- Lens tech is good
- Could benefit from more sizes
Price as reviewed:
Cycling sunglasses serve a very practical purpose – shielding your eyes from the sun, and/or debris. However, there is no denying that riders also use them to make a fashion statement, and SunGod aims to please those keen to stand out.
The British brand offers two styles – the Vulcans and Velans. Both can be purchased as a full or half-frame – cyclists who choose the former option can transform their shades to the latter by removing the bottom part of the frame if and when they choose.
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Every purchase is made following a design process, where you the customer can choose the colour of the frame, lens style and even the arms and ‘SunGod’ decal logos. There’s eight colour choices at every turn and ten different lens options.
I opted for a Matte Mint hue, to match my team kit, in the half-frame guise with brushed purple icons and navy blue ear socks – just to make sure I’d tried as many colours as possible.
For the lens, I chose the 8KO Iris HV blue – this is a photochromic lens designed for low light conditions (with a Visible Light Transmission – VLT – of 34-79%), there’s a “smoke” photochromic option more suited to brilliant sunshine with a VLT of 16-43%.
Going with the photochromic lens boosted the price from £125 to £165 but I’d always consider that a worthwhile investment since it saves swapping lenses, or having a separate pair for winter.
Using the website builder to make my selection was easy, and the lens guide was very useful too.
The lens is, of course, the most crucial element in any pair of cycling glasses. SunGod says the 8KO lenses are ‘optically superior’ to others on the market. They also come with a triple-layer scratch-resistant finish, and hydrophobic and oleophobic treatments repel moisture, fingerprints and sweat.
In low light conditions, I found my vision was good, I could pick out debris on the road and I wasn’t overly aware of the frame whilst riding. I used these for many off-road rides too, where you often want a more transparent lens to help you pick through shaded forest sections.
The photochromic nature of the lens did its job and these changed to a darker hue under sunlight. However, they’re designed for mild days. In hindsight, I do wish I’d gone for the smoke lens as this would have a wider range of use.
I’m not sure I’d agree that these were ‘superior’ to the lenses in other glasses on the market, but they were more than up to the job in hand. I’d probably need to try a darker pair on a bright sunny day to truly put this to the test.
The frames feel well made, and the glasses are shipped with an array of nose pieces to help you tune the fit. Weighing in at 35g, these are within range of competitors – the same as the Koo Cube glasses I tested earlier this summer though marginally heavier than the 100% Speedcraft XS pair.
Whilst the large frame is stylish and in keeping with current trends, I did find that the upward jutting edge at the top of the frame interfered a little with some helmets. I do have a notably small face and head, this may be less of an issue for most riders. However, Oakley, 100% and Koo all offer ‘XS’, ‘Junior’ and ‘Asian fit’ options, so given the infinite customisable nature of the SunGod glasses, it would be nice to see a range of sizes available – even if that meant a small drop in the colour choices.
Coming in at £165, these represent good value for a photochromic lens. A pair of Oakley Radar EV Path Photochromic Sunglasses comes in at £190, with 100% Speedcraft Photochromic Sunlasses at £199. And of course, the huge array of choice is certainly very appealing, especially for those who like to match their kit with accessories and – of course – the bike.
Quality sunglasses with tons of customisation available. The HV Blue Photochromic lens we chose offered a clear vision on overcast days, though in hindsight opting for a darker Smoke Photochromic lens might have made these glasses useful in a far greater range of conditions. The personalisation on offer from SunGod glasses is excellent, though we'd like to see a small or Asian fit option to cater for smaller faces.
Lens: 8KO Iris HV Blue