I have been using Oakley sunglasses since 1989. Like most good things, they rock, so obviously it was a major leap of faith in order to change something that had been a part of my riding since I was a junior. In putting the Cannondale-Sugoi Factory racing team together, I was fortunate to have Ed Waterston from Cycling Sports Group (CSG – Cannondale, Sugoi, Mongoose, GT, Schwinn) in my corner as a kingpin. Ed was responsible for putting together the Adidas deal for Team Sky back when he was in the UK, and was keen for the new team to use the Adidas eyewear.
To be honest, the only thing I knew about these glasses was that a lot of my competition used them. That in itself tells you something as they are obviously appropriate for the task at hand. When Ed sorted the deal for us, I chose the Evil Eye Half Rim Pro A168 S. Fortunately, the colour we chose, “Shiny Black with Green” exactly matches the team kit so styling was sorted in a heartbeat. There is such a range of colourways that exist for this model that you would be really unlucky not to be able to find a colour that matched whatever kit you had.
OK, so out of the box, the following was delivered straight to my door the day before the XCO championships.
• Evil Eye Half Rim Pro A168s glasses with standard LST active Silver lens
• Evil Eye Half Rim Pro LST Bright Lenses
• Evil Eye half rim Pro Crystal Silver Gradient Lenses (these were a bonus set of lenses that were requested)
• Lens cleaning cloth
• Lens carry bags doubling as cleaning cloths
Out of the box, this is what arrived for me.
Ok, so about the lenses first...
The standard Light Stabilising Technology (LST) Active Silver lens have a nice silver mirror finish and are designed to absorb a fair amount of the light that comes in from the sun. They also have a rose base, which is designed to increase contrast as well as brightening things up so you can see the trail imperfections. These are perfect for sunny days.
The LST Bright Lenses also have a rose base, but do away with the mirror finish. Ultimately, they let more light in so you can see more. They still have the contrast increasing effect. These are perfect for transient condition days, or days when you want things (like rocks and roots) to pop out at you. These transmit 60% of light. The offical blurb is ---- "The LST Bright Anti-fog Lens offers Adidas Light Stabilizing Technology™ and contrast enhancement in fog and diffuse light conditions, this helps enhance your depth perception and spatial awareness for performance and safety" --- that seems about right.
The rose base tint also is designed to have a "vitalizing psychological effect" according to the marketing line. In practice, it has a nice warming affect that stimulates your mind when looking through the lenses.
The Crystal Silver gradient lens was one that I requested specifically for off road use. You know the type. It is 7 am in the morning and you are on the start line of a race that is heading into a forest in the middle of winter, and you are racing for 4 hours or so. These lenses are graded with the tint intensity fading from top to bottom and have a subtle Silver Mirror finish. These are perfect for cloudy days.
The Halfrim Pro utilises a dual lens system. That is, there are 2 lenses. These are replaced by opening a slide operated lock and releases system that takes no time at all to operate.
By closing the arm, you can move the small plastic piece (with the Adidas logo) forward to easily remove and replace the lenses.
Next up, The frame.
The glasses, frame and lenses obviously weigh in at 29 grams. That is light so your head doesn’t get fatigued. Ok, that might be a stretch, but needless to say, you won’t notice these on your face. There is a built in Sweat Blocker, which can be removed. For me, this is a godsend, as there is nothing worse than having your vision blocked by streams of sweat running down the inside of the lens.
In built sweat blocker - no more sweat down the inside of the lens. In the background you can see how the side grippers on the arms stand out from the arm.
One of the Adidas trademarked terms is ‘Climacool’ which relates to their concept of everything having open airflow therefore keeping the user cool. This is evident in their clothing and their shoes. The glasses are no different as between the lenses is a small vent which helps the air flow in and eliminate fogging.
Because everyone uses different helmets and different shaped faces, the Evil Eye Half Rim Pro has a couple of really handy adjustable features. The arms feature a three-point adjustment mechanism which allows them to rotate through roughly 9 degrees with 3 solid clicks (tri.fit) to let you know that you have selected a particular slot. This is handy because you can adjust it either to fit your helmet and face, or adjust it to suit specific conditions, such as a muddy race, where there is always annoying mud flying everywhere, but always manages to get up underneath the bottom of the lens into your eyes. No more with these glasses and this little feature! There is also a ‘Double Snap’ nosepiece that allows you to fine tune the nose to glasses interface.
side view, displaying the Tri.Fit adjustability. You can see that the arm is fully 'up'. You can move it to 'centre' as well as fully 'down' through 9 degrees of motion.A major feature of these glasses is the ‘half rim’ concept. Essentially, the bottom of the lenses do not have any frame around them. Why is this good? Well, you increase the peripheral vision for starters. This is what allows you to scan the trail up and down with no obstructions. It also ‘feels’ lighter and more ventilated which is a bonus. If you want to read an interesting article on what a ‘lower frame’ may do to you when you are riding, check this out:
The inside of the arms have a rubber gripper which is sort of shaped in a serrated way in order to provide a lot of extra grip. This means that it stays in place and doesn’t move around. The arms are also ergonomic and fit very evenly over the helmet strap and around the side of the face above the ears.
The inside of the arms have a handy rubber gripper that sticks fastIn use.... in short, these are amazing. Now, I do need to say that I am getting these as part of a sponsorship deal and therefore it would not be in my best interests to say anything negative, however, I really, really like them and there is nothing that I dislike about them. They sit really light on the face. This is the first thing that appeals to me. The lack of a lower frame is the second thing that I really like. This just opens up my peripheral vision just allowing me to scan the trails a lot better. When I had them on with the helmet in the middle of the race, I did not even think about them: that is always a great thing. A major bonus for me, and therefore a huge selling point is the removable sweat pad. This thing just works!! I do sweat a fair bit, so having the capacity for this sweatpad to soak up all my hard earned efforts is awesome, as it stops it running down the inside of the lens compromising my vision.
So, the executive summary is that these glasses are great. For cyclists, these glasses are among the best. You have a lot of adjustability, they only weigh 29grams, multiple lens choices with the ability to easily swap them out based on conditions, plus they come in a multitude of colours which should allow you to shrink away, or match up super pro team style!
The other reason to consider these glasses is due to the association with mountain-biking that Adidas fosters with their Evil Eye Trail concept. These are superb trails that exist in mountain bike destinations across the world. The trails are designed to showcase what can be done to make trail riding incredibly stimulating. It is always good to support brands that support the sport!