Functional and simple glasses but extremely expensive for what you're getting
May 4 2018
Good field of vision
Comfy to wear
Lack of coverage from short lens
Lenses aren't as refined as big name rivals
You like a simple pair of glasses and can find a good deal on these
The Ride 100% Speedcraft SL glasses are a simple design with a good field of vision thanks to a raised brow and half-frame design. However, while the lenses are okay they're not as good as other high-end rivals and they aren't exactly feature-packed, which left me wondering why they're so eye-wateringly expensive.
For the asking price of this kit, you get a carry case with a clear low-light lens and a tinted, mirror finish item for brighter days. To change them, you simply bend the frame and the lens pops out of locating tabs at either end before you remove the nose piece. It's simple, but not particularly easy or elegant.
The lenses work well enough, but they certainly aren't as crisp or distortion-free as some other high-end glasses I've used from the likes of Oakley or Smith. No lens tends to last particularly long in muddy, gritty UK conditions without a level of care that borders on religious reverence, but I was disappointed at how quickly they scratched up.
You do get two in the box for the asking price, with one fully clear and one tinted, the former getting most of the use, but they're both standard lenses at a price that'd get you photochromic items from many brands. To be fair, a replacement clear lens isn't too extortionate at £40 though.
There are two depths of lens available, long and short. The former extends further down at the front and get a more supportive and longer nose bridge plus little air scoops at the bottom. I've got cheeks that often contact with deeper lenses so I went for the latter, which was a mistake. They didn't come anywhere near low enough and although this meant there was plenty of airflow, it also meant great clods of mud could get flung under them and into my eye. Unless you've got the chubby cheeks of a cherub, you're best off with the long lens - a quick trial showed it gave a much better seal at the bottom but also mean that the glasses would lift up on top of your cheeks too.
On a positive note, the raised centre section of the lens gave really good visibility when I had my head down in an attacking riding position, so while the frame was still slightly in my field of vision, so was much of the trail. The glasses didn't steam up any more or less than usual and cleared quickly when they did.
The frame itself is made from a pretty flexible material - loads of colour options are available - and the folding arms have rubber inserts on the inside to help grip. They certainly stick in place well and married happily with all the helmets I wore them with but I found the straight rather than curved arms meant the bottom edge of the lens was pushed out from my face, which didn't help the whole mud-in-eye-thing.
For the asking price, I'd hope for a bit of adjustability at the arms and maybe a more refined nose fit system than changing a bit of easily lost rubber from the bridge. Still, at just 33g, they're certainly as light as you'd expect from some high-end glasses.
Yes, they stay put nicely, the field of vision is okay and the lenses are also okay, but while the likes of Oakley and Smith charge huge amounts of cash but offers outstanding lenses and loads of neat features in return, the Speedcrafts don't, which makes them seem almost cynically expensive.
Jon was previously the editor here at off.road.cc. Whether it's big days out on the gravel bike or hurtling down technical singletracks, if it's got two wheels and can be ridden on dirt, then he's into it. He's previously been technical editor at BikeRadar.com, editor at What Mountain Bike Magazine and also web editor at Singletrackworld.co.uk. Yes, he's been around the houses.