With excellent coverage and custom lenses, colours and nose rubbers, the Melon Optic Alleycat is a superb pair of riding glasses. They're tough, nearly perfect at shielding you from spray and muck, and comfy – plus the Zeiss lenses are great.
The Alleycat's strong contemporary looks come with six frame choices, four lens choices and five nose rubber and icon colours. That means there is a combination to make sure you have a set of glasses unique to you – if that’s important. The four lenses offered are: amber, violet chrome, silver chrome and smoke.
I tested the amber and smoke lenses – both valid options for winter riding – and the lenses are easily swapped and secured. There is no large padding on the arms, but the rounded shape and a gripper on the inner edge keeps them comfortably in place when riding. The nose bridge is also very comfortable, and has a gap to help with sweat build up and keep air flow moving.
The Alleycats come in semi-solid container, with a soft bag to keep them in, and storage for the other lenses. They feel light despite their coverage, and with no frame or nose rubber in the field of vision, the view is excellent. Better still, the only time I had any spray get near my eyes was during an absolutely torrential downpour – I had water pouring down my forehead anyway, and I wasn't even running a mudguard.
The frame uses a material called ‘Hyperflex TR90’ which sounds super cool and whizzy, but is really just a plastic that is super flexible, light and strong – these have been chucked in bags, sat on, and generally mistreated and been completely fine.
The lenses are up with the best in terms of clarity and contrast; they definitely improve trail vision in low light, and the amber lenses boost clarity in flat light and on wet trails.
They can fog on long, demanding climbs when you're breathing hard, but they clear quickly with a bit of airflow through the side vents.
The Alleycats deliver excellent riding vision, very reliable coverage, and come in hundreds of colour combinations – the price is high, but they earn their keep.
You might also like: