Performance sunglasses have no place being worn in the absence of a chamois. Until now. The Spy Optic Cutter has blurred the line – looking good around town and performing on the bike.
Part of Spy’s Peak Series, the Cutters are race ready out of the box. The glasses come with two sets of lenses, two nose pieces, a microfiber cleaning bag and a neoprene protective case.
The included Happy Lenses look like any other polarized lens, but they claim an interesting technical feature. No doubt you have heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – also known as the winter blues. SAD takes place in the winter months where exposure to sunlight, specifically long wave blue light is limited because of the shorter days and regular cloud cover. The lack of long wave blue light can cause depression, upset circadian rhythms and is attributed to be the cause for winter hibernation in some species.
The polarized Happy Lenses are treated with a coating to boost long wave blue light, which Spy claims will help uplift mood and improve focus and alertness. While we cannot definitively test this claim, we did have a few ‘ah that's better’ moments after putting the Cutters with Happy Lenses on.
The Cutters look pretty good off the bike as well
The lenses themselves are large and keep the frames mostly out of view while blocking the wind from sensitive eyes. Both sets of lenses are what Spy calls ARC lenses. Essentially this is a spherical lens that reduces distortion, especially around the edges, helping to prevent eyestrain.
Small vents on the temple arms called Scoops promote airflow through the glasses to reduce fogging. This system worked well even while climbing; however, when we stopped after a hard effort the Cutters completely fogged up. Once we got going again the fog cleared quickly.
Changing the lenses is a breeze – simply push the tab above the nose piece to release to entire top of the frame (which is on a hinge), pull the lenses out, pop the new ones in, and close the frame. This is one of the easiest and fastest replaceable lens systems we have come across, requiring less bending and manhandling of the frame than even Oakley's Radarlock.
The whole top of the frame opens for quick lens changes
Included is a rose lens set for low light conditions in addtion to the polarized Happy Lenses. The rose lenses excel in flat light conditions, increase depth perception and sharpen detail, especially in the shadows.
Also included are two Hytrel rubber nose pieces, which become tackier when wet. Combined with Hytrel temple tips, they keep the Cutters securely attached to your face. The smaller of the two nose pieces suited us best – the bigger one made the glasses sit a bit further out and lower down our nose.
Even still, we'd have preferred the glasses to sit slightly higher. When hunkered down munching stem, or getting aero in the drops, the top of the frame falls directly in mid-view – our only real gripe.
Two included Hytrel nose pieces enable you to tweak the fit
Available in four colors with a spectrum of lens tints, both Happy and regular, the Cutter glasses will match nearly any kit combination. For what you get, the Cutters are reasonably priced between US$160 and $219. For a similar offering from Oakley or Smith, with polarized and spare low light lenses, one could expect to pay considerably more.
The Cutter is one of Spy’s first forays into performance eyewear, and its a good one at that. Combining technically sound features and stylish looks, the Cutters are only hampered by something that affects many cycling sunnies. The difference is you can still wear them around town or at the beach.