Q: How easy is it to change the lenses?
A: The ease of changing lenses in most sunglass designs is generally represented by the sturdiness of the frame holding the lens. The ALPHA has a very lightweight, yet strong frame and I had absolutely no worries when bending the frame to pop the lenses in and out. Since the frame is so sturdy, the lenses stay locked into place.
Q: How comfortable are the frames?
A: I have been wearing a pair of lifestyle SPY sunglasses for over four years and the first thing I noticed when I put on the ALPHA glasses was that they have significantly increased the comfort level; what I assume was one of their focuses when introducing their performance line of sunglasses. Even after six hours in the saddle, I hardly notice they are still on my face. I would say I have a skinnier-than-average nose and the lack of adjustability of the HYTREL rubber nose pad leaves a bit of play room around my nose. When being jolted around in the trails, I found the glasses to slide up and down my nose from time-to-time, however they sat comfortably on my nose during general use.
Q: Compare the different lens colors. Which is your favorite for cloudy days, sunny days and cycling at dusk?
A: The lenses are by far my favorite feature of these glasses for several reasons which I will touch on. First off, the UV reflective ability, known as their TRIDENT POLARIZED technology is outstanding, giving the lenses great clarity. Secondly, the lenses are multi-layered and were very well-designed to keep things bright enough for nearly any condition, while not causing you to squint if facing the sun. Because of this feature, my rose colored lenses have seen more time than the others; they work great blocking the afternoon sun and equally so into the evening as the sun sets. Finally, the ability of the yellow lens to brighten the road and surroundings in low-light conditions is remarkable. Living in Texas, we are sometimes forced to ride during the wee hours of the morning and late into the evening to avoid the heat. This summer, the ALPHA glasses equipped with the yellow lenses have been a very welcomed accessory.
For bright days, I generally choose the black mirror polarized lens as they shade the light a bit more than the rose lenses and boast amazing clarity. The rose lenses were my lens of choice when slightly cloudy, if I am riding into the evening or if riding mountain bikes in heavily-wooded areas. As mentioned above, I have really enjoyed the yellow lens for any low-light conditions.
Q: Is cycling more comfortable with the scoop venting design and the HYTREL rubber?
A: The ventilation systems in performance eyewear lines are intended to move air to the back side of the lenses to prevent fogging. In a fairly humid climate, I only had one instance where they started to fog which was when I stopped to change a flat tire. Since there was no longer air moving to the back of the lenses, I would have expected this to happen with any sunglasses. As soon as we got back on the road, the fog was gone. I’d say the vent system works pretty well!
The HYTREL rubber is very sturdy but flexible enough to grasp the sides of your head and nose very gently, cautiously avoiding pressure points.
Q: Would I recommend the ALPHA sunglasses a fellow cyclist
A: At under $130 msrp for a pair of light-weight, sturdy sunglasses that look good both on and off the bike, I certainly would recommend them. The only caveat is I would first suggest trying them on to make sure the nose piece fits as desired.
Q: Summarize how you feel about the SPY+ ALPHA sunglasses:
A: Not many sunglasses look as good off the bike as on the bike. When out of town for race weekends and other activity-based weekends, these will be my go-to sunglasses. For their first line of performance eyewear, I think SPY+ is on the right track. While these sunglasses were made well, I am expecting even better products to come from them in the future.