Ah, back from Prague. I was only home for 6 days in February. The rest of the time I was traveling: Rome, then Arizona, then Prague. The future looks bright, though–I don’t have any scheduled travel until mid-April, which means that I can get back to some serious riding. I am tragically out of shape; as I mentioned previously it takes weeks or months of work to get to the bleeding edge of fitness, but only a few weeks to lose peak form. I’ve planned a 90-mile ride with Doug H this weekend, hopefully he will take it easy on me! That said, this should be the last of the blog filler for a while, and I’ll have plenty of new routes and rides to report.
I have an agenda for this review.
I know I look like Bono when I’m wearing these, but they are superior to any other cycling-specific eyewear I’ve ever tried. I went through 3 rounds of buy-and-returns trying to find the perfect pair this time, and finally just gave in and bought these to try.
I purchased them at retail, and I have no connection to Assos or to any other cycling company. I would also note that I am no Assos fan boy. The new S5 chamois is just awful, and the fit of their jerseys is terrible, despite the fact that—at just under 6 feet and 145 lbs—I have a prototypical cyclist’s body.
That said, there are two things I love from Assos: Any shorts or tights with the old orange S2 pad, and the padless, hideously expensive Fugu bib tights. In fact, I like the S2 shorts so much that I’ve been snapping them up on E-Bay when they appear, even half shorts. Where I am going to wear yellow half shorts, I don’t know, but given the number of pairs I have to go through before I get to the yellow ones, it will be 2025 before I find out, and by then I’ll be well into the IDGAF stage of my life anyway.
It is not often that a product comes along that so clearly improves the riding experience. I honestly don’t care what people think about Assos: these designed these sunglasses from the ground up for cycling, and it shows: they are fundamentally better for this purpose than any other sunglasses, period.
1. They fit beautifully and do not cause the ear pain I often experience with glasses that hook behind the ears.
2. The lenses have zero distortion, regardless of viewing angle. All other sunglasses I have tried–even expensive ones–create at least some distortion, particularly at the margins.
3. The lenses fit perfectly over the eyes, providing a shield while allowing for airflow–not enough to dry your eyes, but enough to keep them from steaming up in cold weather.
4. The yellow tint makes everything clearer, including in the evening and at night. Almost makes me want to wear them all day, every day, except my girlfriend would leave me and I would have no friends.
5. The strap is useful as I ride rough roads that can dislodge my glasses (RIP Rudy Project!)
6. The lenses have a hydrophobic coating that sheds water rapidly. It may also just be that the shape encourages the water to run off the sides rapidly. I have worn them in multiple downpours now, as well as snow, and it is a significant change from the sunglasses I have tried.
7. The transition from tint to almost clear is abrupt. Not critical with the yellow tint, but I can see where it might be useful with the darker lenses when you are on a route with abrupt transitions from light to dark. A smart decision, and safer than photochromic lenses, which I think are inappropriate for cycling.
Now, I’ll admit I’m extra fussy about my cycling clothes, mostly because, in addition to 3 or 4 quick 20 to 30 miles rides each week, I usually take a 12-hour plus ride on the weekend. When you’re on a bike that long, everything matters. For example, on one 18-hour ride, rough seams and bad fit on a cheap pair of Pearl Izumi bibs conspired to create an open wound on the outside of my thigh. So little things, like ear pain from glasses hooking behind the ears, take on additional significance when you’re on a long ride.
These sunglasses are the best cycling purchase of 2012 for me, and probably the best cycling apparel purchase I’ve ever made. They are also available in a darker tint, and now in a clear version. The latter is unnecessary—the yellow is good enough even in the dark.
My agenda? I am trying to convince others to pony up for these sunglasses so I don’t look like an idiot. Here I am being handsome in my sunglasses on my winter ‘cross bike, what do you think?