Alpina might not be the first name you think of when it comes to riding glasses with brands such as Oakley, POC, and 100% taking up much of the marketplace. However, the Rocket Vs pose a serious threat thanks to perfect coverage, and a mighty clear lens at an accessible price. Although the slippery nosepiece is more than a niggle, possibly holding it back from possibly being one of the best cycling glasses you can buy.
Alpina Rocket V – Technical details
Built around a thermoplastic polyamide frame, the Rocket Vs are built around four core technologies. The first of which is the 100% UV-A, -B, and –C protection built in, in order to keep your eyes safe from harmful sun rays.
These glasses also benefit from Alpina’s Fogstop coating, which on a microscopic level is rough and designed to stop moisture from creating a closed layer. The lens is also hydrophobic and it makes use of Varioflex tech, which is essentially a self-tinting, photochromic lens that darkens in the sun, and lightens when it’s not so bright.
Finally, the Rocket V gets an adjustable nosepiece that promises a comfy fit, regardless of the nose shape. Before we get any further, they tip the scales a 35g, which isn’t anything to complain about.
The glasses are also certified to EN ISO 12312-1:2013 and A1:2015 standards, and they provide cat 0 to cat. 3 filtering.
Alpina Rocket V – Performance
Thanks to their thick frame, when trying the glasses on for the first time they had a very goggle-esque feel but what was immediately clear is that the Rocket V’s coverage is expansive. Almost every millimetre of my field of vision is amply covered, although the glasses’ frame fills my periphery, which is what leads to that enclosed feel that’s so reminiscent of riding with goggles.
The lens is mighty clear too, which is great to see on a pair of photochromic specs at this price. The photochromic properties work very well too, promptly clearing and darkening as I’ve hurtled from wooden to open sections. What’s also great to see is that when there’s no tint necessary, tint is especially minimal, unlike others that hold some level of darkening.
However, I’ve found the Rocket V to be somewhat uncomfortable and that’s wholly down to the nosepiece. Compared to other glasses, it’s very slim and unfortunately, it’s not very grippy, even when dry. I’ve had to rearrange the glasses fairly regularly and that’s not something I want to be managing at the best of times.
Because the nosepiece is so narrow, it’s made the Rocket Vs feel really heavy on the face too. When weighing them and comparing them to my Melon Optic Alleycats and some Scott eyewear, I was surprised to see that the Rocket V’s weight was bang in the middle. A fatter nosepiece would improve this but sadly, there wasn’t a replacement in the pack.
This has a knock-on effect on the glasses’ security too and when paired with rather straight and gripless arms, they struggle to stay in place.
Moving on and the glasses’ fog resistance is definitely respectable. There’s not an awful lot in the way of venting either, asides from a couple near the brow of the lenses but this proves that the Fogstop tech really does work.
Alpina Rocket V – Verdict
£130 is a smidge cheaper than what you can expect to spend on photochromic cycling glasses. Although, there is the Madison Crypto that’s priced at £70. We’ve not tested these just yet but they look like awesome value for money.
At £140, there’s the Smith Optics Flywheel. I tested the non-photochromic version a few years ago and really liked it for its outright comfort and mega-clear lens. However, its lens isn’t interchangeable. The Rocket V’s is, but it’s not mentioned on the Alpina website.
If you’re after great coverage and a clear, photochromic lens at a reasonable price, and like a goggle-esque feel from your glasses, the Alpina Rocket V fits the bill. However, overall comfort and security could be improved.