No question Bollé's Phantom lens technology is one of the best performing for cycling to date and when combined with the comfort and retention of the design, the Chronoshield glasses are pretty special. But, the size and shape might just be a step too far for many riders and the extremely high price will put even more off.
Divisive style and size won't suit all
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Bollé has resurrected one of its most iconic eyewear shapes and relaunched it for 2020. The original Chronoshield glasses can trace their history back to 1986 and had a design inspired by Bollé’s best selling Chrono ski goggle. As the trend for larger eyewear has increased over the last couple of years so it became ripe for Bollé to revamp one of the originators. The new Chronoshield glasses leave no doubt as to where their inspiration comes from but Bollé has given them a not so subtle revamp to bring them more up to date.
The glasses benefit from a lightweight and durable nylon frame, featuring clever features to make them incredibly comfortable to wear. The rear half of the arms are made from a malleable and soft rubber that can not only be bent to any shape that suits your head but will retain that new position, keeping the Chronoshield glasses locked into position. This single feature alone makes them one of the most secure fitting and comfortable sets of eyewear tested.
Adding to this comfort is a self-adjusting nosepiece that features the same grippy rubber. This Thermogrip rubber is hydrophilic and stubbornly stays in place despite my best efforts to sweat them off my nose. As a tribute to the original, a removable foam padded brow bar is also included to aid in sweat absorption, however I only used this a couple of times as it increases the height of the frame and can interfere with some helmets.
The lens is the star of the show. This particular version came fitted with Bollé's Phantom photochromic lens in the road and trail friendly Brown Red tint. It transfers between 15-35% of light dependent upon tint, which I found suitable for everything from gravel riding under forest canopy to open road riding in bright sunshine without feeling like it was too dark or I was having to squint. The golden/bronze tint is really high contrast so it picks out all the little nuances in road and trail imperfections and really does enhance your vision. Finally Bollé has coated the lens with a proprietary anti-fog layer that has been pretty impressive in how quickly it clears any slight misting that might occur.
I do have to mention the styling of the Chronoshield glasses as this will probably be the only stumbling block for a set of eyewear that is impressive in its performance. The Chronoshield glasses are large to the point of extreme, eclipsing even the Smith Wildcats in proportions. The glasses measure 148mm wide and 71mm deep and even looks a little large for my distinctly medium head size. What that does mean is that they have the widest and deepest field of vision I have experienced outside of a full goggle, and they offer complete eye protection from wind, rain and debris.
At £215 for this Phantom lens version the Chronoshield glasses is phenomenally expensive. The range does start at £145 with a standard lens if you like the style but balk at spending the full amount, despite the Phantom lens being really, really good.
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