


While there are plenty of sunglasses out there that feature polarized lenses, few offer up the same adjustability as the Pit Vipers. The arms pivot just behind the hinge, with five different positions on tap that adjust where they sit on your face relative to your ears. Pit Viper has a silly name for this - Turbo Adjustment - but the customization is anything but silly. The arms can also be adjusted in length by about half an inch via four different indexed positions. The arm length adjustment range should be wide enough to fit everyone from a grom to Shaquille O'Neal.

The last adjustment is the 'Nose Bender' that's pretty self-explanatory. Rather than including different nose pieces that would be swapped out, the Pit Vipers come with a wire core formable nose piece that, you guessed it, can be bent to fit anyone's schnoz. And on top of all that, there's a set of arms with much more pronounced hooks to their ends that should up the Pit Viper's sticking powers, as well as an adjustable neck band and the usual storage and cleaning bag.

Pit Viper sunglasses review test
Four different arm length settings mean that your head is going to have to be seriously weird for these to not fit.





Performance

I've said it before, but for the most part I can't stand wearing glasses while riding. I know, I know, we only have one spare eyeball, so I should be protecting both while on my bike, but everything I put on my face either fogs up, has some ass-backwards lens tint, fits oddly, makes me look like an idiot, or manages to do some combo of those four at the same time. The Pit Vipers are only guilty on the last count, however, which makes them pretty good in my books.


Pit Viper review test
Full-time bike tester, part-time douche pickle?


Nothing fits on my face as well as these obnoxious glasses. The adjustments make them so functional that I'm pretty sure they'll stick to anyone's head, and if they don't it's because you haven't tinkered with the fit enough. For instance, at first I didn't realize that the nose piece could be shaped to fit better, and they were riding a bit low for my taste. But, after squeezing the nose piece together, and tilting the arms down by a few clicks, they stayed put so well that I'm pretty sure an epileptic fit wouldn't shake them loose. They're definitely the only seizure-proof glasses that I'm aware of.

They're nearly fog-proof as well, likely due to the open frame that promotes airflow. I also adjusted the nose piece so they sat a bit farther away from my face - we're talking millimeters here - which probably helped matters. They'll still fog, especially when you're toiling up some slow ass climb in soggy weather, but they're better at keeping the haze away than other eyewear I've tried. I also sat on the Pit Vipers, on purpose, which, besides feeling strange, proved to me that I probably won't break them anytime soon.


Pit Viper review test
Pit Viper review test
They might look silly, but the mega-adjustable Pit Vipers have a lot going for them.


Lens tints are very condition-specific, obviously, but I do think that most riders who don't live in Southern California or some other bright dustbowl are going to find the 'rainbow mirror lens' a bit too dark for forest work. I'm a big fan of a light yellow tint that evens out dark spots and bright spots, and this won't do that. I also like clear lenses, even if they make me look like I just got out of grade 10 science class.

Okay, surprisingly great glasses, but they look bloody stupid, don't they? Of course they do. Even the more subdued color options still scream "Hey, everyone, look at how big of a douche pickle I am,'' which is the last thing I need complete strangers knowing about me. When I'm wearing them, I feel like it looks as though I'm trying really, really hard to show people that I just don't give a damn, brah, and that's just not me. I've written before about how functionality should trump everything, and the Pit Vipers are extremely functional, but they're also just not 'me.'

Subjective feelings aside, I could also just make out the Pit Viper logo on each corner of the lens while wearing them. I'd always find it a bit distracting for the first few minutes of a ride, and then I'd stop noticing it.



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesHonestly, I wanted to hate the Pit Vipers when they first showed up. They're flashy purely for the sake of flashiness, and I'm generally not a fan of looking like a drunk '90s frat kid. On a jet ski. In Lake Havasu. During spring break. But damn, they actually work really, really well. To my admittedly undiscerning eyes, the lens optics seems to be as good as anything from Oakley that costs more than twice as much, and they're way more adjustable to boot. They've replaced the glasses in my riding bag for those reasons, even though every time I put them on I suddenly have the urge to shotgun a beer. - Mike Levy



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144 Comments

  • 130 2
 Kenny Powers would buy a case of these.
  • 60 2
 OH YEH BROTHER!!! (macho man voice)
  • 2 1
 @racecase: beat me to it!
  • 13 2
 @racecase:

Snap into a slim Jim
  • 9 0
 Lol at ironic ski companies being taken serious by the cycling world.

