Groupset giant Shimano has started to widen its horizons when it comes to bike kit. It started with the exemplary S-Phyre shoes, went on to produce some top-quality clothing and has now applied that same meticulous technical approach to eyewear.
The X1s have been around for a few months now – the eagle-eyed among you may have seen them perched on the noses of the Team Jumbo-Visma riders. Now, however, they’re available to those of us without a pro licence.
Glasses are a tough product to take on when you’re competing with market leaders such as Oakley and Rudy Project, but the S-Phyres have plenty to offer. First up is the frame itself. The shape does mimic the on-trend retro wrap-style, with a deep lens with a curved, wrapped profile, but the frame is more subtle and thinner than most and the bottom half can be removed if you prefer a more open style.
The frame might be slimmer, but it’s very rigid and highly sprung. The malleable, rubberised temple tips also add to that secure feel. Simple ergonomic touches such as the reversible, fully rubberised nose – one side has a deeper, more curved profile, while the other is thinner and flatter, which means you can tweak the fit – make for a supremely comfortable fit. The minimal frames mean minimal weight as well, just 27g.
Any set of glasses is going to stand or fall on the quality of the lens, and Shimano doesn’t disappoint here either. There are three lenses included within the hardcase: for cloudy days, you get a lightly smoked lens; the second lens is the optimal PL, which is 80 percent polarised for bright, sunny conditions; and finally you get a photochromic lens that transitions from light to a very dark grey depending on the brightness.
It’s these lenses that really impress. The hydrophobic treatment means little incursion from fogging, even when working hard in humid conditions, and rain beaded up rather than streaking. Lens swapping is simple because although they look full-frame, they’re actually a two-piece with a separate nose bridge.
The lenses have also proved to be really tough. Shimano claims they are three times more scratch resistant than standard lenses and despite testing through the wet and wilds of a British winter, the S-Phyres have held up well.
These are from Shimano’s range-topping S-Phyre line, so they’re not cheap. They do come with a hard case, though, a soft cleaning bag, two sets of frame bottoms and those three lenses. So yes, the X1s are premium priced but not expensive compared to their closest rivals.
Shimano S-Phyre X1 glasses specifications
Lens: Three — For cloudy days, optimal PL (80% polarised), photochromic
Frame colours: Metallic Black, Neon Green, Metallic Blue
Lens Colours: Photochromic D Gray, Optimul PL Red MLC, Optimul PL Blue MLC, Optimal PL Green MLC
Extras: Hard case, soft cleaning bag
Price: £140 / $160