Thursday, June 4, 2009

Review of the Rudy Project Noyz

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was in the market for a new pair of cycling sunglasses. I made a not-so-subtle hint that I’d love a sponsor to step up to the plate. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear this, but the manufacturers simply weren’t falling all over themselves to sponsor a Cat. 5/Sport-class racer who’s only claim to fame is winning a MTB race in which he would not have even been on the podium were he one year younger and racing in another age group of the same division.

Since the unsolicited sponsorships didn’t come to me, I went out and solicited one. And since I was doing the soliciting, I went to the company I was most interested in: Rudy Project.

Rudy is an Italian brand that has a loyal following among cyclists in the US, but is much lesser known in other activities than say, the big “O” brand. But their products are awesome. The optics are up there with anyone else’s, and they have the best lens guarantee in the business.

Rudy products are almost all available for use with prescription lenses, so if you need prescription sunglasses, these are a great bet. Ask your optician about them—many of them are Rudy dealers.

Rudy was also kind enough to offer to sponsor team Revolution and offered us pro deals on their products. Here’s what I was looking for:

  1. Crystal-clear optics: I like to see where I’m going and see it really well.
  2. Photochromic lenses: I wanted one lens that would change tint for all conditions.
  3. Hydrophobic coating: Didn’t want to be blinded by a rainstorm or my own sweat.
  4. Frames that stay in place: I hate pushing my glasses back up on my face all the time.

The model I ordered was the Noyz. Fans of the Giro may have noticed the bright yellow glasses Ivan Basso and several other riders were wearing during the race. I wasn’t quite ready to make a statement like that with brightly colored eyewear, so I got the same model with the matte black frame and photochromic red lenses.

So far they’ve been great. I’ve worn them early in the morning and late in the evening and didn’t feel like the lenses were too dark, nor were they not dark enough in full sun. They stay in place well—once they’re on, I didn’t have to touch them. The adjustable nose and ear pieces make for a nice fit.

It rained a bit on Tuesday, and the water dripped right off the lenses without leaving anything behind. Sweat leaves some salty residue, but cleanup is easy. I’m not sure a lens exists that you can sweat on continuously without dirtying.

And the optics are great—the red tint creates a nice sharpening contrast that works well on trail or asphalt.

The photochromic lenses are activated by UV rays, so they don’t really darken in the car where the UV is blocked by the glass, and the styling is a bit much for casual use, so my Smiths will stay in the rotation for driving and casual wear. But then again, that’s not what I bought them for. For the intended application, I couldn’t be happier.