Updated: May 2
“The ChromaPop lens gives rise to better definition of natural colours and allows more clarity while moving. I’ve been sceptical about this sort of stuff in the past but, to be honest, it just works.”
I used to think riding glasses all served the same purpose: enhancing your vision while protecting your eyes. In recent years, we’ve seen an influx of styles which look as if they are from the ‘Back to the Future’ movie franchise. The Smith Flywheels are no different; they have a big lens that covers the majority of your face, with a variety of frame and lens colour options. I’ve been critical about the look of riding glasses for a while, but having the opportunity to review these glasses has really changed my perspective.
Smith are well known for their quality eyewear, so I had no reservations when asked if I wanted to review the Flywheel glasses. The Flywheel have been designed with a ‘modern meets retro’ look in mind. The frame is made from TR90 thermoplastic, giving rise to desirable attributes for mountain biking glasses: light, flexible and durable. Once I put them on, I realised pretty quickly that these modern riding glasses are made for the eye of the user. They are insanely comfortable and you get a full wrap around your face. The previous glasses I had would sit further down the nose, which resulted in light getting let in around your peripherals. The Flywheels hug your face in a good way, and there is also some adjustment in the rubber nosepiece so you can achieve the best fit.
The ChromaPop lens (which is designed to filter crossover between blue and green light, and red and green light) enhances the view dramatically. The science behind ChromaPop is that the retina (part of the human eye) struggles to separate these overlapping colour waves, so the lens acts as a filter to help separate them. In short, the ChromaPop lens gives rise to better definition of natural colours and allows more clarity while moving. I’ve been sceptical about this sort of stuff in the past but, to be honest, it just works. The lens is also smudge resistant and 100% UV resistant – all good things to have in a pair of mountain biking glasses. One possible downside, for some people, may be that the glasses don’t offer an interchangeable lens. I had no issues with the lens I selected, and there are a few options in the line-up, so just choose carefully when purchasing.
When riding, the glasses stay put and deliver an excellent field of vision, despite being labelled as ‘medium coverage’. They are not heavy on your face and even after several hours of riding I didn’t have numbness behind the ears or an achy nose (which I’ve had in the past, after several hours of riding). The arms on the glasses have locked hinges meaning they are super easy to take off when on the go, and they tuck nicely into the helmet (see my notes on integration in my Smith Session helmet review). Having read some other reviews of the glasses, I noticed some reviewers said the lenses fog up easily, however, I had no foggy moments and I’ve ridden these glasses in a variety of conditions where I would’ve expected them to fog up.
I found the Smith Flywheel sunglasses to be extremely comfortable, and I could easily wear them all day. The quality of the ChromaPop lens really does enhance your vision, making for an enjoyable ride. I highly recommend the Flywheel glasses for anyone who is looking for a pair of riding glasses that can be used in the wide range of conditions we have in New Zealand. •
REVIEW: WILL KEAY
RRP: $180 (WITHOUT CHROMAPOP), $269 (WITH CHROMAPOP