I'll stick with my reisssue Razorblades in the flouro yellow/fire iridium tint.
  • 11 0
 Now get in your beat up camaro and yell 's##k my d##k' at passers by..
  • 1 0
 @bonkywonky: Only while wearing Tipsy Elves Patriot gear!
  • 5 0
 @gonecoastal: Man, you could play some kick ass pro beach volleyball in these! Maverick would definitely approve!
  • 2 0
 @gonecoastal: same with the reissue razorblades in
purple iridium
  • 3 0
 @mxmtb: Ever drink something cold wile chewing up a slim Jim? Ugg that greasy film that coats your mouth.
  • 1 3
 nice douche nozzle glasses. I got a set of oakley radars from 1984 that look exactly the same
  • 3 0
 @properp: You mean.. people actually eat slim jims?
  • 2 0
 @spencer666: Maverick prefers aviators
  • 2 0
 Just need ones that have "La Flamma Blanca" on them instead of Pit Viper.
  • 1 0
 The 80's called....
  • 58 4
 Attention to Pit Viper, Smith, Oakley, Ryders, or any other sunglasses brand!
I need prescription glasses to ride - I can't use contact lenses. My current options are absurdly expensive (+$400) or total garbage Chinese stuff that while technically has prescription and are sunglasses, really don't do a great job. There are quite a few of us glasses wearing types out there and we are desperate for half decent sunglasses for a half decent price (especially with a few different options like a yellow tint low light lens etc). Make us a set and we will buy them!!!
  • 34 0
 I just bought prescription oakleys with their prizm trail lens. Could have been a nice fork.
  • 7 0
 Ryders will have a solution for you in just a few......
  • 1 0
 Bought a Julbo Run and had prescription lenses made for them - 45€ the Julbo + 225€ the lenses (including insurance for free replacement when my eyes change or when I break or scratch the lens).
I think thats ok.
This does not work for everyone, depends on your eyes.

Those Pit Viper glasses look stupid.
  • 1 1
 @cxfahrer: I'm sorry to inform your, but Julbo run has relatively poorly glued nose piece - mine detached in just 3 years. On mine old Julbo from 2005 it is also partially detached, but fortunately finely usable - so I presume it is a weak point of all julbos, which is sad since their frames are very nice.

And to all of you who is surprised by prices for good optics - it really cannot get any cheaper in modern world. Manufacturing an finishing of a good lens is tedious and precise work, thus expensive.
  • 3 0
 Uhhhh smith can do RX lenses... haha
  • 3 1
 @ratedgg13 Look at Rudy Project. Lenses as good if not better than Oakley. PM me and I'll give you a substantial discount code to shop at e-rudy.com

