POC is not a company to blindly follow the herd. The Trabec helmet, for example, looked frankly odd upon its release – with its increased rear coverage, and the IKEA-like design. But as companies have cottoned on to the design cues, POC’s intially outre designs have become a lot more mainstream. This says much more about the company’s prescience than any shift into sheep-like acceptance, though.
POC goggles have long been a quality mainstay in the Enduro and DH sectors, but their DO Blade glasses were typically seen on roadies rather than more knobbly-tyred members of our order. In fact, I reviewed them a year or so ago as part of a sunglasses grouptest. I quite liked them, although they seemed to be better on the road; the tint didn’t help trail riding much.
So enter the Craves. Whilst sounding like a breakfast cereal, they’re top shelf MTB specific glasses, with a variety of neat features. Firstly, they’re a little smaller than the DO Blades. They’re still pretty substantial, but they sit more comfortably on more faces. The curvature of the lens is less, which lends them a slightly more casual look – although they’re still not exactly subtle: if I wear them with civvies I feel as if I resemble a Bollywood James Bond villain (one of the henchmen who takes a long time to kill near the end).
We first came across the Craves back at Eurobike 2015. They’re designed to sit flush with the bottom of POC helmets when riding, and they do – in fact they’re pretty comfy with most helmets. The bottom of the frame sits flush with the lens too, which also serves to enhance their distinctive look. And the arms are detachable in the event of a crash. The one piece lens looks good, but I do try remember not to push the glasses up by the bridge of the nose with muddly gloves on.
There will be several hues of lens available when the Craves become available in March, and they’re interchangeable – you can remove the arms and their lens attachments individually. Our test pair came with a subtle blue Carl Zeiss lens, but we’ve yet to try the other shades. Unlike many other brands, who run with varieties of orange for increased contrast, POC’s blue is apparently designed to differentiate between shades of green more readily. And in fairness, it’s pretty good at this. It lends everything a slightly sombre hue until you acclimatise to it (unlike the manic enthusiasm that orange lenses seems to bestow) but the lenses let in a good amount of light and so they work pretty well in overcast conditions. The optics, as you’d expect, are excellent – there’s no distortion when looking around the glasses, and the frame bottom is low down enough that it’s barely noticeable. Once they’re on, you pretty much forget they’re there.
Overall: A fine pair of distinctive, well thought-out glasses from the Swedish innovators. If you can handle the looks, you’ll not be disappointed. But this sort of quality doesn’t come cheap.
Available March from 2Pure
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|Tested:||by Barney for 3 months|