It is often joked around the lavish MBT offices that sunglasses are as important to a mountain biker as they were to Tom Cruise's acting career throughout the eighties. Indeed, we may not be trying to set F-14s on the deck of an aircraft carrier while trying to mourn the loss of our buddy Goose, we are generally operating equipment at high speeds over formidable terrain.

We have the luxury of being choosy when it comes to what eye-wear we sport around here and when we heard of a new product from Dual Hybrid Eyewear, we had to check out a pair to determine what they bring to the proverbial table. After all, the sunglasses market is a crowded one but, as it turns out, the folks at Dual aren't content to simply slap their logo on a pair of shades and call it a day.

In fact their very name is indicative as to what makes their line of glasses unique: Rather than a single lens, they boast a non-prescription bifocal system in the form of a discrete magnification area molded into the bottom portion of the lenses that is essentially undetectable to the wearer until they look down.

The logic here is that many of us can benefit greatly from a little boost in magnification when trying to glance at say the screen of our cycling computer while we're riding, the readout on a watch, plot point on a GPS etc. The customer determines the degree of magnification power when purchasing from 1.5, 2.0 to 2.5. We opted for the weakest degree (1.5) in our testing and went with the Dual V8 frames in gray out of literally dozens of beautiful options. Here's what we discovered.

From afar and even up close, it's quite impossible for onlookers to identify the secondary lens area. And since Dual uses a very discreet logo on all of its frames as well, there are virtually no "Hey everyone, look at me, I'm different" cues out on the trail. We definitely appreciate this. For the wearer, however, there is no mistaking the magnification section that Dual calls the OMZ; or Optimized Magnification Zone. The easiest way to describe it would be to grab someone's bifocal glasses if you don't happen to wear them yourself. Forward and peripheral vision are completely unobstructed (and in our case, filtered only through a perfectly smoked lens color). Look down and the effects of the magnification are immediate.

Now unlike a genuine prescription pair of bifocals, however, we should clarify that there is none of that dizzying/ feel 20-feet tall sensation that accompanies the Duals either- it is far more subdued and more focused. There is some slight adaptation to factor in initially, especially when you are just walking around in them but their true brilliance isn't discovered until you use them as they are intended. Namely in our case, testing revealed some surprisingly impressive results when glancing at bar-mounted cycling computer screens and handlebar controls (such as the gear selections on the shifter pods).

That 1.5x magnification was just enough to eliminate squinting caused by that fraction of a second where the eyes adjust from distant focus to close-up. It may not sound like much, but on technical trails and especially in a racing environment, fractions of a second might as well be eternities.

In regards to Dual's claims, the products really work exactly as described. Is this to say they are for everyone though? Not exactly. Unlike your average pair of Oakleys or Ryders, the magnification area could likely cause a bit of disorientation for some and even after days of successful trail-use, some of our testers never fully acclimated to it when walking around or wearing them off the bike. It seemed riders used to bifocals of their own had absolutely no trouble adapting. The biggest complaints seemed to stem from those of our testers who did not normally wear glasses. This is a product that you may wish to try before you buy but do keep in mind that the effects of the dual lens system are most intense when standing or walking around/ diminish greatly when used as recommended.

Also it's certainly worth noting that the charms of the dual lens system appear to work just as well when used for driving- that instant burst of magnification when glancing at the speedometer or radio controls in the car proved impressive to every one of our test riders who wore them while driving to meet up at the trailhead. We are always pleased to report on products that go above and beyond their intended scope of use.

In conclusion Dual Eyewear has come up with quite a unique and functional niche to make it stand out in the world of designer sunglasses. If the functionality isn't enough alone to get you to put them on your short list, the selection and style of their frames is truly second to none. We have hordes of expensive sunglasses littering our office from all of the major manufacturers but notice the $59.95 Dual V8s have been proving first on our test rider's sign-out sheets.

Dual V8 Specs:
- Fit: Medium/Large
- 8 base lens curvature for optimum wrap-around fit
- Non-slip rubber nose pads
- Impact, chemical, and UV damage resistant Grilamid TR-90 frames
- Shatterproof and scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses
- 100% UVA, UVB, UVC Protection
- Optimized Magnification Zone (OMZ) reduces distortion and fatigue
- Available in +1.5, +2.0, or +2.5 spot diopters
- Weight: 1.2 oz (30 grams)

- $59.95