As cyclists, we do silly things to look like our cycling heroes. We buy the same bikes they ride, wear the same clothes they wear (except that Footon-Servetto kit from 2009, nobody bought any of those!), and most importantly we accessorize like the pros we watch race … on a pirated stream while navigating through a sea of popup windows.
I am going out on a limb and saying the questionable equipment choices, followed by hordes of fans flocking to buy that same equipment, started with Greg LeMond. LeMond was known as an innovator in the sport and was amongst the first riders to try such things such as clipless pedals, composite frames, aero bars, and being an American. However, the Scott drop in bars were not one of those advantageous products. A recent article from BikeRadar suggests the Scott drop in bars were among the top 5 worst pieces of road tech… and we all loved them! I started racing crits in the mid-90s, and the bars were everywhere! I even foolishly decided to mount aero bars on the lower section of the bars to try and get a lower and more aero position. I did that for one, brief, ill-fated ride.
Cycling is a great sport to showcase sunglasses, much better than sponsoring a professional bowling team. Wilder sunglasses get noticed, and riders with a flair and personality get noticed. When Mario Cipollini donned the Briko Jumper sunglasses in the late 90s they looked cool, cutting edge, even (dare I say) sexy… IF your name is Mario Cipollini. For the rest of us out there who bought those sunglasses, before Amazon and their very generous return policy existed, we got to look like an alien and a fly had a love child.
So it should come as no surprise that when Peter Sagan started wearing the 100% sunglasses brand, the popularity of the brand skyrocketed. Going to the cycling section of the 100% website (http://www.ride100percent.com/cycle/) the one athlete featured again and again is Peter Sagan. The glasses are noted for being three things; large, flashy, and large!
I decided to try these sunglasses for myself and answer the three questions burning in my mind.
- How is the performance of the sunglasses
- Do they make me look cool (and also ride like Peter Sagan)
- Can I find my grandfather’s old cataract sunglasses and save a bunch of money
I decided a perfect test for the glasses would be to ride with a local pro rider, Corey Davis of the Cyclus Sports team, while he did some 15 second on 15 second off intervals. I put the sunglasses on, and the first test happened…showing them to my employees. To my pleasant surprise they all commented how sharp I looked, however they also know I sign their paychecks.
Wearing the sunglasses, the larger size actually had some great benefits. I have always been a fan of full framed sunglasses. They feel more solid, both on my face and when I am transporting them. Over the years I have broken a number of sunglasses, and the 100% feels like it would last very well.
With the full frame glasses a lot of times you have the frame in your vision, especially when you are looking behind you. This used to be more for race situations, but now it’s mainly to check if that elderly gentleman on the ebike on the bike path is getting ready to make his move. I found with the 100% Speedtrap having the frame in my vision was never a concern.
Corey and I start our ride. The plan is to warm up, do our intervals, and then ride back to the office. I am feeling pretty damn good, despite having just flown back from California the day before. It must be the glasses and I am channeling my inner Slovakian Hulk. As we get to the point where we start the intervals I turn to Corey and say in my best Slovakian accent, “We make the intervals now, yes?”
Now here’s the thing. I used to ride a lot, and got to the point where I could be a fairly decent rider. However in the recent years I have been trading KGs for KMs, but I was determined I could do these intervals. As we started riding really hard, I started sweating. One thing I did notice was as the sweat began to drip from my helmet it covered the inside of the glasses, hindering having perfectly clear vision. This is a problem I have with a lot of sunglasses, so it’s not unique to the 100% Speedtrap. It may be the odd shape of my head (I still think my mom resents me over that), but I did end up having to spray the inside of the glasses with my water bottle a few times throughout the ride.
Towards the end of the first set of intervals I was still hanging strong. “Hey, I’m going to make it!” I thought as we accelerated again and again. However, a poorly placed hill ruined all hopes I had of staying on Corey’s wheel. As we started up the hill, the acceleration hit and despite my best efforts I simply could not hang onto the wheel.
OK, so maybe at my fitness level the glasses would not be that magical transformation to become a three time World Champion. However, would they look good on me back when I was racing and winning? I decided to use my amazing Photoshop skills and I must say…I look damn good!
Glasses are to scale
Riding back to the office on the Swamp Rabbit Trail again, we passed lots of riders and unfortunately not one of them mistook me for Peter Sagan. However the next day I wore the sunglasses again for a solo ride to the top of Paris Mountain. After I was done climbing and descending, former Pro Tour rider Chris Butler passed by and shouted, “Hey Alder! Oh, wait…hey Boyd!”
Now, Alder Martz is another local super-fast rider who just moved to Greenville after racing professionally in Australia for the past few years. He also rides the 100% Speedtrap sunglasses. While he may not be on the same level as Peter Sagan, at least I was being mistaken for another very fast rider. I immediately did a wheelie.
Why would you buy these sunglasses? Obviously the brand has enjoyed the success of having a cycling superstar as their poster child. Would the glasses be as popular if they had a rider who was a little less flashy, a little less of a rock star, a little more like David Millar promoting them? Well, we just have to look at how popular the Oakley Over the Top sunglasses were.
Sagan is the biggest name in cycling right now (actually Yonnatta-Alejandro Monsalve-Pertsinidis from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a bigger name). He is our Jordan, Lebron, or Brady. As a sport we have had this in the past a couple of times (spoiler alert: one time ended really badly). In any sport having that superstar athlete can help introduce a whole new generation of athletes to the sport. Cycling has only had a few global superstars in the past few decades, so supporting companies who are willing to support cycling can help our sport for decades to come.
In terms of the actual sunglasses themselves, they feel great and the lens quality seems to be excellent (much better than the $5 sunglasses I bought from the gas station). The style of the latest crop of extra-large sunglasses may end up looking silly when we look back at pictures of ourselves in a couple of decades. However, we are already putting on spandex, shaving our legs, and putting up with ridiculous tan lines.
We’re already a silly group!