www.e-rudy.com/en/products/filter/category/sunglasses/sub/rx-collection
  • 1 0
 Check out Fuse lenses. They make lenses (Rx and regular) for a bunch of different brands. I've got a few non-Rx lenses from them and have been happy.
  • 1 0
 @Sycip69er: Those look pretty good! Will keep it in mind for next time
  • 1 0
 @Shulman I sure hope so!
@andnyleswillriot Thats what I currently have but they cost me the price of a decent new frame...sooooo not really in the "half decent price" range.
@ricechrispy I'll check those out!
  • 1 0
 I bought nice Oakley frame online, then went to my local eye doctor who is an Oakley dealer and I got transition prescription lenses in them. Lasting for years now. It probably cost me 300 bucks total, but way worth it. Transitions are my work/play glasses. I went back with another frame and got black lenses in them for casual sunglasses. I highly recommend it.
  • 1 0
 Zenni optical?
  • 18 1
 I like how they straight piss people off.
  • 10 1
 The main page tag line says it all. Although i am a function first guy, so i may have to try these. Certainly, at least, you can pull the Pit Viper decals off the lenses...? God, please tell me you can.
  • 40 1
 Hell no. Chuck didn't sleep in a garage just to produce some cheap-looking glasses with stickered on decals. He lived in a garage to produce cheap-looking sunglasses with painted on decals.
  • 19 1
 @scott-townes: lol
Aren't they just UVEX safety glasses with funky paint jobs? Seriously my safety glasses at work are almost the same as those.
  • 5 0
 @gonecoastal: Yes. Exactly this. I have some safety glasses same and I have a set of these Pit Vipers. (clear lens version) overpriced safety glasses. thats all they are.
  • 2 0
 Function guy here too...but come on...i laugh just looking at it, and the picture with Mr Levy wearing them is an absolute classic.
  • 1 0
 @juanmenendez: I knew I wasn't THAT deep into the PBRs last night.
Also those super adjustable glasses always seem to be crooked on my face. One arm always seems to be angled different or the lengths are different. Blank Stare
I'm now a fan of the 3M Sportiva clear glasses until they get put down
  • 1 1
 @freerabbit: @mikelevy looks so bitter about wearing them, it's amazing.
  • 1 1
 @gonecoastal: Yup that's exactly right. They used to be all hand-painted which I think drastically changed after their go fund me or whatever page blew up.
  • 3 0
 @gonecoastal: I was just about to post the same comment. They're basically safety glasses. The pair I use to wear looked pretty similar and had the same adjustable arm lengths and angle set up.
  • 2 0
 @JW9-23: You don't get it. That's exactly what they are, haha.
  • 2 0
 Fine about the design, they can do whatever, but buying this will ensure a very limited timeframe before it just becomes idiotic to wear (maybe a year or two) and the stupid decals on the lenses are stupid.
  • 1 1
 @blackthorne: Orrr its just not your style.... ever think of that?
  • 2 0
 @gonecoastal: thats what I thought as soon as i saw the of the adjtments. Safety glasses for a huge markup. Thx.
  • 5 0
 unrelated, but if you push your helmet back with the strap that loose will it not just slide right off the back of your head? I watched someone crash forehead first and noticed their helmet basically moved right out of the way letting their skull do all the work. Then I noticed mine would totally do the same thing, and I can't find one that wouldn't.
  • 3 1
 That's what the adjustment in the helmet is for. Granted it won't help as much in the situation you described, but the only way the strap will stop that is if it tight enough to be choking you the whole ride.
  • 13 0
 Obviously we need helmets with those old football straps that cup your chin. It would look great with these glasses!
  • 1 0
 @lostlunchbox: You're on to something! Really though, I have to choke myself to keep the lid from sliding back. Even on one that is ratcheted down and super stable in every other direction.
  • 2 0
 @tttyyler: Glad to raise this, I always thought I am the only one taking notice. Tried dozens of helmets - Giro Feature and IXS Trail RS were the only ones, which hold position...
  • 2 0
 @Tamasz: Thanks, I will check those out. I have the giro in the picture and a bell super 2 and the super is a little bit better but not by much.
  • 1 0
 @tttyyler: Tried the Super 2, too - but the overall fit was so awful (hurt above the ears) that I didnt check the issue above.
  • 9 0
 Apparently hese glasses are really polarizing
  • 1 0
 I'll give you the satisfaction of a reply. Good try, kudos.
  • 2 0
 Eye see what you did there.
  • 5 0
 I have a set. I look like a goober. But dammit they fit better than any other sunglasses I have owned, I am supporting people who wanna have fun with it (I mean watch Chuck's part in GNAR?!), and they are durable.
  • 6 3
 I used to think glasses like this weren't too bad based on these kinds of articles. In terms of aesthetics that is. Then I saw a mountain biker the other day wearing some of those other ones -100%?- and I was struck by how seriously stupid he looked. Seriously.
  • 5 1
 f*ck ya! I had these before a pink bike review does that make me an OG? Seriously so ridiculous they are awesome. I didn't expect much performance out of them but these are some serious speed shades!
  • 3 1
 Not OG unless you know Chuck Mumford
  • 1 1
 @andnyleswillriot: well damn it. I am a fraud
  • 1 0
 @Grizzlycycles661: Not OG unless you bought them from him out of the back of his truck. Back in the day when they came in hand painted boxes. #2010
  • 1 0
 @downhillerinsf: not just paint. Splatter paint
  • 4 0
 I am in on these because they gave RiFF RAFF his own pro model.

