Tuesday, September 10, 2019

FreeMaster Prescription Cycling Glasses – An unbiased review

by Simon Elson, 12 June 2017

I’d never given prescription cycling glasses a thought before as I, until recently had worn contact lenses for nearly thirty years, I started wearing them in my early teens, honest! Okay it may have been VERY early twenties, but definitely no later than that.

Unfortunately after a painful eye infection I was advised to cut down my wear time from fourteen hours a day, seven days a week to no more than eight hours a day once or twice a week. I took the difficult decision to stop using contacts entirely; I couldn’t see the point of such short wear time.
After open wallet surgery for two pairs of vari-focals I then turned to the problem of cycling glasses. I have always ridden with cycling glasses, whether dark lenses, clear lenses or yellow night lenses. I hated dust and bugs in my eyes, especially when I used contact lenses. I tried cycling in my normal glasses and hated it, they were not suited to the purpose and the thought of an accident and my glasses flying through the air sent shivers down my spine.

With a reluctant ‘yes’ from my wife I started to look round for suitable cycling eye wear. I looked longingly at the big names, prescription insert (a small prescription frame attached behind plain interchangeable lenses) Oakleys and Rudy Projects were both pipe dreams and direct glazed (prescription lenses fitted into frame) budget tinted options seemed ugly and would be useless for winter commutes.

After trawling around the web I found the Base-Camp glasses by FreeMaster. These FreeMaster glasses have interchangeable lens and blank prescription inserts that you get glazed at your own opticians.

I read the few short reviews under the product description and decided at £16.99 they were worth a punt, so I popped them in my virtual basket. Amazon then wanted to charge me £4 on top for delivery. So I used the ‘add on item’ search to take the value over £20 free delivery threshold and found a Pyrex jug for £3.50… so I got the jug and the glasses for fifty pence less than just the glasses (plus postage charge), go figure! You’ve got to love Amazon.
FreeMaster Base-Camp glasses – what’s in the box?
On their arrival I checked the glasses over and I was very happy with the quality of them. The package consisted of the following:
  • Rigid zip case
  • Glasses frame
  • Six interchangeable lenses (Dark tint, Bronze tint, Yellow tint, blue tint, Mirrored tint, Polarised and clear.)
  • Two straps (one ‘normal’ string strap and a goggle type that replaces the arms)
  • Prescription insert.
  • Cloth case
  • Cleaning Cloth
All the lenses carry a U.V sticker indicating they exceeded the specification required for sale in the U.K. I assume as Amazon supply the product from their own warehouse then this information is accurate.

Getting glazed.
I took the the insert to a local optician Faye Newman at Personal-Eyez in Swadlincote. If you’re curious you can find her on either Facebook or Instagram.
Faye offered to fit the prescription lenses into the glasses for a very reasonable £35 . The service and product I received from them was fantastic. Turn around was less than a week and Faye clipped the inserts into the glasses to make sure of the fit, even though she hadn’t supplied the frame or the empty insert herself.

FreeMaster glasses – on the road.
I have been using the glasses for a week now and I am really happy with them. The mirrored and dark lenses come with top vents to stop fogging when you stop at lights etc. The other four lenses don’t, I can’t work out why this is the case.
The glasses sit securely on my head and comfortably around my nose. Whilst the edges of the insert can be seen out of the corner of my eye, they are in no way obtrusive. The wrap around style of the outer lens keep out bugs and dust as well as any ‘plain’ cycling glasses I’ve owned ever have. I am currently using the mirror tint outers as they hide the insert, it can look a bit like you are wearing goggles underneath if you use the other outers, no big issue for me, but just looks better if the prescription parts are obscured. I will still be happy with the overall look when I change to the clear or yellow lenses for winter commutes.
The case is a rigid one and can hold all the lenses and straps etc.

Overall I’m amazed with the quality of the product for a total price of around £50 (including locally sourced prescription lenses) and would recommend them. If you are on the search for a similar item, you could spend a lot more money and achieve nothing more than a ‘name’ on the frame arms.
And if you are wondering if I’m happy with the jug then….. err…… it’s a jug what more can I say about it.
Click here to find out more about FreeMaster cycling glasses…
Simon Elson purchased the above item and has received no financial gains or goods from Amazon or Base Camp for the review and was not asked to write it by them.

about the author

Simon Elson is a self confessed Mamil that got into cycling to hide his Lycra fetish. He is also the author of a bestselling Ebook on Type 2 diabetes and cycling called ‘Sugar Beat: How I controlled T2 Diabetes through cycling’

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