Madison Code Breaker Sunglasses review

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If you want a three lens eyewear option, the value for money is clearly present on these Madison Code Breaker Sunglasses 3 Pack.

  • Brand: Madison
  • Product: Code Breaker Sunglasses 3 Pack
  • From: Freewheel
  • Price: £59.99
  • Tested by: Aran for 3 months
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_13043387

The first pair of riding glasses I ever bought were Madison’s budget Shield specs, dubbed by my mates and I as “Shred Specs”. These were brilliant. They set me back less than £20 and they very much did the job I wanted from them.

They did have a few shortcomings such as easily falling apart in your pocket and needing constant reassembling at the trailhead. However, for the price I paid for them it was never something that upset me too much. With these Codebreakers then, I have been really interested to see how a more expensive offering from Madison would perform.

The Code Breakers retail at around £30-50 for a single lens, or as the 3-lens pack here sitting around £60. So a touch more than the Shields but also nowhere near as eyewatering as some of the other options. Yet what you get with these glasses seems to compete well with the higher budget specs on the market. You get the glasses themselves with the Cat 1 amber lens already fitted, two spare lenses (a clear and a Cat 3 blue shaded lens) which are very easy to swap in and out. This all comes in a nice, albeit quite large, protective case.

As for functionality, for the most part I have been impressed with the specs. Little gaps between the lens and the frame mean they don’t steam up very easily once you get going, which means you’re not having to take them on and off all day between climbs and descents.

I will note on a sweaty day they will steam up if you’re sitting still, but it’s hard to find a pair of glasses that don’t suffer from this. To me, remaining clear and unsteamed is the main strength of glasses compared to goggles and I’m glad these Codebreakers on the most part do it well.

The amber lens is the best all purpose lens, even if this lens colour looks a bit retro like the classic yellow colour you saw decades ago. For me I have always avoided shaded lenses at all cost, hating that brief blindness you get when entering woods on a sunny day. This amber lens sits right at that sweet spot where visibility remains good in thick pine woods yet does offer some shade on open sunny tracks.

Whilst the provisions and overall quality of the glasses are excellent, the fit does partially let them down. The issue I found is of incomplete coverage. I tried this on a number of my mates just to reassure me that I don’t have some strange sized face, but the problem persisted. The glasses sit quite high on the face covering too much of the forehead and leaving a gap at the bottom of the specs.

I don’t know whether or not this is an intentional road-centric design from Madison as It does mean when your heads down and you’re looking forwards there’s plenty of lens to look through. I do also believe the extra gap does help them remain steam free.

However, the gap that results also lets in wind and occasionally stray spots of mud. Initially, I thought this was to do with nose piece size not letting them sit low enough, but to their credit the nosepiece on the Code Breakers is fairly flexible and can be stretched or squeezed to change the fit.

Whilst on my first ride I found that this gap wasn’t as much of an issue as initially expected, the more I ride with these glasses the more I find stray splats of mud getting through this gap. Other glasses get around this issue with a curve at the base of lens, however I have experienced this to sometimes distort your view of the ground. I think the flat lenses on these Code Breakers serve well at giving a clear view of the trail but they would benefit from either sitting slightly lower on the face or just having a bit more length at the bottom of the lens, eliminating this gap.

The glasses feel very simple and sleek, yet sit comfortably on the face regardless of this potential positioning issue. Even off the bike with the blue lenses these quickly became my sunglasses of choice for the last couple of race weekends. The glasses also feel durable and whilst I haven’t gone out of my way to test this, they have been dropped and sat on a couple of times at least with no bends or breakages to speak of.


I would say then that aside from the small issue concerning the gap at the bottom of the specs occasionally letting in wind and mud, the Madison Code Breakers are pretty brilliant, especially when they will only set you back £30-40 for the one lens option or £60 if you want the three lens option, compared to the £100+ options offered by other brands the value for money is clearly present.

Review Info

Brand: Madison
Product: Code Breaker Sunglasses 3 Pack
From: Freewheel
Price: £59.99
Tested: by Aran Francis for 3 months

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Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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