Evil Eye Roadsense Glasses
Evil Eye Roadsense glasses are manufactured in Austria, we tried them out with a photochromatic Vario lens.
What could be a better test for a photochromatic lens than some early-season cyclo-cross races? This was so we could subject them to a wide range of light conditions. The first two rounds were hot with blazing sunshine, then as the season progressed into autumn it turned cold, overcast and wet. Plus cyclo-cross races often feature open sections with bright light, occasionally transitioning into dark sections in the woods. This photochromatic feature allows the Evil Eye Roadsense Glasses to adapt to varying light conditions; what better test for the sensitivity of these glasses?
First thing you notice is that the Evil Eye Roadsense frames are lightweight and comfortable. With sunglasses you want to forget they’re on your face. Literally a few seconds after putting them on, you stop noticing they’re there, to the extent that I started searching my kit bags for them when they were already on my face!
The field of vision is surprisingly good for full frame sunglasses. Prior to these, I was using 100% frameless glasses specifically to avoid a frame blocking view of the world. The Evil Eye Roadsense were great for this; even when in aero tuck and looking up at other riders and obstacles, there was no encroachment at all.
The nose pad is a comfortable non-slip material and had enough adjustability to provide a secure grip. This was tested to the full when riding at speed over the various bumps and hollows of a cyclo-cross course. Not once did they slip or change position.
They come in a wide range of colours and, to help get the right fit, are available in two sizes. My size L (142.7mm wide) white frames were a good shape that wrapped around the contours of my face and should suit multiple face types. They’re not an extreme ‘cyclingly’ shape so could even be worn casually. They have adjustable arms so you can angle the lenses according to your head position on the bike. In addition, the quick release arms help reduce chances of breakages.
The cylindrical lens means you get excellent peripheral vision as well as protection against harmful UVA B and C rays. The clarity was crystal clear. Details and colours really popped, especially on sunny days. You wanted to keep them on just for the world to look better! Evil Eye says this is thanks to the LST lens technology that produces intensified contrasts and balances extreme light fluctuations.
The part I really wanted to test was the Vario aspect of the lens – the ability to adjust to fluctuations in light levels. If light fades in cyclo-cross, there is no time to remove your glasses and stick them on your helmet or stash them in a pocket. The only option is to chuck them at the side of the course and hope they’re still there when you finish the race.
On a clear sunny, day the lens provided sufficient tint to avoid glare and take the edge off the brightness, without being overly darkening. As they’re designed for cycling – not sunbathing at the beach – I found the tint level to be spot on.
In an ideal scenario the lens would be absent of any tint when transitioning from blazing sunshine into dark woodland sections. However, this was asking too much of the Vario lens. Going in and out of shaded areas happens too fast for the tint level to adjust in time.
Where the lens works perfectly is when the light conditions are more stable over the course of the ride or race – either bright or murky, or transitioning gradually between the two. This means you can use the same set of sunnies over the course of the season.
Keeping the Evil Eye Roadsense clean
The only time you should need to change the lens is to clean it. To change the lens, the mechanism was simple to use and seemed to be a durable design.
However, this leads to the only negatives. While the hydrophobic coating helps keep rain droplets from impairing your vision, the lenses did steam up occasionally in cold and wet conditions. They were also tricky to get clean again if stained by eyebrow sweat, raindrops or dirt splatters. Forget about wiping them clean on a jersey as that caused them to stain even further. The microfiber bag just seemed to move the smears around. To clean the lens fully you need to remove it completely as the retaining clip is larger than some others.
Overall verdict – incredible clarity, good field of vision for full frame glasses, adjustable to different face shapes and sizes, and the Vario lens allows use of one lens in multiple light conditions. Just be wary of getting them dirty as that crystal clear clarity is hard to recover.
Product tested: Evil Eye Roadsense with Vario lens.
Included with the glasses are:
- microfibre bag
Lens tested: LST® bright VARiO purple mirror
- Base Colour: orange – grey
- Protection Level: 1 – 3 (dark to light tint)
- Light Absorption: 38-87%
- Light Transmission: 62-13%
Introducing Evil Eye
Evil Eye are an outdoor brand located in Austria. As well as producing an impressive range of glasses in Austria, they are working hard to be a green manufacturer. Part of this is due to being based in the middle of a water protection area subject to strict environmental controls. They also work with a climate-neutral electricity supply and any residual CO2 emissions are offset through a 400 Megawatt photovoltaic plant in Bhadla, Rajasthan, India. If you’re a EU or UK based customer you can relax as they manufacture in Austria, cutting down on transport based CO2 emmissions.