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Hard working eyewear

30 January, 2012

As a mountain bike skills instructor, prolific sweater and sunshine-state resident, Rowan Lamont, was born to test sunnies for bike riders.

Riders ask a lot from sunglasses. We expect them to prevent us squinting in bright light, stop bugs and dirt flying into our eyes, not scratch when we drop them, or break when we sit on them. All that as well as looking great when we wear them! So, which ones are up to the job?

The six glasses on trial here use high-clarity polycarbonate lenses and touch polymer frames. All have straight arms that squeeze against the temple rather than bent arms like traditional glasses. These provide a secure fit and are easy to slide around helmet straps.

There is more than meets the eye when you put on a pair of sunnies. Check they comply with AS/NZ 1067, the Australian standard that ensures the glasses will filter Ultra Violet light. This is important as UV light can damage our eyes. Grade 4 provides the highest level of protection.

We all have different facial topography – funny-shaped faces – so it is worth checking to see whether there is clearance between your cheek bones and the bottom of the glasses, particularly when you smile. How low do the glasses sit on the bridge of your nose? And do the top of the glasses interfere with your vision or rub against your eyebrows, particularly in a tuck position on a bicycle? The Adidas glasses, for instance, are available in two sizes and offer adjustability, including angle of lens to face, for a very customised fit.

Mirrored lenses help to deflect light away from the lenses and reduce glare, while polarised lenses reduce dazzle from reflective surfaces, such as cars windows and water. Some have interchangeable lenses and I found that brown lenses reduce glare brightness and maintain contrast; yellow and orange are excellent in poor light conditions, improving contrast and helping to define objects; and the grey lenses in the Oakley glasses were great at reducing the intensity of bright light but tend to wash out colour.

Good ventilation and air flow is vital for sports glasses – trapped hot, moist air from your sweat and breath will quickly fog us lenses. Fortunately, none of these glasses caused eddy-currents that can tickle the eyeball, a very peculiar and off-putting sensation when travelling fast! Evil Eye was a stand out for not fogging even with the additional sweat blocker that reduced ventilation across the brow. Glasses with full frames sitting close to the cheeks, Serfas Mirador and Oakley Jawbones, had to be taken off at traffic lights or on slow climbs because of heavy fogging.

Adidas Evil Eye

$349.95

  • Excellent grip and stability when wet or sweaty
  • Sweat blocker wasn’t a gimmick, it really helped keep sweat out of eyes
  • Anti-fog feature worked very well
  • Interchangeable orange and mirror brown lenses
  • Quick release hinge allows arms to pop off before they break

93%

High performance glasses – at a high price – with excellent features and lens clarity. Ideal for high performance racers and long distance riders.

For stockists call 02 9970 1800

Oakley Fast Jacket

$299

  • Premium appearance, gloss black frames with mirrored lenses
  • Low profile wrap-around lens offered good field of vision
  • Spare orange lenses were excellent in overcast or evening light conditions
  • Secure interchangeable lens system
  • Some internal glare when light slipped in from behind the lens and reflected off the gloss frame

81%

A premium set of glasses with good performance.

Locate dealers

Serfas Mirador

$90

  • Very good protection from bright light and dirt
  • Five sets of lenses offered excellent versatility for all riding conditions
  • Wide arms and full frame inhibited some peripheral vision
  • Fogged very easily
  • Great looking sun glasses at a low cost

79%

A simple pair of glasses with multiple lenses providing excellent versatility. Ideal for commuter or racer alike.

Locate dealers

Oakley Jawbone

$329

  • Excellent stability even in wet or sweaty conditions
  • Secure interchangeable lens system
  • Full frame reduced peripheral vision
  • Dark lenses dulled colours
  • Fogged very easily

70%

Day glow yellow is back! Oakley lead the way in fashion but are let down in performance.

