There’s nothing worse than foggy sunglasses. Vented lens, anti-fog coating, whatever. If you are like me and happen to sweat a ton on rides then you know how I feel. Terrible. Annoying. And perhaps even a few other choice words.
Oakley’s newest additions, the Flight Jacket and the Field Jacket, have these interesting little levers on their nose pieces dubbed the Advancer. It’s a one-hand operable switch which allows users to pivot the sunglasses away from the face and open air vents at the rubberized nosepiece. Ram air, baby.
The Flight Jacket features an angular silhouette with a brow-less, solo lens design that’s been the rage as of late. In comparison, the Field Jacket has a more traditional twin-lens design compatible with prescription lens.
Both models will have Oakley’s trademark slip-free Unobtainium nosepads and earsocks, as well as a variety of lens choices including the activity-optimized Prizm lenses, polarized, and photochromic.
The Flight Jacket is available now from $203-$253 depending on choice of lens and the Field Jacket with photochromic lens retails for $243, with full pricing to be announced.
Offered in nine different color palettes and more coming this summer, Tifosi Optics’ new snazzy Swank spectacles not only looks cool, but is loaded with plenty of tech such as a durable Grilamid TR-90 nylon frame with integrated camlock hinges, slip-free hydrophilic rubber nose pads that stays grippy, and Glide technology on temples that prevents hair pulls.
The shatterproof, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses offer 100% protection against UV, with Tifosi’s own glare guard coating to reduce eye strain. Oh, and at $39.95, it doesn’t hurt your wallet too bad either if you happen to be like me who loses shades way too often.
My Adidas and me
we get around together,
and we won’t be mad
when worn in bad weather
The new Adidas Zonyk Pro sunglasses tick off all my boxes for a great pair of bicycle sunglasses.
The Zonyk Pros have an impressive field of view, crispy optics and an improved lens swapping/switching system over previous offerings from Adidas.
Throw in a cozy, yet secure fit, a sweat guard, which may be more wishful thinking than utilitarian, and some big bold styling and these are totally worthy of the classic RUN DMC rap.
The Zonyk comes in two sizes to help customize your fit and are advertised to be made from Earth friendly material. We chose the bold Solar Red pair to add a touch of shabang to our kit.
If red’s not your thing, however, Adidas also makes the Zonyk in eight different frame/lens color combos such as this understated Coal with blacked out logos.
Speaking of lenses, Adidas threw the book at giving just about any option imaginable: Polarized, mirror, LST (Light Stabilizing Technology to increase contrast and limit flutter) and VARiO, Adidas’ take on photochromatic lenses. A clip-in insert for prescription lens is also available.
If you’re not into cycling, there’s a lot to mock in a roadie’s wardobe. But more than the lycra, more than the helmet, more than the weird shoes that are impossible to walk in, the single most derided item in a cyclist’s outfit must be the glasses.
Nearly all of the non-riders I know will joke about the skin-tight clothing, but they get it, more or less. It’s about performance. And the helmet? It doesn’t look as cool as that old cap you have from a pro team long since past, but it provides a whole lot more protection in the event of a spill. So they get that too. It’s a safety thing. Even the shoes and cleats, once explained, make sense. But the sunglasses?
Upon arriving back from the Giro d’Italia, I happily added a pair of team-issue only pink Oakleys to my shades shelf. “What are those?” inquired my significant other. “New glasses,” I replied, while offering to show them off. I didn’t even need to get them all the way out of the case, never mind model them, to await her review. It was one word, and ruthless: “Gross.”
For the record, I still think those Oakleys are cool AF. But then, I would, wouldn’t I? I also think it’s OK to hang bicycles from living room walls and leave a stack of Rouleur back-issues in the bathroom. But it was interesting to note the reaction I got not long after, when I came in sporting a pair of new Rapha Classics. This time it was five words, and curious: “Let me try those on.”
An homage to Coppi
The model in question was the Coppi Classic II, a twist on the British brand’s Classic glasses that includes the same Carl Zeiss glass lenses – these ones are a deep green – and the same handmade acetate frames made by Italy’s Mazzuchelli 1849. Where they differ is in the details, with Coppi’s signature inlaid in chrome on one temple, and a pink tinge to the Havana brown acetate in the right light, which is more pronounced towards the ends of the temples and earpieces.
If you’re this deep into a post about cycling eyewear, you probably don’t need an introduction to Fausto Coppi, Italy’s most successful, and stylish, champion. The pink flourishes are an obvious nod to Italy’s grand tour, and the styling harks back to a time when cyclists could still look effortlessly cool. The glasses form part of a mini-range of items currently on offer from Rapha that all tip the hat in some way to the Campionissimo, and all come in pleasing, subdued tones with at least a hint of that timeless pastel pink.
So far this summer, they’ve been left on at the coffee stop – something I’d never do with sportier models – and taken away on weekend breaks when the closest I’ve gotten to a bike was checking some race results online. In other words, I’ve worn these glasses off the bike as much as on it, and I can’t think of a bigger compliment that I could pay.
With the solid Zeiss glass, there are lighter options you could go for, and at $295, cheaper choices, too. And if you’re really particular about cleaning lenses, the tiny etching of Coppi in the right-hand corner of the right lens might occasionally catch your eye and make you reach for a cloth. But these are all minor concerns compared to their biggest selling point: They really look great.
