WITH SUMMER IN FULL SWING, WE GATHERED AS MANY PAIRS OF SUNNIES WE COULD GET OUR HANDS ON AND SPENT A GOOD COUPLE OF MONTHS TESTING ALL OF THEM.
FEAST YOUR PROTECTED EYES ON THESE NEW SPECS!
1 Oakley: Flight Jacket Prizm Trail | RRP (approx) R2550
Look and Feel: They look odd – like they are upside down. The big black “eyeliner” rims just look strange – until you put your lid on. Then funnily enough they don’t look to bad at all. They sit nicely on my face but there are no adjustment options. They sit firmly in place thanks to a soft compound rubber nose piece.
Lenses: The Prizm lenses when you look through them are orange. There is a blue tinge to the lenses if
you look at them front on. I couldn’t use these shades off the bike, the colour is too intense when driving or just walking around, BUT, and it’s a big but, on the bike they were awesome. My eyes were relaxed, no squinting ever(!), and in and out of shade wasn’t a problem at all. I miss a top rim, which seems to channel sweat away a little when against your brow. The full, big lenses (ski goggle style) are great and offer clear peripheral vision and no frame obstruction.
Airflow: There is a moving nose piece that you can open to let in more air, but its gimmicky and not easy to use on the fly. My litmus test on airflow is when I’m climbing, can I keep them on or is it too hot – for
most riding they were fine, I only took them off once (a long climb in really hot, still conditions).
Remarks: I preferred the old Jawbreaker look. The upside-down look of the Flight Jacket Prizm Trail just isn’t my style.
2 POC DO BLADE | RRP R3000
Look and feel: When they arrived at our office, I liked the bright red colour of the frame. The POC’s were a bit snug for my wide face but I could still use them. During a recent race I appreciated the larger field of vision I enjoyed thanks to the larger wrap around lens. I did enjoy the lightweight frame which was easily forgotten about when used.
Lenses: Zeiss optics are some of the worlds best lenses and the ones used on the Poc are no exception. With a mirror-like finish and thanks to being pre-treated with an anti-fog repellent these lenses performed
Airflow: A vent is situated at the top of each lens and it clearly deals with any fog during a climb or a wet race. An adjustable rubber nose piece aids further to make sure nothing steams up.
Remarks: Apart from the snug fit (for wide faces) the awesome lenses and no-fog frame came into its own during a particularly tough race in Stellenbosch.
3. D’ARCS VIVID BLUE REVO | RRP R850 – BEST VALUE
Look and feel: From a value for money vs design aspect these were my favourite sunnies in our line-up. Priced at just R850 they proved to be the biggest bargain here. They look unashamedly like a previous
generation Oakley but that is not a bad thing. The white and blue still looks modern in 2018 and the fit proved to be snug and could be felt on the top of my cheekbones.
Lenses: Pretty standard stuff here with no fancy lenses. They are 100% UV protected and the lenses have vents to offer better ventilation.
Airflow:Thanks to the aforementioned vents, the Darcs never fogged-up whilst using them. They do rest
tightly on my cheekbones.
Remarks: As far as value for money goes, I would actually buy two pairs of these and use one to race and
one to train with. Top quality sunnies for the price!
4 ADIDAS ZONYK AERO MIDCUT | RRP R2599
Look and feel: These might not be the most modern looking in our line-up but they do have a few awesome tricks up their sleeve. They fit snug in the front but there is more than enough space around your ears. The Zonyk’s has two party pieces which make them ultra-adjustable and comfortable. Each frame arm can adjust with three clicks to ensure you have the perfect fit. The best feature is the sweat strip on the inside of the frame.
Lenses: The lenses are Adidas’s LST Vario tuned. Light Stabilizing Technology helps contrasts appear more vivid and it effectively filters out drastic distracting changes from light to dark. The lens tint adapts to
different light conditions while it has a purple mirror coating.
Airflow: Thanks to an extended nose piece and the TRI-FIT temples (adjustable frame arms) I never noticed any fog-ups.
Remarks: After not being completely blown away by the design, the overall experience with these were great. The lenses are brilliant, and the sweat strip is a game change.
