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TESTED: Optilabs prescription glasses

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I’ve worn glasses since I was 4, so after thirty years of wearing them I kind of know what works and what really doesn’t. Unfortunately with 3.5 in the right and 1.7 in the left I need them and if you see me without them and I’m on your wheel do start to worry! Unfortunately I love to ride and glasses on the bike are a pain. When it’s raining you can’t see through them, when its cold they steam up and when,’ on the rare occasion it’s sunny you’re blinded. I’ve tried many solutions on the bike:

Contact lenses: I didn’t really get on with them as they made me blink all the time. They also dried out when you really didn’t need them to causing my eyes to sting. Then there was the process of getting them in never mind in the right way round so I just gave up.

Prescription glasses: Anyone that wears their glasses on the bike knows they’re just not up to the job. They’re designed to look good in everyday life not charging down a decent and protecting your eyes from whatever comes your way. They don’t tend to stay in place and you do find them riding down your nose as the sweat starts to kick in and the going gets tough.

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Clip-in prescriptions: These do work but in a just kind of bearable way. They have a tendency to steam up between the two lenses and when it rains the water collects between to them. As you are riding, the two lenses rub together and scratch the outer lenses from the inside. Also with two sets of lenses this makes them heavy and they tend to move down your nose. This means your have to either adjust them to hug your head (which hurts) or just keep pushing them back and put up with it. Then there’s the myriad of interchangeable lenses, but when you start an evening race you need the dark lenses and then you need to swap to yellow or clear towards the end as you just can’t see. Swapping mid-race just isn’t going to happen and putting them up on the helmet means I just can’t see, (not that wearing black lenses isn’t another handicap). How many of you have started a race with dark lenses then struggled to see where you are going when the road darkens or the sun starts to set?

Hopefully I’ve set the scene with my glasses experience so I thought I was pretty well qualified to test the Optilabs Sprint. When Optilabs phoned me I was excited at the thought of a new pair of glasses as my Rudy Projects were showing their age and had been scratched to bits after their first season. We went though the different glasses available, my prescription and the kind of riding I did. I ride throughout the year at different times of the day from 5:30 in the morning to afternoons and evenings. Optilabs specced their Reactolite which would allow me to ride in the mornings and would darken up when the sun came out.

The glasses arrived which were the Sprint in matt black with Reactolite prescription plastic lenses. The glasses are a wrap around style with a solid nose bridge rather than use wired nose grippers that clog with grease, yuk, and eventually fall apart. The arms are wrap around and have a rubber sleeve which grips the side of the head and holds the glasses firmly in place but with no hot spots which can cause aching after a long ride. When I put the glasses on, they fitted immediately without any adjustment and what really struck me immediately was that they were incredibly light – you hardly know you’ve got them on.

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It’s now been a year and the glasses have been used nearly everyday and for every ride I do – from road races and time trials to training camps and commuting. They’re still as good as new and the lenses haven’t got a single scratch on them! To put it into perspective I’ve been through three sets of lenses on my normal glasses so to have not suffered a scratch they’ve got to be good and yes I have dropped them. These glasses don’t slip down my nose like my prescription glasses do, which means I can keep my hands on the bars at all times. If you have a Giro helmet they rest on the back of the Rocloc harness neatly, as if they were designed together.

To sum it up on the plus side these glasses are excellent value for money. They’re durable, comfortable and really remove the chore of wearing glasses. So if you wear glasses and ride a bike make sure the Optilabs Sprint are on your shopping list.

Performance: 5/5
Value: 5/5

Main Features:
• Ergonomic wraparound design with superb airflow and ventilation
• Lightweight for ultimate comfort
• Polycarbonate and polarised for maximum glare protection
• Mirrored lenses available in blue, gold or silver to co-ordinate with your frames
• High definition lenses for enhanced contrast
• Non-prescription lenses also available

Prices:
Non-Prescription £107.95
Prescription lenses £128.95
Bifocals £148.95
Varifocals £158.95
Colours: Available in Satin Blue, Satin Silver, Satin Maroon & Matt Black

Contact details:
Optilabs Ltd.
t: +44(0)20 86865708
e: sales@optilabs.com
web: www.optilabs.com

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