The build quality is second to none and the elegant, ageless styling means that they wouldn’t look out of place in a line-up of the sexiest shades from Persol or Ray-Ban. Which means you’ll get a lot of wear out of them, even when you’re not riding. And best of all? There won’t be a disgusted look, or a dismissive “Gross,” waiting for you when you get back home. That alone must be worth the purchase.
In the beginning, there were goggles. Military-style flying goggles made of glass and leather, designed to protect the riders’ eyes from dust … and judging from the photos of the era, the discarded cigarette butts of their rivals, too.
Then, came Fausto Coppi, when stylish offerings by Persol and Rayban gave the peloton some Hollywood sheen. This was surely cycling’s Peak Fashion: an age of slicked-back hair, slender steel bicycles and elegant wool jerseys in block colors.
The ’80s were still an innocent time, when Greg LeMond and his Oakley Eyeshades seemed modern and fun, before we knew what genuine sartorial sin really looked like. If only we could have stopped the clock then, before Mario Cipollini and Marco Pantani, with their garish Brikos. Before the dawn of Oakley’s “Over The Tops,” perhaps the most aptly named piece of kit in cycling history.
Alas, it was another disgraceful decade before the sport’s purveyors of ocular apparel got their collective shit together. Before a word like “cool” ever applied to your riding wardrobe.
Of course, fashion is transient, and we might well wretch when we look at all of our cycling selfies 10 years from now, but it’s hard not to look at a pair of POC DO Blades or Oakley Jawbreakers and think that they’ll still have a certain air of retro charm for the next generation.
They will be second place however, at least in this guy’s opinion, to Rapha’s Pro Team Flyweights, which manage to combine some retro charm with uber-modern styling and high-quality materials into one of the raciest, boldest eyewear options on the market.
The Carl Zeiss lens is made in Italy and coated with a protective treatment, making it scratch resistant and easy to clean. They usually look great, even after a long, grubby ride. And there’s a selection of five different styles, covering every conceivable weather condition.
For the racers, their svelte 25-gram weight will appeal. The way they sit, and their frameless lens design, makes it easy to forget you’re wearing them. They’re also super aero (if that’s your thing), and after a few months’ worth of testing in rain and shine, I can say they are excellent at staying clear, free of fog, and dispersing water. But all of that is secondary, because they look awesome, especially with the standard, bronze mirror lens. And isn’t that all we really care about anyway?
Not exactly cheap at $220, but that’s the ballpark cost of high-end shades these days. There is only one problem: The hard case comes with a space for two extra lenses. Damn the budget – those spots must be filled. And if you’ll excuse the pun, I already have my eyes on a couple.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. These shades have handmade Italian frames and Carl Zeiss lenses, wrapped up in a sexy Rapha package. They were never going to be cheap.
But then, that’s ok, because if we’re honest, nothing is cheap these days. Especially not the pretty stuff. And if you go for the pink lens version–the only choice, if you ask this guy–you’ll have a nice rose-tinted outlook on the world that should distract you from your empty wallet.
Designed with a classic aesthetic and available in three colours–brown, black and the left-field grey/pink–the Rapha Classic range is inspired by sunglasses of old, but updated enough to function perfectly in today’s peloton.
The Carl Zeiss lenses are deep and curved, offering good coverage, and are coated with some things with complicated names that prevent fogging and smudges and offer 100% UV protection. The acetate/wire frame is made by Mazzucchelli, a firm outside of Milan with more than 160 years experience in the plastics industry. The design is robust and comes with well-placed, discrete rubber grips to stop slippage.
Rapha’s little foray into eyewear are a well-made, understated option for anyone looking for some premium shades. They won’t be to everyone’s taste because they’re not quite sporty enough for the try-hard weekend warrior, and unlike a lot of the competition, they don’t come with interchangeable lenses.
In the pro column, the build-quality is second-to-none and the understated design is stylish enough to wear off the bike without drawing any disapproving glances. And for those of us who’ve always thought we looked like tools wearing aggressively outdoorsy sunglasses, they’re a must have.
For more than 30 years, technology has always sharpened my vision. Some kind of mechanical device has held a corrective lens in front of my eyes. I always know they are there. I can see the shadow of the rims in my periphery, or I can feel the contact lenses on my cornea. Rarely do I forget that something is resting on my face.
Riding bicycles now, even without prescription correction, I need to shield my contacts from the wind in my face, from gravel thrown by passing cars, and well, to look the part of a cyclist. Sometimes they pinch my ears or collect sweat droplets from my brow. They are always there. Ubiquitous. Glasses.
But every so often, a pair of glasses comes along that makes me forget all of that. Glasses so light that my nose is freed from the constant pressure on my bridge. Lenses so clear and sharp that I see the finer undulations in the trail, and better, stay away from the jagged granite teeth that can eat my tires. Ear pieces that grip without slip. Ventilation that keeps my brow dry but does not blow-dry my contact lenses.
Faces are like opinions. We all have them. Some ugly. Some fresh. Some weathered by years of experience, but rarely one-size-fits-all. Well, this slightly weathered face found a pair of riding glasses that made me forget that I was supposed to be writing a “review.”
How Daft. Perhaps that is why Spy Optic named them as such.