Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wileyx Romer II - Glasses Review

For cycling, sunglasses are more then just a fashion statement, they're a piece of gear.  I rode for decades without eyewear, now can't imagine riding without 'em.  Protection from the sun, bugs, branches, and wind.  And yeah, they look cool and depending on the model say "Look at me, I'm a cyclist".  Nothing wrong with that.

I only own one pair of shades at a time, so used on the bike and general street wear.  They must have changeable lenses, since I use the clear lens for mountain biking and rainy day commuting.  For many commutes here in the Seattle area, I'll use clear for the morning commute and dark lenses for the ride home.  I'm also picky on the look, I don't care for the newer square styles.  I dig the bigger rounded styles, which are getting harder to find.

For a few years I used the Rudy Project Ekynox model, now discontinued.  They also proved a bit fragile and after snapping my second pair of 'em, didn't go for a third.  While searching for a replacement, a fellow bike blogger recommended the Wileyx Romer.  I never heard of Wileyx and checked 'em out online.  I picked up a pair locally here in Seattle and put 'em into service.  

Me testing the Romer shades and living my motto:  Look Pro. Go Slow.

After two years of use, some thoughts and feedback.  I dug the looks of 'em on and off the bike. The Romer kit came with multiple lenses - dark, clear and amber.  I've never used the amber, but have swapped between the dark and clear a few zillion times.  Once you get the knack, swapping lenses is literally a snap.  The lenses have also proven to be durable; been cleaned countless times with not so perfect cleaning methods - bike jerseys, cloth towels, shirt and jacket sleeves, etc.  Still clear with no scratching and extra bonus of no distortion.  The frames themselves have also proven durable - been sat on, dropped, bounced around in a messenger bag, etc.  I've never used the protective case that came the kit.  So, plenty of real world use.

Just few minor distractions, though nothing serious.  The nose pads aren't really adjustable, since they're molded into the frame.  On me, the glasses are just a hair loose, though not enough to be a problem.  They also fit better with helmet straps over the glasses, a styling faux pas for some roadie types.  I've worn 'em both ways, straps over and under - usually under - especially for mountain biking.

Only other nitpick is when stowing 'em upside down in your helmet vents - doesn't really work.  The arm design doesn't really grab anything and they slide around, unless I wear a cycling cap under my Giro helmet, which seems to hold 'em tighter against the inside of the helmet.  At times, on a long road climb, or if the glasses are sprayed over with muck, I'll do the helmet trick.  Maybe you never stick the glasses in your helmet, but I do occasionally.

Unfortunately, this review is also a bit of a obituary - since I lost my pair last week.  They're nowhere to be found, could gave fallen out of my car door storage pocket.  My theory anyway.  I honestly don't lose things, so a rare occurrence, still a serious bummer.  I paid around $90 for 'em, not looking forward to dropping that again to replace 'em.  I will though, soon enough.  Either with the Romer or something similar.  Until then, will be riding bare eyed - like the good ol' days.


  1. I have a pair of Romers that I have had for about three years. Great pair of sunglasses. Wileyx is better know in the tactical world.

    I use the amber lens all the time when I ride off-road. It helps with the changes of going from bright to darker areas and there is no change in what you can see. You wear clear or amber when shooting.

    If you know someone in the Military they can get them from the PX for about $60. I think I paid around $56 three years ago

  2. I don't know anyone currently in the military. I've seen the Romers online for $85, not too bad. I'll probably go that route.

  3. Bike glasses seem to be the bain of my life. My last pair were snuggley pushed into my helemt as they had misted up too much, despite me doing this numerous times on this one occasion they went for a flying lesson onto the road. I stopped and watched back in horror to witness the first three cars narrowly miss them before the last one left them smashed and pancaked to the tarmac.
    I find glasses either mist up, catch on my helemts retention strap or let in too much air underneath causing me to cry blurring my vision on fast descents! Its not like they are cheap either!


  4. Ouch. Crushed into the pavement.

    Yeah, they are way too expensive and most of the cost is hype/marketing related. I'm sure we'd all cringe to know what they actually cost to manufacture.