In the dizzying world of performance eyewear (‘sunglasses‘ is so nineties, darling!), it’s easy to be blinded by choice. Precise alignment of the axis of polarization, infusion moulding, ability to withstand a shotgun blast (shame your face round about it isn’t so bulletproof!), progressive lens optimisation, unknowium technology – the buzzwords are baffling. Such technology comes at a high price but do you really need to break the bank or are the differences such that you won’t actually notice them in the real world? With this in mind, I put aside my trusty Oakley M Frames and set out to test two pairs of budget riding glasses, both from Lomo.
Cruiser Floating Sunglasses
Combining polarised lenses with a full frame wrap around style, the Cruisers immediately struck me with their interesting styling. There is no two ways about it, they look good and could easily double as a pair of off the bike sunglasses. Constructed from a mixture of grey and orange plastic, they feature a soft nose bridge and pre curved wrap around legs which helps to keep them firmly in place on bumpy trails. The legs are thicker at the front and gradually taper to the back. Underlying their boating origins, they feature two holes at the tip to take a cord, if required. It’s not a feature I felt the need to use but it is a useful one if you combine biking with water based activities.
On my face and under a helmet, they sat comfortably and securely in place. They sat close to my cheeks but this didn’t appear to result in too much misting up when stopped on the trail. The lenses themselves are excellent. I rarely use polarised lenses but was generally impressed at their ability to reduce glare, particularly on those bright but wet winter days when road glare can be an issue. There was no visible distortion when looking through the lenses at any point meaning that I would be hard pushed to differentiate them from a more expensive pair of glasses in a blind test. Hang on, what I meant was, oh forget it, you know what I mean!
In terms of peripheral vision, as with all glasses of this style which I have tried, I did notice some frame intrusion when looking sideways. Practically, this meant I had to turn my head more in traffic. Only by switching to a frame free, wrap around design can this be avoided. Off road, this was never an issue.
Irrespective of price, the LOMO Cruiser Sunglasses are a well-fitting, stylish and practical set of riding glasses for when the sun comes out to play. They acquit themselves well compared with glasses that cost several times as much. At only £15 (yes, you did read that correctly), they represent truly remarkable value for money.
Lomo Elite Cycling Sunglasses – 3 lens
Also from LOMO come the Elite Cycling Sunglasses which feature three pairs of interchangeable lenses. These are of a more traditional cycling design in that the two piece lenses click into the frame of the glasses with no frame around the bottom and side edges of the lenses. As with the Cruiser’s, they are of a wraparound design with rubbery nose and ear grippers built in which help them to sit comfortably and securely on the face. The lenses themselves are a snap to fit and remove from the frame. Supplied with clear, orange and polarised lenses, the Elites have all the bases covered from night riding through to dull days and glaring sunshine. I particularly liked the orange lens and found it was the one I used the most as it gave even the dullest and wettest of rides a cheerful hue. That they are rated to UV400 means that they block out 99% – 100% of UVA and UVB light meaning your eyes are in safe hands, if you will excuse the slightly mixed metaphor!
The lens quality is excellent, given the low price of the glasses, with no visible distortion apparent. In terms of coverage, the lenses aren’t the biggest I have used and I was aware that they sat a little further off my cheeks than my go to Oakley M Frames meaning that a little more wind got into my eyes but not enough to be distracting. However, the plus side of this is that they tended to steam up less than my Oakley’s as a result.
While they lack the style of the Cruiser’s, they offer a greater degree of versatility in all riding conditions. They may not be a big brand name but in terms of both value for money and performance on a budget, it’s hard to see past them! At £15, they are a bargain.
Do they float?
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