The market for cycling glasses is a competitive one, dominated by the likes of Oakley, but with makes like Tifosi and Endura making waves recent past to create more competitive, innovative options for riders. These are established brands which have been in cycling for many years and as such have a indelible association with the sport.
So getting in on the act is a difficult business. Contrast Adidas’ with this. They are a global sports brand (obviously) who have been in and out of cycling but never made a huge mark in either clothing or accessories. They were the first apparel manufacturer which worked with Team Sky when they launched in 2010. Given they work with Sky, it’s of no surprise that the relationship with the world’s biggest cycling team was spawned from from a similar deal with British Cycling which started in 2005. Team Sky and British cycling working together? Who would have thought it.
The public facing part of the business saw the company’s products worn in Olympics and world championships but they have never challenged the likes of Rapha, Castelli and others in the minds of leisure riders.
Last year, Adidas launched the Evil Eye Half Rim sunglasses to critical acclaim. Cycling weekly labelled them ‘impossible to fault’ and rated them 10/10. Even at £140 they sold well and were closely followed by the Zonyk Pro. A fantastic pair of shades which I wear to this day.
To follow up the Zonyk Pro, they launched the Zonyk Aero Pro which is designed for pro use but with aerodynamics as you probably gathered from the name.
The new shades have been developed with input from UCI number one rated team Movistar. There have been quite a few bits of tech incorporated, so lets have a look at them and see if they have actually made any discernable difference.
Firstly they boast a ‘Half-rim design of the Zonyk Aero delivers superior peripheral and lower vision to track every move in the peloton, and pick out details in the road.’ I’m not one for buying into the hyperbole of a PR release and went out on the road expecting no real difference to the Zonyk Pro’s, which I love. I’d be happy with a redesign anyway so nothing to lose.
The claim that they make things more clear is actually true. It’s not a major difference but it is noticeable, which I wasn’t expecting. It’s not like I couldn’t see in the older pair so it’s nice but nothing amazing. What next?
‘The Zonyk Aero Pro is fitted with a detachable foam sweat bar, which is shaped to maintain a cooling flow of air while keeping sweat out of your eyes.’
The sweat bar is an interesting concept. I sweat a lot and have no hair to keep the sweat from cascading into my eyes so this idea seemed like one that could work for me. And work it did, to a certain extent. It stopped the sweat but the size of the bar meant the glasses were too far from my head which lead to me trying to push them back on as they felt slightly loose. In reality they weren’t but it felt odd so I removed that and went back to the trusted casquette to soak up the sweat. Next?
‘The new VARiO filters give us an advantage by adapting to different lighting conditions, because we often encounter changing weather scenarios during a race’ says Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde’
And who am I to argue with the poodle haired one? To be fair we also have ‘changing weather scenarios‘ in north London and the surrounding area so this could be handy. Firstly, variable tinted lens are nothing new, but getting them to work quickly and effectively is something else. I had a pair of Endura glasses which took about 20 minutes to change which wasn’t ideal when being caught in a dark wood with dark shades. The Areos are very quick, changing inside about 60 seconds from light to dark and back again. Very impressive.
So I can wear these commuting in the dark while they are clear, which is very very helpful. So I did just that, I wore shades cycling home and all was well. Tick that box.
But then it started raining. I have always had issues with glasses in rain. They really need windscreen wipers. Why hasn’t anyone invented that yet? I mean it would look really cool. The rain got heavier and heavier and I forgot that I was wearing the glasses to concentrate on not slipping on a manhole cover or drain and going under a lorry and dying. Seems reasonable.
This I duly achieved. I got inside the house and realised I hadn’t actually wiped the Aero Pro’s and yet I had no issue with rain on the lens. What was this voodoo? So I looked on press release, but didn’t see anything about a specific new technology from Adidas. Contacting the PR company yielded the vital information I craved. The lenses are coated in something called ‘6 base Vision Advantage Polycarbonate Shield’ I have no real idea what that means, but practically, it means the lens repels water. Which means I can cycling in the dark, in the rain and wear glasses which stop debris getting in my eyes. It really is fantastic.
So Adidas have struck gold. They may not challenge Oakley yet, but they are quietly carving out a great reputation with the quality of their eyewear and are a great alternative, which I for one am very pleased about.
Water repellent lens
Vario aspect works well
Competitively priced for high end
Changeable lens and nosepiece
Styling not to all tastes
Sweat bar too big
The new Zonyk Aero Pro by adidas Sport eyewear will be available in March 2017 in twelve different colour and filter combinations, starting at £152.