Comfortable glasses that fit well on a smaller face. The blue lens is excellent in brilliant sunshine, though we would look to upgrade to a more all weather lens for day-to-day riding in the UK - something made possible by the vast array of spares.
Plenty of replacement lens options
Distraction free frame
Blue lens dark under tree cover
The 100% Speedcraft XS cycling glasses were selected for an Editor's Choice award in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
100% has quickly zoomed its way from the 'new kid on the block' in the cycling glasses world, to a well respected brand that looks set to establish itself as a market leader very soon - if it hasn't already.
Eyewear sponsor to the likes of multiple World Champion Peter Sagan as well as Team Movistar, the brand also creates glasses and goggles for motorsports as well as mountain biking. The offerings have always scored pretty well with the Cycling Weekly tech team, and these are no different.
Personally, I've had less experience with 100% up until now, because I have a fiendishly small face. Now that the brand has launched its Speedcraft staple in a new XS design, I and many others with the same smaller-than-average sized head affliction are much better catered for.
The Speedcraft glasses have been designed to offer distraction free vision. The frame is open at the bottom, and the lens extends right to the edge of the rider's face - meaning that there's no nasty infractions on sight.
The frame has a slightly odd shape at the top - with a stepped design that reaches its height in the middle. I can't see any performance reason for this, it seems like a mostly aesthetic decision. Initially it felt a little cyborg-esque but once accustomed I grew to like it.
These glasses are 15 per cent smaller than the Speedcraft SL and measured at the widest point, from hinge to hinge, these come in at 14cm. That's 0.5mm narrower than the Oakley Radar XS and 1.5cm narrower than the Koo Open Cube glasses in a small. Of the three pairs, the Speedcraft XS model fits my face the best, and I found these the most comfortable and unobtrusive to wear.
The glasses come with a flexible nose gripper and flexible arms as well as a replacement nose gripper to help hone the fit. I stuck with the standard and had no complaints.
The lenses themselves don't include vents as per competitors, but there's gaps between the plastic nose bridge and the rubber gripper - these allow circulation and I didn't have issues with fogging whilst testing these.
My white frames came specced with the 'Blue Mirror' lens, and there was also a clear lens in the box for overcast days. This configuration comes in at £139.99. Go for the smoke lens and it's £119.99, or the HiPER Red for £159.99.
Replacement lenses, including the 'HiPER' lens and Photochromic options are available one the Freewheel website. Granted, they're not in stock right now but under Covid circumstances we can be quite forgiving, we're told they'll be back in July. Knowing that there are plenty of replacement and spare options is a nice to have and is not always the case in 'niche' sizes.
The lens is shatterproof for safety, as well as being impact and scratch resistant. It offers 100 per cent UV protection as well as having a treatment designed to repel water, dirt and oil. I definitely found that touching the lenses with greasy fingers left marks, and these showed up pretty clearly on the blue lens, so the effectiveness of this treatment is under debate but it's generally not smart of touch expensive lenses with your hands and cleaning them with a cloth brought the shine back with no problem.
The blue lens was excellent in bright sunshine - I could pick out small imperfections in road surface and glare was eliminated. When under tree cover, or when extending rides into dusk, I found that the lens was a little dark. I could pick out obstacles and view the road surface, but found myself straining more.
Swapping on the low-light lens was easy and I didn't have to hold my breath for fear of breaking anything. However, personally my preference is for a lens I feel works in almost all conditions - which I do get from the likes of Oakley's Path Prizm lens on the Radar glasses. This complaint would be easily fixed within the 100% range - simply by choosing to upgrade to a Photochromic lens (£84.99) which changes automatically under sunlight or choosing the HiPER Silver Mirror option (£64.99) over Blue Mirror (£49.99), but this comes at extra cost.
The glasses come presented in a hard case, with a fabric pouch. Personally I'd rather the case was a bit smaller to make slipping it into a race bag the night before an event a bit easier (sounds minor, but shoes, helmet, glasses, gels, kit, tools, spare socks... etc - it all adds up and those race bags can get mighty messy). Coming in at £139.99, in a category where prices often exceed £200 for the 'greatest and most advanced' (read: coolest shape), these represent good value to me.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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