If you’re like me, shades are an essential part of cycling kit. Besides providing clarity of vision, they do an excellent job of protecting ones eyes from the elements whatever the season.
Once you get your hands on a good pair, it’s difficult to be swayed by anything else. For the longest time; 10 years now, sitting on the end of my nose, have been the trustworthy Rydon, made by Rudy-Project. Selected with Photochromic lenses they are an ideal companion. With no need to change lenses they work admirably in bright, right through to low-light conditions.
Why the change?
My Rudy’s are now in a sorry state: scrathes, albeit superficial, are becoming more obvious. What is more annoying is when the wind picks up – dust gets through the side gaps, or from above the frame, and squinting isn’t ideal when navigating an unfamiliar road. After 10 years, I am now in the market for something better.
Oakley are widely accepted as the de facto in premium cycling shades. But for some reason, they just don’t appeal to me. I’m not saying they never will, I just like the idea of going for an alternative.
And perhaphs 100% have the answer. Fresh from it’s Motocross background, 100% are forging connections across many cycling disciplines. With the likes of Peter Sagan; the entire Bora-Hansgrohe team; CX specialist, Sanne Cant; and wonder rider, Mathieu Van der Poel, are now all sponsored by the American based company.
Time for something new
100% are far from subtle, but there’s no denying they make a statement and in addition to being used in the pro-peloton, they are London city-riding proven. Despite all the slick marketing, I still favour recommendations, and thankfully, fellow Baroudeur, Charlie, owns a pair of Speedcrafts and that is a very good start. Having several pairs of various brands, Charlie favours his Speedcrafts for both the commute and weekend riding.
How does it work?
100% offer the Speedcraft in a selection of lenses. Having benefited from all-in-one photochromic lenses, I wanted to try something different. The hiper-red seemed like a good option (it goes with the club kit). And with Charile’s recommendation, this helped seal the deal.
Inside the hard-box, the Speedcrafts comes with: the hiper lens; a clear lens; a soft cleaning pouch and 2 nose clips.
These were purchased in January 2019. Granted, it is odd, but it turned out to be good timing. Much of the late winter was crisp and sunny, which allowed me to experiment with the hiper lens. Whilst I benefited from the second, clear lens, during late sunrise and the early winter dusk.
Does it work?
Coverage – In the first instance, achieving maximum coverage was my main goal. The Speedcrafts are exceptional at this. In all of 5 months, I have not experienced nearly as much unwanted dust as with previous glasses, causing me to neither squint, nor obstruct my vision.
The Details – The raised central section of the lens is very good at providing protection whilst on the drops. No longer do I fear peering over my glasses and experience momentary blindness. I can now drive down a descent, confident that I can see where I am going.
The Look – Unlike Charlie, I have a wide face. As good as they look on the pros and on Charlie, I wasn’t entirely sure I could pull them off. I visited Sigma Sport at least 3 times to try them on before purchasing. Thankfully, the staff at Sigma are approachable, patient and willing to help. After much deliberating, I am happy with the results.
What could be improved?
As good as the 100% Speedcrafts are, there are a few areas they could consider addressing.
Despite having anti-fog properties, with vents below the lenses, they still fog up. This only happens when one stops. Being in London, this happens when waiting at traffic lights. To be fair, I haven’t had a pair that has fully succeeded in this area, but you don’t want to take your sunnies on and off to clear them up.
As careful as I am, I have noticed early wear on the hiper lenses. When assembling and dissembling, the joints that make contact to the frame, or the nose piece, chip away the finish on the lens. For the time being, they remain hidden beneath the contact points. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s frustrating to know they are there.
The low down
As much as possible, I try and purchase kit that I’ll want to use day-in and day-out. The 100% Speedcrafts hit this mark confidently. It’s worth noting that if the Speedcrafts are just too big for ones face, there is the SL (small lens) option. This SL version removes the vents beneath the nose piece, resulting in samller shape all round.
The Speedcrafts won’t necessarily make me faster, but I do enjoy wearing them.
At the time of writing the 100% Speedcraft with hiper red lenses retail for £170, but are available for £140. I was fortunate to get a price match for £127.99.
:: The review is independent and the club does not have any involvement with 100%, nor Sigma Sport. We simply like what they do. You can find a range of reviews here ::