Friday 6 May 2011

Cycling Glasses for All Seasons?

I wear glasses when I cycle. I don't need them for vision, but from experience they are a vital piece of equipment that keeps road dirt and rain out of my eyes...oh and the occasional suicidal bee!

Then there is the sun. Yes, we do occasionally see that in Glasgow. It is best to keep that, rarely seen glowing orb, shaded a little if you want to see what is going on around you.

So when I had a triple lens sunglass failure back in the summer of 2010 I decided I needed a decent pair of specs. I was looking for a pair of glassed that would work through both the summer and winter months. Ideally I was looking for glasses that you didn't need to swap lenses mid ride when the sun decided to put in an appearance.

I wanted cycling glasses for four seasons. Was that possible?!

I thought that I might have stumbled upon the answer last summer. So in July last year I bought some Rudy Project Glasses. The Rydon ImpactX Clear Photochromatic lens variety.
How the Glasses look during the unusual Glowing Orb events

Let me explain the name. Rydon, suggested they were for cycling. ImpactX suggested that these glasses were virtually unbreakable (allegedly), with good optics and scratch resistance. Clear Photochromatic suggested that the lenses reacted to the light conditions allowing them to be used in the dark (clear 78% light transmission) and in the sun when they have 'reacted' (dark 18% light transmission).

This all sounded good to me. To last they had to be tough, and to be used al year around they had to be able to cope with all light conditions, so I went ahead and bought a pair. Of course they aren't cheap, about £130 here at Wiggle. A lot perhaps when you can get swapable lens glasses for a fifth of that price... but I've never got on with swappable lenses.

Initially I was impressed. They were very comfortable on, and very adjustable. As they were nice and light, I'd often forget I had the on. But how have they faired since I bough them 10 months ago?

Are the truly four seasons glasses?

As I use them for commuting, they do take some abuse. I know in the past that glasses I have owned have been very scratched after a relatively short space of time. I am therefore pleasantly surprised that they are still in great condition. Not perfect of course. There are a couple of slight scratches on the glasses, but nothing that is noticeable when riding. Some of colour from around the Rudy Project name has pealed off on the arms, but it really isn't noticeable. So ImpactX works a treat.

Very Few Rudy Scratches

The real test though was in the light transmission department. In the winter there are sections on my commute that are pitch black in the winter, and as I've mentioned earlier they had to be able to cope with the occasional ray of sun. Again, though, I was very pleasantly surprised. In the dark, I was able too see, just as well as if I had dedicated clear lenses on. In the summer they quickly darken to work very respectably when the sun shines. Perhaps they could go slightly darker, but to be fair, that is a minor quibble, and I don't ever remember having to screw my eyes up. 

Going from dark to light, the lenses react very quickly, definitely within a matter of seconds. From light to dark the reaction is more sluggish. Minutes rather than seconds. However, I've  never had a problem with this, even though my commute takes me through a tunnel (The Clyde Tunnel). So they certainly can cope with the seasons changing light conditions.

So, I've found the Holy Grail in sunglasses then? 

Not quite. Unfortunately they suffer from one irritation. Fogging.

Of course, all glasses suffer from fogging, but I've found that the fogging issue is worse for these glasses than others I have had in the past. Whilst the glasses are great at keeping the wind and dirt out of your eyes, they haven't quite got the ventilation right, which is a real shame. Otherwise I would have no hesitation in heartily recommending these glasses.

So the Holy Grail is glasses similar to these, with better ventilation. Do they exist yet? I can't be sure. Perhaps they have solved the misting problem with the Magster glasses which have extra perforations at the front of the frame. They are a bit more expensive, however, if they do indeed solving the fogging issue (and I had the cash) I would definitely by a pair of these.
Are these the Holy Grail of Four Season Cycling Glasses?

So if you are willing to gamble, these glasses (£148 in Wiggle) might be Glasses for All Seasons.

If anyone has these glasses let me know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. For the last two years I've been wearing Bolle Contour Smoke safety glasses for cycling. Under a tenner, designed with safety in mind and work well in either the dark or sunshine and all conditions inbetween.

    Well worth a punt, imho.