5 TITAN RACING VISION SUNGLASSES | RRP R279
Look and Feel: Surprisingly the most affordable and the newest of the bunch. These sleek all-black sunnies are from proudly South African cycling manufacturer Titan Racing. They sit very tight on the front of my face and they grip my nose quite well. The white lettering on the lens might have worked better if printed elsewhere.
Lenses: The lenses are 100% UVprotected and you do get three different pairs along with your purchase. It’s good to know you can use these at night too.
Airflow: Sitting very tightly on my face without any airflow holes in the lenses made these steam up quite a bit.
Remarks: For a first time offering these worked fine. The fact that you get three different lenses made the deal even sweeter.
6 RUDY PROJECT SINTRYX RRP R3990 – TOP ALL ROUNDER
Look and Feel: Retro, oh so retro. But damn they are stylish and look great. Not quite following the current fashion of large, one-piece shield-type shades we are seeing on the bikes, however they still look mighty fine. Superbly comfortable, with adjustable nose piece that sits easily and comfortably. A clever bridge clasp
allows for easy and sturdy lens change. They are light and with the excellent lenses you will find you forget you have them on at times.
Lenses: My favourite lenses of the test. They are photo-chromatic and work superbly. They are voracious: waiting to change instantly at the slightest hint of too much light. Your eyes are so relaxed, no squinting or taking the glasses off going from light to dark – or looking at your phone screen. Pretty much clear to dark – I have not experienced better and more responsive photo-chromatics to date.
Airflow: Fantastic. Small vents on the bridge, vents at the bottom of the lenses and crafty, stylish looking air flow vents in the frame above the eyes keep the lenses clear and cool on the climbs. Even the arms have been kept minimal with cut-outs that also allow air behind the shield.
Remarks: I just loved these shades. They are super cool looking and undoubtedly the best lenses along with the 100%. Undoubtedly my choice as they are practical on and off the bike – they are brilliant for driving – and despite the price tag you would only ever need one pair of sunnies – and these are them!
7 D’ARCS ECLIPSE PC PHOTOCHROMATIC 1-3 | RRP R900
Lenses: Considering the affordability of the entire D’arcs range, these had a premium feel when the photochromic lenses came into their own. They adjusted to changing light and I used them during a night ride without any issues.
Airflow: Without any additional vents on the lenses I remember them steaming up quite a bit during a Table Mountain ride recently.
Remarks: If you’re in the market for a wallet-friendly photochromic pair of sunglasses, these should be
on your list. I did enjoy their overall low weight.
8 CATLIKE D’LUX-CARBON BLACK BASIC PACK | RRP R1999
Look and Feel: The design looks very old school and the lenses look small compared to the rest of the options in our lineup. The frame looks great with its carbon fibre design. Along with the small lenses the Catlike fitted around my head snugly.
Lenses: These lenses did a great job even though they might be smaller than the rest, they do
cover my entire field of view.
Airflow: With the adjustable nose piece and the sunglasses not touching my cheeks or forehead, they performed well without airflow sections on the lenses.
Remarks: The positives I felt were the frame’s carbon fibre design and the fact that you do receive an extra pair of transparent lenses.
9 100% SPEEDCRAFT | RRP R2500 – ED’S CHOICE
Look and Feel: They look like skiing goggles, all that is missing is a rubber head strap. Without a doubt the biggest lenses in the line-up. Despite being big they are really light and sit firmly on your face with a rubber (non-adjustable but size-interchangeable) nose and arm grips holding them in place, and even without adjustment options for on the fly, they are extremely comfortable, and you quickly forget about them. The big lenses also ensure more protection from flying objects sneaking into your eyes.
Lenses: With the large, single, shield style lens there is full vision, including peripheral view, coverage. There is very little light sneaking in under the rim. The French made Dalloz Sunoptics lenses are awesome, they have a slight mirror finish and work brilliantly! These babies operated in most light conditions without any hassle. There is a clear lens for really low light riding also in the box – I never used them.
Airflow: The glasses don’t sit against your face, they are cleverly set slightly off your skin and so airflow is optimised. I never had to take them off and they never steamed up once. I did both cold morning runs and really hot weather and they performed superbly.
Remarks: I must admit that I was not taken by the ski goggle look, BUT – and it’s a big but – once they are on you quickly forget what they look like and revel in their efficacy. And to be really honest the look is growing on me – and they come in black!