Locate dealers

Euro Spoke

$59.99

  • Slim profile meant fogging did not occur
  • Good colour clarity
  • Very good peripheral vision, but top frame encroached into vision when looking up
  • Grade 3 smoke lenses could be uncomfortable in very bright sunshine
  • Some slipping particularly when wet or sweaty

61%

A basic set of sunnies that provided good performance at a low cost.

For stockists call 1800 331 023

Euro Legend

$149.99

  • Polarised lenses help to reduce glare over standard lens
  • Ample ventilation prevented lens from fogging
  • Top frame could encroach into vision when looking up
  • Option available with prescription lens insert behind dark lens (for an extra cost)
  • A slim rubber arm and soft temple grip allows some slipping to occur

60%

A basic set of sunnies with a polarised lenses help reduce some glare but do not add $100 extra value.

For stockists call 1800 331 023

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Emjay permalink
    31 January, 2012 8:31 am

    I’ve tried some expensive brands but in the end I always go back to Fluid’s Swift Cycling Glasses at only $20, I don’t care if I sit on them. Rubber straight arms and nose piece means no slips, slim profile so no fogging issues, Lens included, Smoke, Yellow and Clear.
    Comfortable and look sharp.

    • Marz permalink
      8 February, 2012 5:30 pm

      Where do you get them for $20? I checked online and they’re almost $50 at Ananconda.

    • higgott permalink
      8 February, 2012 6:00 pm

      Thanks will take a look

    • Matt B. permalink
      8 February, 2012 6:47 pm

      Hey Emjay – where do you get the Fluid glasses from? Oer the net or in a store? If store bought is it nearby Glen Iris or the CBD in Melbourne?
      Matt

      • Dom permalink
        9 February, 2012 2:47 pm

        To get them at $20 you need to keep watch on the bargains each month. Become a member. Whenever i receive the junkmail I check which glasses are on special. Quite often Transition but sometimes Swift.

  2. Jflooz permalink
    8 February, 2012 5:28 pm

    I can’t be the only cyclist who needs prescription lenses and still wants a sexy pair of sunnies……..how about some more reviews of glasses suitable for Rx lenses

    • 10 February, 2012 11:00 am

      Good point. We did them a few years back but it’s time for an update.

    • 13 February, 2012 10:23 am

      The Oakley Fast Jacket’s will take a prescription lens (optional, of course)

  3. Steve Bennett permalink
    8 February, 2012 5:40 pm

    ROFL. $350 for a pair of cycling sunnies? You must be kidding! And $60 is low cost? You can buy decent polarised glasses from many chemists for $25 or less, and torpedo7 often has cycling-specific ones for less.

  4. Ross permalink
    8 February, 2012 5:45 pm

    Did you consider evaluating at photochromatic glasses from Ocean eyewear and Spiuk so you don’t crash on unseen things in low light riding conditions. You can get them for about $110 online. Not tried Fluid might have a look

  5. Ohoshi permalink
    8 February, 2012 5:48 pm

    Until recently I haven’t used sunnies as I didn’t have precription ones. I always used my normal glasses. Now many sport brands offer curved precription sunglasses.
    I went for some Oakley Fast Jackets with polarised lenses. The health insurance paid a big sum and I ended up paying around $250. It makes a huge difference to my riding, as I don’t have red eyes anymore after a long ride.

  6. DrutherB permalink
    8 February, 2012 6:19 pm

    RudyProjectPhotochromatics should have been included for design, comfort, and priced at or less than Oakley …I swear by them …I’d call them the Apple of the sunglass pack

  7. Matt B. permalink
    8 February, 2012 6:46 pm

    Hey Emjay – where do you get the Fluid glasses from? Oer the net or in a store? If store bought is it nearby Glen Iris or the CBD in Melbourne?
    Matt

  8. FrankK permalink
    8 February, 2012 8:19 pm

    I bought a pair of Evil Eyes (full rim A127) about 5 years ago – and they are still going strong. Superb glasses and highly recommended.

