100% S3 Glasses review: as much coverage as goggles (nearly)

by 6

These 100% S3 glasses looked like they might just give goggle-like coverage, but without the overheating issues goggles give if you want to wear eye protection for an entire ride.

I got these 100% S3 glasses in to test as I wanted something with a colourless lens option for muddy winter rides. I also wanted good coverage to keep the muck out of my eyes, since wearing contact lenses means even the tiniest speck of dust can cause major irritation. If I lose a lens on a ride, I’m left with screwed up depth perception and a distinctly dizzy feeling, so it’s a very undesirable outcome.

  • Brand: 100%
  • Product: S3
  • From: freewheel.co.uk
  • Price: £169.99
  • Tested: by Hannah for 1 year

My 100% S3 glasses came with a colourless lens and a HiPER Coral lens. The colourless lens doesn’t have the hydrophobic and oleophobic properties of the higher priced lenses – they’re just scratch resistant – but the optical clarity is still excellent, with no distortion or warping like you can get with cheap safety glasses.

There is a somewhat dizzying array of lens options, and little by way of information about what each colour is actually supposed to do – or if it’s just a fashion statement. It would be nice if the 100% website gave a simple explanation of all that, but hey, it doesn’t. The different lens options make a substantial difference to the price, so pick and choose carefully according to what you need.

In the absence of a helpful breakdown on the 100% site, UK Distributers Madison/Freewheel gave us this handy crib sheet of what features are available for each lens option:

Smoke/Coral/Persimmon Lens – £39.99
Hard Coating (Anti Scratch)
Mirror Lens – £49.99
Hydrophobic + Oleophobic
Mirror Coating
Hard Coating
UV Protection (UV400)
Mirror Lens – £49.99
Hydrophobic + Oleophobic
Mirror Coating
Hard Coating
UV Protection (UV400)
HiPER Lens – £59.99
Hydrophobic + Oleophobic
Mirror Coating
Hard Coating
UV Protection (UV400)
Enhances detail and definition
PeakPolar Lens – £59.99
Hydrophobic + Oleophobic
Mirror Coating
Hard Coating
UV Protection (UV400)
Reduce glare on phones and screens
Photochromic Lens – £69.99
Hydrophobic + Oleophobic
Mirror Coating
Hard Coating
UV Protection (UV400)
Light changing lenses

Whatever you choose, you get a substantial protective case that’s big enough to hold your glasses plus up to two spare lenses. It’s good to have the safe storage, but the case is a little too bulky for my liking – it takes up a lot of room in your luggage, and is certainly too big for out on the trail.

Swapping between lenses is quite easy once you’ve got your head around yanking on the plastic. It feels wrong to be pulling at your glasses, but that’s what you need to do. You pull the lens off the main frame, plus pull the lower frame piece off the lens. Then, push and clip your other lens back into place. It’s fiddly enough that you’ll want one bare and ungloved hand for sure, but there’s a pleasing lack of titchy small parts to lose. There is an alternative sized rubbery nose pad piece should you need it to get a good fit, and I’ve found that it stays well attached to the lower frame piece.

The frame is somewhere between a full and half frame, with a partial lower frame that wraps around the lower nose-side corners. They’re less in your face than the 100% Speedcrafts, which have a raised brow section along the top, but like the Speedcrafts they have vents along the bottom. Unlike the 100% S2 frames, the frame doesn’t wrap the whole way around the lenses, but it doesn’t leave the lens edge wholly exposed either. True half frame glasses give me the heebie-jeebies – I can’t shake the idea that they’re going to slice into my cheeks – so I like this design. It gives a good range of visibility without a distracting frame edge in the periphery of your vision, with the (possibly imaginary) slicing potential of a half frame.

Partial lower frame, with vents

The lower frame section doesn’t fully encase the lower inners of the frame – there are two vents there. The glasses don’t sit tight against my cheeks, so whether these vents are really doing anything, or whether there’s just plenty of ventilation in any event, I can’t really say. However, I have found these to be nicely resistant to steaming up, even when racing on a hot day in a full face helmet. Yes, glasses and a full face helmet… I just haven’t found a comfortable combination of goggles and helmet yet – I don’t like how the elastic of the goggles feels in conjunction with a helmet – something always seems to be pulling something, or jiggling around in an uncomfortable fashion. But these S3s have sat comfortably within a full face helmet while also providing almost as much coverage as goggles.

peaty
Image Credit: Daniel Wagstaff

I’ve found that the legs have played nicely with my helmets. There’s no adjustment in the legs, but the rubbery elements and shaping seem to keep the glasses in place without slipping or pulling on my hair. Although the glasses give loads of coverage, I’ve not had trouble fitting them with different helmets. I think this might be partly due to the way the lenses flare outwards slightly, giving broad coverage without having wide-set legs or frame.

