Sunglasses From Adidas Eyewear and Rudy Project
By James Sharp and Jon Sharp
It's a well known fact that sunglasses that block all of UV-B light--and most of UV-A--are good for your eyes. They help reduce the incidence of cataracts and macular degeneration. As cyclists, we are also aware that quality eyewear helps to reduce eye injuries due to debris. This is true whether you are riding on road or off. Personally, I've also notice that sunglasses help reduce fatigue caused by squinting into the sun on long rides. Since we are heading into summer, it's time we took a look at a few--very few--of the myriad of performance eyewear on the market. We've been kicking around shades from Rudy Project and Adidas for a few months now, and these are quality eyewear. The three examples reviewed here--Adidas Evil Eye Pro, Rudy Project Rydon and Adidas Supernova all block all of UV-B and UV-A light. So what sets them apart? Read on.
Adidas Eyewear Evil Eye Pro
The Evil Eye Pro comes in two sizes, L (large) and S (small). We've been using the L-version.┬á The only difference between the two is the size of the lenses. The Evil Eye Pro comes with two lenses. Our clear frame sample came with their LST Trail Silver lens--silver mirror with a brownish tint--and their Orange lens--no mirror and not very dark at all. Both lens colors worked very well in a variety of conditions. I found the lenses very easy to change out. The frames also feature a sweat guard that I thought at first was a bit gimmicky, but turned out to be a welcome feature. The sweat guard is removable, and I do remove the guard when I use the glasses off the bike.
The frames are very adjustable. The arms adjust up and down and the nose piece adjusts in and out. This makes it childs play to get the fit dialed in to your face. The lenses are large, providing good peripheral vision, though not quite as good as a frameless design like the Supernova and Rydon. The lenses are also anti-fog and that, combined with vents in the frame, do a reasonable job of keeping the lenses clear. Again, the full frame design inhibits this a bit compared to the others, but if you are a fan of the style, these work as well as any full frame glasses I've used to keep fogging at bay.
The Evil Eye Pro does have more plastic that the other two glasses reviewed here and all that plastic does increase the weight a little. However, the glasses stayed put over rough terrain. I never felt that they were going to fall off, and they weren't distracting in any way.
Both lenses colors worked well. The darker lens--LST Trail Silver--isn't as dark as other glasses come with but is just about right for road riding, or off road riding in very sunny areas, like Moab. The Orange tint works very well on overcast days or when the trail takes you into the trees. The increased contrast is welcome when you are picking your way down singletrack at speed.
My biggest complaints with the Evil Eye Pro are directly related to the full frames. They are slightly heavier than the Rydon or Supernova glasses and they lack the perpheral view that the the other styles have. This is not unique to the Evil Eye Pro, but are a fact of life with any full frame eyewear. The clear frame, while very cool looking, does add a bit of glare if the sun is just right--e.g., behind your shoulder, low in the sky.
The Evil Eye Pro costs $170 and comes with a microfiber bag for the glasses, a microfiber bag for the spare lenses and a hard plastic case. The lenses have held up nicely to use and are still scratch free.
Rudy Project Rydon
I first saw the Rydon glasses at the Interbike trade show. They were using the glasses to show off their newest ImpactX photochromic lens--Photochromic Clear. After trying them out, I knew I had to see how well they worked on my trails and roads. Rudy obliged and sent not just the trick Photochromic Clear lenses but also the polarized Photochromic Red lenses. The Photochromic Clear lenses adjust depending on the light conditions. They go from clear--or very nearly--to dark. These have the largest range of tint of any photochromic glasses that I have used, period. The Polarized Photochromic Red is a little darker than the Photochromic Red we sampled on the Kalyos and, obviously, polarized. The lenses were easy to swap.
Two different photochromic tints that are easily and quickly exchanged just might be the best of both worlds. On the one hand, you've got lenses that adjust to the lighting conditions in general and on the other hand you can change tint color for specific riding--say, road vs mountain or shaded vs very sunny--so you can better fine tune how much light gets through, or how much contrast you might want.
The Impact X lenses are polyurethane, not polycarbonate, and are very damage resistant. The are flexible, so you can't break them by sitting on them. They also have scratch resistant coatings. I've never had any problems with scratching with any of Rudy Projects lenses, and I expect these to be as durable as their other lenses.
The Rydon glasses are very light, fit well, are adjustable--via slightly bending the frames and nose pieces like prescription eyewear--and provide good coverage. They never slipped or drew attention to themselves while I was riding. Frankly, there is very little to find fault with. The Rydon comes with a microfiber bag and hard plastic case, but I'm not terribly impressed with the case. It works but isn't as nice as I'd like to have seen, it's rather bulky. Mostly, though, I just use the microfiber bag.
Rudy Project's Rydon retails for $205 with one photochromic Impact X lens. Additional lenses cost extra.
Adidas Eyewear Supernova
The first time I picked up the Supernovas, I had been riding most of the day with sunglasses that had been squeezing my brains for hours. Therefore, the chief thing I noticed was the thin, flexible, rubbery temples. They grip fantastically without putting any unneeded pressure on your head. The next thing I noticed--but not at first--was just how light they are. These are sunglasses I can wear all day long.
The Supernovas use a single-lens, frameless style. The beauty of this style of sunglasses is the excellent peripheral vision it affords. The tint on my sample is a light brown color that is fairly neutral. I found them great in moderate to bright conditions. One thing that isn't readily apparent is the incredible adjustability of the glasses--all the same adjustments the Evil Eye Pros have. That is, the temples adjust up and down (three increments) and the nose piece adjust in and out (for wider or narrower noses). This, coupled with the light-weight of the glasses over all, made for a very comfortable package.
Overall, I loved the Supernovas and reach for them time and time again. They come with a microfiber cleaning bag and a hard case for protection. MSRP is $130.
James Sharp is a contributing editor for GearReview.com; more of his ramblings and a look at upcoming reviews can be found at his blog -- Lactic Acid Threshold. Jon Sharp is also a contributing editor and never has been quite the same after wearing sunglasses that pinched his brain.
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