Look closely at the faces of the Lampre-Merida team contesting the 2013 Giro d’Italia and you’ll notice the eyewear is as Italian as the corsa rosa.
Long-term Salice wearer, Alessandro Petacchi, winner of 22 Giro stages, may no longer be riding, but expect to see Salice shades at the sharp end, courtesy of team leader and 2011 champion, Michele Scarponi.
The Salice shades arrived at RCUK Towers for test are the 006 ITA being worn by the team (perhaps as we write), although theirs, naturally enough, have matching pink lenses.
Established in 1991, and now made on the shores of Lake Como with a claimed mix of modern manufacturing and hand finishing, Salice could scarcely be more Italian.
Enough of the history. How did they perform?
The 006 ITA is supplied with two lenses, mirrored and clear, and presented in a soft vault case with a fabric cleaner and housing for the spare lenses.
Our test lenses were the basic, light-adaptive mirrored lens and clear, though more sophisticated lenses are available: Polarflex, that polarise for greater contrast, and Photochromic, that change colour to match prevailing light conditions.
Each of our test lenses has a UV400 rating, claimed to screen 100 per cent of ultra violet rays classified A, B, and C, and both delivered impressive optical clarity and a large area of vision. The wrap around lens covered almost our entire field of vision.
The majority of our early tests have been with the mirrored lens (astonishingly, conducted in sunshine) and we were impressed by their performance both in bright sunlight and shade, the latter being a vital safety consideration.
The clear lens we considered an asset, too, when deployed on night rides or worn for the, ahem, few days a year in which the UK isn’t bathed in brilliant sunshine.
The light weight of the Salice ITA 006 was a contributing factor to their comfort, and they have so far proved robust; the hinges, especially, look strong. A soft rubber insert on the bridge and grippers on the arms allowed them to hold their place on nose and ears.
Lens changes couldn’t have been easier. They popped in an out without the need for heavy persuasion, but, as with most glasses, we’d recommend a light touch and due care and attention. Cleaning the lenses was a surprisingly simple task, but the white frame became grubby fairly easily.
Finally, to the ITA 006’s appearance, one we’d describe as very Italian, a heritage obvious even without the tricolore. The lenses are large, cover a fair amount of facial real estate, and may not be to everybody’s taste.
The performance, however, cannot be faulted, offering impressive clarity, and, thanks to healthy amounts of ventilation at the top of the lens, very little misting. At £69.99, we’d say they compare favorably with the many more expensive offerings on the market.
Colours: white, yellow, black
Lenses: mirror, clear, Photochromic, Polarflex