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100% Speedcraft sunglasses review

24 Apr 2020
Verdict:

The styling of the 100% Speedcraft sunglasses is divisive but their lense clarity and coverage is as good as any design on the market

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Distinctive looks • Lens clarity • Frame shape
Against 
Lower portion of frame can catch on fabric

Despite only being on the scene for a couple of years, from the outside it seems that 100% has gained a lot of ground in the cycling market very quickly, with the brand’s Speedcraft design leading the charge.

Yet 100% says it was able to transfer a lot of expertise from its background in American motocross eyewear, so technologically it wasn’t a case of starting from square one.

Sponsoring a certain charismatic triple World Champion certainly did 100%’s reputation no harm either. Consequently the American brand is developing into a genuine challenger to the might of Oakley in both the pro ranks and the general road cycling public.

The Speedcraft glasses are now nestled within a comprehensive range alongside the likes of the Maap 100% S3 and the innovative Speedcraft Air but these were the original road cycling design from 100%.

Frame

The frame of the 100% Speedcraft sunglasses is made from Grilamid TR90 plastic, which is the benchmark material from which all premium frames are made. It is light, impact resistant and flexible.

While the lines of the frame are all typically angular they flow together cleanly. It belies the fact that the frame is jigsaw-pieced together from a multitude of small component parts - 11 separate sections enclose the lense - rather than simply formed from a single piece of plastic.

It lends the glasses a premium feel - the top bar holds the lenses securely and appears bulky but it is actually light and strong because it is made of hollow sections.

100% says these hollow sections act as ventilation ports to help minimise fogging. While the feature’s effect is no doubt small - fogging is more powerfully governed by the overall shape of the glasses and lens treatments - I rarely had fogging issues so it certainly didn’t do any harm.

The overall surface area of the lens is huge so it was never likely that the frame would interrupt my field of vision, but even so I think 100% has made some astute choices with how the lens is held.

The top bar of the frame has a raised central portion that creates space and offers a clear view when in an aggressive riding position. The lower outside edges of the lens aren’t wrapped by a frame at all which meant my peripheral vision, plus my view anytime I glanced back over my shoulder, was totally unobstructed.

The nose piece sits on a lower central portion of frame, which extends down toward the rider’s cheeks. 100% says gaps at the lowest point between the frame and lens scoop air in behind to increase ventilation.

Buy the 100% Speedcraft sunglasses from ProBikeKit

Again, I rarely had problems with the oversize lenses fogging, so I’d attribute part of that advantage to this feature. I did find however the pointed ends of this part of the frame, where they meets the lens, were occasionally prone to catching on things when the glasses were being put down or moved around - for example on a jersey, or a cloth when cleaning the lenses.

I didn’t suffer any breakages, which I’d put down to the sturdy construction of the frames, but it is something to be mindful of during use. 100% says in the five year tenure of its Speedcraft design, the brand hasn’t ever heard this comment made before either, so it is entirely feasible this may just be down to some accidental, occasional clumsy handling of the glasses on my part.

Lenses

100% says the lens in the Speedcraft, indeed in all of its sunglasses, is rammed full of technologies to promote long lasting clarity and UV protection. According to 100% they are hydrophobic and oleophobic so repel water, dirt and oil, and are also shatter- and scratch-resistant.

In my extended review period I’ve found no evidence to dispute 100%’s claims. Despite consistent use the lens remained scratch free and any muck is easy to clean off.

Buy the 100% Speedcraft sunglasses from ProBikeKit

The lens clarity is also top-notch which, coupled with the its shield-like size, offered excellent protection from wind and sunlight no matter the wind direction or my head position.

A huge perk to buying 100% glasses is that designs like the Speedcraft ship with an additional clear lens option as standard. It is something that marks 100% apart from the competition, and goes a way to justifying my next discussion point…

Price

There is only one mainstream competitor to which to compare the 100% Speedcrafts. Their £139 price tag puts the glasses firmly in Oakley territory. On balance I’d say 100% is right to pitch its designs at this price point - the Speedcrafts are good enough to compete across the board with the market leader.

I’d say Oakley’s Prizm lens technology, which it claims boosts contrast and filters light to improve vision, edges it over 100%’s standard lens. But then 100%’s own take on that lens technology - ‘HiPER’ - pulls 100% right back on par, making the two brands broadly inseparable in terms of price and performance.

There are some objective points that differentiate the 100% Speedcrafts however. The usefulness of that extra lens option as standard cannot be overlooked, plus the glasses have a touch more exclusivity, with their use not being as widespread as Oakley.

By and large though I’d say the purchasing decision can be made subjectively - the performance of the 100% Speedcraft sunglasses is as good as any on the market, so if the distinctive styling appeals as much to you as it does to me I’d recommend getting a pair.

Price: 
£139

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