LOW COST / HIGH QUALITY SUNGLASSES
My eyes are pretty sensitive to light, so for me, a high quality pair of sunglasses is essential. Cheap sunglasses make me squint, which is an attempt to decrease the amount of light entering the eyes that also puts a strain on ones’ face, causing facial muscles to tense. This added stress detracts from the overall positive experience that cycling gives. Therefore, the first thing that I look for in a new pair of sunglasses is to see if they will actually work for me in bright sunlight.
Many sunglasses come in a multi-lens kit bundle. Usually either yellow, amber, or clear lenses for low light cycling and one darker set of lenses for mid-day cycling. My favorite lenses, and the ones that work best for me during bright mid-day cycling are dark polarized, which is part of what came in the package!
The XX2i OPTICS sunglasses in this review came as a kit. Included was a gloss Black frame with red ear & nose pieces along with a kit containing (a) set of blue ear pieces, (b) blue nose piece, (c) a small screwdriver to change the nose piece, (d) a hard case, (e) soft pouch and (f) sunglass keeper. Also included were 2 sets of 8K Ultra High Definition / Enhanced Clarity Polarized lenses – one set was Polarized Brown w/ Blue Flash, the other Polarized Gray w/ Blue Flash – All with a Lifetime Guarantee!
The first thing I did was to switch the lenses and ear/nose pieces. I wanted to see how easy they were to change. The changeover was very quick. Just unsnap the current lenses, pick up the other set and snap snap you’re done. The other reason I wanted to change-out the pieces is that, in my opinion, the red nose/ear pieces look better with the Brown lenses and the blue nose/ear pieces look better with the gray lenses.
To change the earpieces, all I had to do was to slide the red one off and slide the blue one on. Not only was the changeover quick and easy, the earpieces are completely customizable in that they can easily be bent to take the shape of your head. Not only can they be shaped/reshaped, but they will retain this new shape. This brings me to one other feature normally found on sunglasses twice the price…the wire frame soft rubber coated nose piece. Most sunglasses nowadays come with a nose piece made either entirely of plastic, or, they might include a small piece of rubber co-molded onto the plastic. Very few of these type sunglasses will actually prevent the sunglasses from sliding down the nose. The XX2i OPTICS sunglasses are different. They come with a nose piece that can be bent and twisted so that it precisely conforms to the shape of the bridge of your nose.
Adjustment is easy: First, pre-bend the nose piece as shown in the photo above, then place the sunglasses onto your face and reach each index finger up and under sunglasses – between the sunglasses and the outside of the nose until you feel the middle of the nose piece. Press each side of the nose piece until it is against the bridge of the nose. If they are a little too tight, pull the sunglasses slightly down the face and push them slightly inwards. This will widen the grip for a slightly looser fit. Test if you have a perfect fit by pulling slightly down at the center of the sunglasses. They should now stay in place and be comfortable to wear. It took me less than a minute to get a perfect fit. Next, bend an arc into the earpieces. Too tight? You can easily re-work them so they are a little looser. Fine tune for the perfect fit. After several months of using these daily, they have maintained the custom fit and have not slipped one bit, even when my face is completely covered in sweat. I consider these truly fully-customizable frames.
FRAME COLORS & LENSES AVAILABLE
FRANCE1 & FRANCE2 HALF-FRAME POLARIZED -Both the France1 and France 2 half-frame sports models polarized lines include frames in bright red, safety orange, fly-yellow, neon-green and day-glow pink, as well as more traditional tortoise shell, black, white and clear/crystal. Polarized lens options are limited to Polarized Gray w/ Blue Flash or Polarized Brown w/ Blue Flash.
USA1 FULL FRAME POLARIZED – The USA1 polarized model lineup is more limited with frames available only in black gloss, black matte, black onyx, tortoise shell, clear and white. Polarized lenses are offered in Polarized Gray w/ Blue Flash and Polarized Brown w/ Blue Flash. These full-frame sport sunglasses have an air slit in the upper outside corners which allow just enough air to circulate to prevent the lens from fogging.
FRANCE1 & FRANCE2 NON-POLARIZED – Many more color options available in the non-polarized line. So many in fact, that its better to describe these in a table.
USA1 NON-POLARIZED – The USA1 model lineup is more limited with only black gloss, black matte, black onyx, tortoise shell, clear and white frames available and only a few lens color options to choose from. These full-frame sport sunglasses are still very good looking.
READERS – All frames have reader options available in three popular powers (+1.50, +2.00 and +2.50)
Putting these sunglasses on for the first time – WOW! Everything crisp and clear, even when looking out the edges of the lens. And the best part, since the lenses were polarized, no squinting!
I use the Polarized Gray w/ Blue Flash lenses for late morning/early afternoon rides when the sun is the brightest. There’s no color shift and, since the lenses are Gray Polarized, everything is equally darkened and best of all, no glare.
For very early morning and late in the afternoon rides, I use the Polarized Brown w/ Blue Flash lenses. These lenses let more light in and enhance the reds, oranges and yellows so everything appears brighter. The sun is lowest during these rides so I really like that they are polarized which reduces the glare.
These lenses are crystal clear and allow just the right amount of light to filter through.
LOW COST / HIGH QUALITY SUNGLASSES
The France1 and France 2 are half-rimmed sports sunglasses. The USA1 is a full-frame sunglass. I prefer the France2 and I vote it the best for cycling. There is no view blockage out the sides and the person wearing these sunglasses has full peripheral vision. The only slight drawback to this style of sunglass is that during heads-down hammering, if you glance up, part of your forward vision will be blocked. A quick review of many other brands and models shows that this is a common design.
And YES! These sunglasses really surprised me. The quality of the frames, the included accessories, the optical clarity of the lenses is equal to the ‘big boys’ which are 2 to 3 times the price.
The styling is classic sport that you see most runners and cyclists wear. Even the full framed USA1 are good looking.
Very reasonable pricing for the quality and quantity. XX2i OPTICS offers numerous packages that will fit your needs. For example,
- Single frame and non-polarized single ‘Flash’ lens set is $
- Single frame and 1 polarized lens set is $$
- Single frame + 3 lens non-polarized set is $$, and
- Two frames + 5 lens non-polarized set is $$$
Lifetime Warranty! No questions asked, you break or scratch them, send them back to be replaced for a nominal shipping and handling fee!
At less than 1/2 the cost of the Big Names, these sunglasses are a real bargain! No shortcuts on quality and even the polarized lens models are under $100. With the adjustable nose bridge included, these are a real bargain.
I continue to be amazed at the low cost and high quality and clarity of these sunglasses!
These are highly recommended!
I have always enjoyed bicycling and, through a series of coincidences, became a Bicycle Industry Consultant and Product Tester. I continue to test prototype products for companies and publish only off the shelf production products on biketestreviews.com.