Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Review- Rudy Project Zyon

Sport eyewear is a critical part of any cyclist's equipment, and this season I've decided that the Rudy Project Zyon is going to be my primary option.  I won't get into the need to protect your eyes because it's common to see even helmetless riders wearing sunglasses, and I always have a couple pairs in my gear bag.  Part of that is to have lenses to suit varying lighting conditions, and part of that is to change styles depending on my mood.  There I said it.

If we're being honest with ourselves, we can admit that sport eyewear often has as much to do with fashion as it does with function.  Looking through decades past we can get a sense of how sensible sport eyewear has evolved from street sunglasses to become more sport-specific by incorporating more sculpted frames and lens colors beyond smoke black.

The Zyon Sport is a full frame model with Rudy's trademark adjustable temples and nosepiece.  It shares the same temples and fit as the Genetyk (reviewed here) and the Noyz.  On the temples you can see small ports where additional peripheral eye shields can be added.  I promptly removed and then promptly lost those shields because I prefer maximum peripheral vision and ventilation, but to each his own.  Those same mounting ports are on all three models, but the shields only integrate with the Zyon lenses. 

The basic frame design of the Noyz incorporates a full frame that surrounds the lenses on all sides, so although the fit is similar to the single lens Genetyk the lenses are decidedly different.  The full frame protects the lenses from damage and makes the glasses a little sturdier without a weight penalty.  I've never considered a full frame, single lens style like the Genetyk or Freeon to be flimsy, but I worry less about the Genetyks when I need to take them off and stuff them into a pocket. 

Under normal conditions I keep glasses on as much as possible until it's too dark for the lenses or they become too coated in mud or sweat to be usable.  On the road I'll tuck them into the front helmet vents, but on the mountain bike I have a hard time securing them to my helmet and often need to put them in a jersey pocket for safe keeping. 

One of the best things about the Zyons is the adjustability.  Being able to set the nosepiece and temples to fit your face and stay clear of helmet retention systems is something I've often taken for granted, but it eliminates a lot of the guesswork in expensive trial-and-error compatibility testing.  I wore the Zyons with a knit cap while skiing, with a wool cap under a helmet, with a cotton cycling cap under a helmet and with just a helmet all without incident.  When adjusted properly they stay clear just fine even when moving along even at the slowest speeds.

The downside of the full frame is that the peripheral vision is slightly hindered compared to a single lens, shield-style model.  That means I need to turn my head further when I glance over my shoulder to check for cars.  Whether that's important or not is a personal decision, but there are plenty of pros wearing both full frame and shield style glasses so there's more than one right answer. 

In previous reviews I've explained the benefits of the dark laser blue and the racing red lenses, so I won't rehash them here.  They both have their benefits, and fortunately the Sport model comes with both so you don't have to choose (but if I did need to pick one I'd go for the Racing Red as it's a slightly lighter tint and more versatile). 

Overall I've been very happy with the Zyons.  They fit well and play nicely with my L/XL Sterling helmet.  I haven't changed the lenses very  often, but it was easy enough to switch them out by simply pressing on the inside of the lens and pushing forward.  These are a great option for both on and off road riding and worth considering if you're looking for a new set of eyewear.  They also look slightly less NASA-issue if you're not quite ready to step up to a shield-style model.

For more information visit www.rudyprojectusa.com.

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