Looking at the Uvex website, you’d be forgiven for thinking there is a bewildering selection of glasses on offer. The ones on test here have the somewhat indecipherable name of Sportstyle 705 v, though the name belies the utility and versatility of these glasses. With their photochromic lenses, one set is suitable for any conditions.
The key selling point is the photochromic lenses which change their tint depending on the light conditions. Uvex dubs these “Variomatic” and for these glasses the tint varies between 7 and 78% light transmission (equivalent to S1 – S3 standard). In practice this works seamlessly and the changes are hardly noticeable. There only seems to be a slight delay when going back to a lower tint – though this is a known issue with all photochromic lenses. In practice, I have never found them too slow when riding though.
All Uvex glasses feature 100% UVA, -B and -C protection. These lenses, dubbed “smoke” have a blue/grey tint that I personally really like for riding. Call it psychological, but I find the cool tint makes me feel a little more alert whilst riding. Putting the glasses on I do initially notice some slight distortion – this is imperceptible when actually out riding and you get used to it very quickly. The field of view with these glasses is also very good.
The lenses are treated with Uvex’s “Supravision” anti-fog coating which on the whole is effective on hot and sweaty rides. When you’re moving the glasses stay clear which is the important thing. I would have liked to see some direct ventilation slots to help keep the lenses clear when you stop moving. I have repeatedly experienced fogging up when coming to a standstill. With a bit of patience it does clear, but it’s still a bit of a pain.
It does have to be mentioned that I am a sweaty guy, so you may not experience any issues. However, this means that I don’t just have to worry about condensation but also sweat dripping onto the inside of my lenses. Uvex advises that you shouldn’t wipe the inside of the lens to protect the coating but to my mind this is unfeasible.
Whilst the anti-fog coating is effective for condensation, it seems to leave quite obvious “sweat stains” which I found annoyingly difficult to remove. The textured surface is nigh on impossible to wipe clean "in the field". I ended up licking the inside coating and patting it down gently – what this does to the anti-fog coating in the long run remains to be seen. On the other hand, the outside of the lens is very easy to wipe down. However, if you just make sure you set out with your glasses clean (I didn't), you're unlikely to run into any issues.
I find the rubberised nose and ear pads keep the glasses secure throughout a day’s riding, though I would have liked a bit more formability for the earpieces. In terms of the styling, that will be up to you to decide. I quite like the “cool uncoolness” as I like to call it. If not, Uvex offer many other styles that use the same photochromic technology.
Lenses are easy to swap (Uvex also make a non-photochromic version) but I don’t see why you would ever have to. However, for darker conditions you may be better served by Uvex’s 8-100% light transmission (S0-S3) lens, as found in the 710 v sunglasses.
These are a versatile pair of riding glasses that will be great for the vast majority of riding conditions you find yourself in. For photochromic lenses, compared with competitors on the market, I feel these glasses are offered at a very fair price. In fact, looking at some online deals you can get them significantly below retail - a bit of a bargain if you ask me. Alternatively, peruse the other models available on the Uvex site if this particular style doesn't float your boat. The important thing is the quality lenses and good value for money. Highly recommended!