French company, Julbo claim that their brand originated as long ago as 1888 when Jules Baud started a business designing optical eyewear, including the first ‘Cristalliers’ sunglasses for Chamonix crystal hunters who wanted to protect their eyes in the mountains.
In the 1950’s Julbo were supplying sunglasses for mountaineers, such as the round rimmed, leather nose piece Vermont, but it wasn’t until relatively recently, in 2000, that they moved into sports and in 2010 produced a range of sports friendly lenses. Now there’s a huge range of glasses and some great colour combinations from which to choose.
The Julbo Dust sunglasses are designed for ‘mountain biking and outdoor racing enthusiasts’. They have had ‘specific input’ from Julbo sponsored, French mountain bikers, Maurin Trocello and Yvaral Villier. Strangely for a French brand there is no mention of them being involved in road cycling…
The Dusts are a half-frame design similar to many other popular cycling glasses. At first touch the matt blue, hard plastic of the frame is not glass-like as with other brands. It has a tough feel where the frame is thickest and is more flexible where it thins out along the sunglasses’ arms. I immediately like it, and though another reviewer said he thought it looked cheaper than his preferred brand, I disagreed. I have had so many issues with leading brands’ frame quality. The Julbo looks to be made of the same blue plastic throughout the frame, not just a surface layer of colour, which should stand the test of time.
On the face the Dust glasses are a snug fit, aided by a different type of plastic employed for the gripper, a material called Grip Tech by Julbo (in green on our sample glasses), which grips both nose and the temples.
Importantly the Dusts look very cool. Everyone was impressed by them and agreed that, despite the bright colours, they could comfortably be worn casually, off the bike as well as on it.
Of course it’s on the bike that is important, and in our brief rides so far, they perform well. The frame offers a wide, unhindered field of vision and is very comfortable. You soon forget you are wearing them. We have already encountered once issue though – they do not get on with all the helmets we have here. One particular helmet, does not marry up with the Julbos at all well; we have found a work around and with all other helmets we have we can’t replicate the problem.
Another major plus is that we have yet to experience any misting of the lenses at all, something which afflicts glasses from other brands. Julbo say the lens features an ‘exceptional anti-fog coating’ but this ability must also be down to having good ventilation behind the lens; no having to lift the glasses down the nose when stationary at lights…
The Dusts that we have in for review, use photochromic Zebra lenses, which get darker or lighter depending on light intensity. The noticeable difference on the exterior is not huge but it does make a big difference when riding. Apparently the Dusts span protection categories 2 to 4 and come with an ultra-fast activation speed. The lens material is made of a shatterproof material to reduce the risk of injury should you come off.
They also and have a hydrophobic coating on the lens exterior to help with the clearance of water droplets, aiding vision in wet weather. Given our current weather here in the UK, we’ll get plenty of opportunity to test that in the not so distant future…
The Julbo Dust comes with a large glasses case and a soft bag, which doubles as a lens cleaner. Check back for a full review soon.
Julbo Dust with Zebra lens RRP £95.00
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