As the name rather suggests, Rapha’s Classics are inspired by vintage sunglasses. The lenses are deeper and more curved than pure fashion glasses, but you still get some light penetration from the fairly open sides.
- Highs: Quality optics and attractive looks
- Lows: Expensive, not quite performance enough
- Buy if: Style is all and you don’t mind wearing a pricey halfway-house while riding
The glasses come in a metal tin with a cleaning cloth and real leather pouch. They combine an acetate frame with a wire core for strength, and the slender arms include small rubber temple grips.
The lenses are by Carl Zeiss Vision (available in three colours, plus prescription through your optician at extra cost), and are hydrophobic and oleophobic-coated (to prevent fogging from water vapour and oily residues sticking to and smearing the lens). On the inside there’s an anti-reflective coating, and the lenses are rated for 100 percent UV protection.
The swept curved shape provides coverage and protection from sun and wind, but still allows for a sizeable gap in front of your temples. At higher speeds wind can get through, leading to watery eyes on fast descents. On smaller faces they work better, plus their open shape means no fogging. At just 30g they’re as light as full-on performance shades.