    Evil eyes can be got –
    Australia. Half rims (A167) about $235. Full rim (A127) about $180
    USA (plus shippng). Half rims (A167) about $160-$195. Full rim (A127) about $140

  9. Mark permalink
    9 February, 2012 8:52 am

    $9 for a pair of safety glasses from any hardware store. You’d have to be a fool to pay hundreds of dollars. Seriously, if you’re paying that much, then take your sunnies off, walk over to a mirror and have a good hard look at yourself. Donate the extra cash to charity.

    • Russell permalink
      14 February, 2012 2:03 pm

      yep..& they’re even often a “name” brand too..Bolle for example..
      but I prefer polarised glasses..I use “Black Ice”..$20 from local chemist..

  10. Chris permalink
    9 February, 2012 8:57 am

    I use ones with built-in MP3. Very cheap (less than $20) from China. Good sunglasses too!

  11. Ken Barnes permalink
    9 February, 2012 9:47 am

    How about a review of Salice?

  12. jessicac74 permalink
    9 February, 2012 10:26 am

    I have Fluid or Lenz cycling glassess sold at Anaconda – they come with shaded black, yellow and clear lenses. very breathable and great to throw in your panniers. They were only $10 each when on special or $25 full price.

    Just be careful because Anaconda also sell higher priced $49 ones too – not worth it.
    Look out for the $10 at Anaconda (you can sign up online for the special brochure). They are on special every 6 months or so. Otherwise try cheap cycling shops like Le Knicks in Black rock have Euro Shift and Euro Storm for $20.

    Sometimes Aldi have the same Anaconda ones (just re-branded).

    Make sure you buy glasses in Aus so they comply with the UV standard.

  13. Arfy permalink
    9 February, 2012 8:54 pm

    I use Jet Black – bought for $20 at GoldCross Cycles – they’re lightweight, have 3 lenses (although I mostly stick with the reflective lens), and importantly they sit well so that the top rim doesn’t interfere with my vision when I’m down in the drops. They do fog up at traffic lights in the middle of winter, but that’s easily solved by moving them down my nose a bit so they defog before the lights change again. As soon as I’ve set off again I simply give them a little nudge back into place. Oh, and they look the part!

  14. Kieran Griffiths permalink
    11 February, 2012 10:53 pm

    Spotters, Australian made.

  15. maja permalink
    12 February, 2012 12:18 pm

    You’d think that the cheaper one’s would be inferior to the more expensive sunnies in various areas from design to materials.. But then again, aren’t they all now being made in the Republic of Super-manic-manufacturing China, and hence all be of similar quality?? Btw, has anyone bothered to check whether the materials used might be in any way toxic??

  16. annie villeseche permalink
    12 February, 2012 10:10 pm

    I am almost offended that you should be giving free publicity for glasses costing almost $400. I actually feel more than offended, i feel excluded. I can only conclude that Ride On writers see cycling through the ‘new golf’ lens.

  17. 13 February, 2012 10:25 am

    I’m just wondering what the difference is between the Oakley Fast Jacket and Fast Jacket XL glasses? I can’t seem to find an explanation on Oakley’s web site, or anywhere else for that matter…

    • Ohoshi permalink
      13 February, 2012 10:38 am

      XL has a slightly different shape of the lens!

  18. Ross O'Meara permalink
    14 February, 2012 5:27 pm

    Whats wrong with the Cancer Council sunnies, cheap strong and polorised lenes, perfect!!

  19. marco permalink
    17 February, 2012 5:03 pm

    have a look at the julbo cameleon, these oneas are the best!, with the others there is always or dust in your eyes
    these ones are protecting you ,and looks cool!!!, im very happy with these ones

    http://www.julbo-eyewear.com/en/Products_direct_access/Sunglasses/Outdoor_(Snow_Ice)_7/Explorer_16.html

  20. Pete permalink
    4 June, 2014 9:55 pm

    Stick with Bolle’ various Price range, various conditions, Very good quality…

    The ones I use are $13.55 at my local retailer..

    Prism Smoke lense

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