A high-performing, durable, and comfortable set of riding sunglasses that'll give you that pro feeling. There might be more stylish options out there though
Secure and comfortable fit
There are better looking pairs out there
Level with me, what are you looking for from a pair of sunglasses? If you’re spending £100+ you can be fairly confident they’re going to fit comfortably and be durable enough to warrant the expenditure, whichever brand or model you’ve chosen. Therefore, the two most important questions are always: do they look good? And do I feel good wearing them?
The Rapha Pro Team Frameless sunnies cost £110, £40 less than my bike, so it now doesn’t matter how slow my 50km loops through central London are, I feel like I might as well be in the pro peloton. When stopped at traffic lights I sit nonchalantly on my stem as if on the start line of stage 16 of whichever Grand Tour I’ve graced with my presence, the large lens (larger than a pair of Oakley Jawbreakers) mean if I keep my mouth closed no-one will see how spent I am, catching my breath before sprinting away past the commuters as soon as the amber light flicks on for a race they have no idea they’re competing in.
So yes, these glasses achieve the much sought-after bug-eyed look of the pros, and the subsequent unearned sense of superiority over other two-wheeled road users. The feel good factor gets a big tick.
“Only my eyes can show the suffering” reads the Fausto Coppi quote inscribed on the inside of the case. In other words, you will never get close to the accomplishments of the Italian great so these expensive glasses will make you feel good in a different way. BUY THEM.
Rapha refuse to pick a fight with nature, however, including interchangeable nose pieces for an adjustable fit, giving respect for the fact our noses are all made equal yet unique.
Are they the most aesthetically appealing pair of sunglasses ever? They’re less divisive than Oakley Sutros, more inconspicuous than the sci-fi-ready Jawbreakers, and certainly less cumbersome than Rapha’s Full Frame version of the Pro Teams. The purple/green lens is the most fun of the available colourways, but their corresponding dark navy frame’s fade on the arms is a touch dated. The black pair would be an inoffensive option were it not for the white fade.
The benefits of the frameless model is improved venting, although one colleague says his experience compared with wearing the full frame version is that the lack of plastic skirting board meant nothing stopped the sweat dripping off the front of his helmet and onto the lens. I didn't experience either the glasses fogging up or the dreaded sweat-drip, although that could be down to a lack of application rather than functional design.
If you’ve got £110 to drop on a pair of sunglasses you’ll only wear while riding your bike, these will do the job. Cheaper than similar offerings from Oakley or 100%, you could even give the leftover money to a charitable cause. Then you’ll feel good on the outside and the inside.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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