I’ve used the clear lens the most, and it’s been a real boost to winter and night riding to have a truly colourless lens. To my eye, the pinky lens has a tendency to make the browns of our local moorland blend together, so I’m not sold on the colour. However, it does give eyes a welcome rest on those brighter but not sunny days, and isn’t so dark that you can’t see where you’re going when you go beneath the tree canopy. I reckon there’s something to the hydrophobic and oleophobic claims of the HiPer lens too – it definitely seems to shed muddy spatters better than the basic clear lens.

Overall

These are a useful addition to my autumn/winter/spring riding wardrobe. They’re comfortable and they fit with a range of helmets and riding conditions. They’re a bit obviously ‘cycling’ for my taste to wear to the beach or into town, but with the addition of a photochromic lens for bright summer duties they’d have all my ride needs covered. I just wish it was a bit easier to figure out which lens might suit me best. Maybe 100% can put a bit of work in to their website and make things as clear as the lenses are to look through.

Post-script:

Literally as I was finalising the words for this review, there was a knock at the door: a courier. They held in their hands a rather sad looking parcel that seemed to have been eaten in transit. We looked inside the ripped package: ‘Oh no, there’s nothing in there, it must have dropped out, it’ll have to go back’. But hang on… no! It’s there: a photochromic lens, invisible in its packaging until it just started to darken as I ripped the envelope wider and the sun came out. So, I can confirm that the photochromic lens does go completely colourless in the dark! The tech specs say it allows 89% visible light transmission at max, and 24% and minimum. Fingers crossed that’s my year round eyewear sorted!

More Reviews

Last Coal V4 review

Last Coal V4 vital stats: full 29, 180mm fork, 165mm rear, 63° head angle, 77.1° effective…

The Grinder: Aeroe rack, Repente saddle, Madison glasses, Shimano shoes, Sinter pads, Muc-Off tool, Hyperlocal

Tools and tech for your convenience and comfort. Because suffering is overrated.

The Grinder: Zefal Bike Taxi Tow Rope, Continental Argotal, Fox Dropframe helmet, Zipp 1ZERO HiTop Wheels

Is that creak me or the bike? Real-world product reviews from real-world riders.

The Grinder: Wolf Tooth pedals, DMR cranks, Ceramic Speed SLT bearings, USE bar, Madison bib-trouser, Leatt knee pads

The only lateral stiffness is in our backs; real-world product reviews from real-world riders.

Review Info

Brand: 100%
Product: S3
From: freewheel.co.uk
Price: £169.99
Tested: by Hannah for 1 year
Author Profile Picture
Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

More posts from Hannah

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • 100% S3 Glasses review: as much coverage as goggles (nearly)
  • hightensionline
    Full Member

    It feels wrong to be pulling at your glasses

    Yep, and the Oakley M-Frames I cack-handedly destroyed in an attempted speedy car park lens change 25 years ago attest to that. The photochromic lens looks like it could be a winner; will there be an update for it, if possible?

    kimbers
    Full Member

    They look lovely but certainly pricey

    how do they compare to the Madison enigmas, which come with a 3 lens pack for quite a bit less ? https://www.tweekscycles.com/madison-enigma-sunglasses-3-lens-pack-4000545/

    iwbmattkyt
    Free Member

    I loved my 100% s3 glasses, the hiper lenses have 0 distortion and great coverage. All until I took them off my face one day and the arm snapped near the hinge. Fine you think, I’ll just source a spare, but apparently that is not possible!

    My solution has been to buy a Chinese knockoff pair of 0% s3 glasses and use the frames from them. Perhaps now my glasses are 50%?

    Anyway, my point is with a pair of glasses at this price point you definitely should be able to get spares!! 🙁

    mashr
    Full Member

    kimbers
    Full Member
    They look lovely but certainly pricey

    how do they compare to the Madison enigmas, which come with a 3 lens pack for quite a bit less ? https://www.tweekscycles.com/madison-enigma-sunglasses-3-lens-pack-4000545/

    I ordered S3s and Enigmas and ended up keeping the Enigmas. Might just be my face but I had really bad distortion issues with a couple of pairs of 100%s. Didn’t end up taking either pair out of the house, just went straight back

    desperatebicycle
    Full Member

    I use £12 ebay glasses and the only time I see any “distortion” is when they get wet with sweat or rain (obviously this causes me to instantly crash into a tree or bus). Distortion lol.

    nickc
    Full Member

    My solution has been to buy a Chinese knockoff pair

    Me too, Rockriders (or some other such nonsense) they’re £20.00, and given how frequently I either sit on, break, crack or loose sunglasses, it’s pretty much the maximum I’m going to spend.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.