pitvipersunglasses.com/products/the-peach-panther?variant=25174689992
  • 2 0
 You are definitely looking at the story from an obtuse angle
  • 7 2
 I'd rather be bitten by a pit viper than wear these things.
  • 1 0
 I got an unbranded pair of these with a cheap Poulan chainsaw. My favorite riding glasses were the cheap safety sun glasses my work would give us. They had the same adjustments as these which is probably why they get such good reviews. The problem with those is they were would scratch so if you breathed on them
  • 3 1
 In all honesty there's a lot of other gear bikers wear that make us look like douches. ie roadies with lycra, half shell riders with googles, DH riders with painstakingly color coordinated kit...
  • 1 0
 As for all the Harry Potters out there: I did not get along with contact lenses under the glasses so had to go for riding glasses. Now riding glasses are not used in an exactly "safe" environment, so scratches and crashes have to be calculated. That's why I wanted to stay as cheap as possible and sports glasses are insanely expensive.
Trick is to use sporty regular glasses and if you can an good online company instead of a local optician. With my regular riding glasses (Oakley Crosslink Sweep OX 8031 ) I stayed under 200€ and if I'd buy sunglasses I could go even cheaper. Basic stuff for 150. So not much more oncost compared to the fancy stuff without vision.
  • 3 0
 People look like douche pickles when the are pickling douches. Glasses have nothing to do with it. I would totally rock them with my neon lycra kit and fuck you.
  • 2 0
 I have a handful of free safety glasses with the same technology minus the polarized lenses and splatter paint. Would love to set the adjustable neck strap, maybe that's where the $89 price tag comes in?
  • 2 0
 I love that these guys are proving correct those of us who argue for wearing safety glasses on the trail instead of expensive glasses by selling expensive glasses that are essentially painted safety glasses.
  • 1 0
 Pit vipers are sick. They are really nice glasses. Super comfortable. But I've spent $400 on the official pit viper website and they have messed up my order. I can't even get a reply out of their sales team after a week and 3 emails.
  • 3 0
 "One spare eyeball" This made me seriously scratch my head.
Mike, Are you telling me that you have a primary eye? ;P
  • 8 1
 Everyone has a dominant eye.
  • 2 0
 Any of you guys know about Feeki? Dude raps, wears Pit Vipers, and rides DH (okay... he's working on the DH, but he has rap and rad glasses on lock-down).
  • 3 0
 if you use Feeki as a discount I believe you get 20% off
  • 1 0
 What are those?! Tbf they do look better on a face than they do on their own, maybe just kill of the yellow spotted appearance, make them pastel blue and half the mtb community would buy them!
  • 3 0
 "Possibly the most functional way to look at an a*shole. "

This is how I read it at first.
  • 2 0
 They also work well for that Wink
  • 5 3
 I can pull out a ton of my old clothes from the 80s you suckers can buy if you like.
  • 4 1
 Nobody wants to buy your diapers. At least i hope nobody wants to buy your diapers.
  • 5 2
 @lostlunchbox:

It depends
  • 4 1
 Go home Levy, you're drunk.
  • 1 0
 I think the people who designed the glasses were drunk
  • 1 0
 OMG the arms have to run OUTSIDE of your helmet straps, don't you know ANYTHING. These are way way way too ironic for even gravel parking lot use.
  • 3 1
 I want to do a full length review of my own urine, but this will definitely suffice.
  • 5 2
 These are badass. Gonna have to get em for when I enduro.
  • 2 0
 Straight from the Troy Lee Designs school of utterly awful colour-schemes to make you look a tit.
  • 3 0
 dammit halloween just ended
  • 1 0
 I've been buying the LBS generics with their logo printed on the temple. $10 each and I'm not scared my 2 year old will destroy them.
  • 2 4
 Oh come on. Oakley make hundreds of glasses, surely one pair would fit? For me it was a no brainer, a set of M Frames in my cricket bag, then Radar's in my golf bag. And finally a set of Racing Jackets with photochromatic lenses, so they're essentially clear 90% of the time, for riding in.
And that's just one brand. And without looking like Peter File.
  • 8 0
 Sure if you've got several hundred dollars to blow on some plastic.
  • 2 2
 @src248: Plastic bikes cost way more!
  • 2 0
 @src248: I rather wear great plastic than steel that will bend and glass that will shatter.
  • 3 0
 Seriously, you just said the solution is give Oakley about $1K.
  • 2 0
 @groghunter: The ones in my golf bag and cricket gear get used once a week and are over ten years old and still look new. People spend $$$ on carbon D3's and numerous other bike parts, but quibble about decent sunglasses? And that's assuming Oakley make decent sunglasses, I've never had an issue with them, they fit and protect my eyes (I wear contact lenses).
  • 3 1
 Macho man wants his sun glasses back. In 1988 too.
  • 1 0
 RIP Randy Savage.
  • 2 1
 I really want to hate these but I can't! I'd probably wear them. Can't argue with that price either for a polarized lens
  • 4 2
 Would rather ride with my eyes closed.
  • 3 1
 Kurva good point
  • 3 2
 Meanwhile in the MTB world......$90 gets you stupid as f*ck road bike shades and a box of out of date Slim Jims.
  • 3 0
 I don't think Slim Jims go bad.
  • 2 1
 Mike This must Be one of the funniest article I've seen in a while, you made my day
  • 1 0
 Yup. Good insomniac chuckle @mikelevey. Thanks!
  • 1 0
 I was shocked when I saw the thumbnail. I had no idea riff raff was designing mtb gear now...
  • 1 0
 functionality and the ability to straight piss off peeps for no good reason - I gotta get some
  • 1 0
 Im not rad enough on a bike to wear these, got to have flashy skills to pull off flashy style
  • 2 0
 Riff Raff called... he said keep the shades.
  • 1 0
 Hi, I want recommend not to use open frame glasses. I had a crash with those glasses and the lens hurt seriously My face.
  • 1 0
 Check out there promo videos.........you will not be unentertained....so many thing you can do while wearing theseSmile
  • 2 0
 I would never ride with a friend again if he showed up with these.
  • 2 0
 Clear, polycarbonate safety glasses pack of 12 for $11 on Amazon.

PSA.
  • 2 1
 Killer Loop remake but with new features.
  • 2 1
 @MattStaggs Kezza would love to see this.
  • 2 1
 Haven't even read the article yet, but LOL on the sub-head!
  • 3 1
 Those look hideous! No.
  • 3 2
 shut up and take my money!!!
  • 1 0
 I have some safety glasses that look exactly like this.
  • 1 0
 Pit Vipers are just safety glasses. Buddy buys them and splatter paints them, puts some stickers on them sells them to bros with some creative marketing. It's a great business idea.
  • 1 0
 You gotta be shittin' me...
  • 1 0
 The Q is would Lance ride wearing them...
  • 2 0
 The 80's called...
  • 1 0
 ROFLOL the 80's are back again
  • 1 0
 Kool Mo Dee approves these money makers! Pure Gold!
  • 1 0
 I didn't know Macho Man Randy Savage got into Enduro.
  • 1 1
 I never ride with glasses or goggless. Should I get a pair? Always seemed unnecessary to me
  • 1 1
 This are next level anyone who does agree is unamerican definitely not a patriot and probably a liberal.
  • 1 0
 F*ckin ghastly!!! I like them for that.
  • 1 0
 lame. fuck this hyper colored 80's style
  • 1 1
 these are northug glasses
  • 2 1
 I like
  • 1 1
 Cool! I'd easily wear them.
  • 1 1
 Nothing beats foaklys. Especially when you don't know they're foaklys.
  • 2 2
 Gascan with spare low light lenses. All you need.
  • 2 1
 the helmet though...
  • 1 0
 Silly name for glasses.
  • 2 1
 UUUUUUUGGGGGGLY!
  • 1 0
 what a bad joke
  • 1 4
 Rather have brodies
  • 1 4
 purge!!!!
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