Assos Zegho Crystal Sunglasses $438.95
The shape of things to come.
The clear-lens pair of sunglasses. To some, they're an anomaly, while to others, they're a necessary component of a versatile cycling wardrobe -- we tend to gravitate towards the latter. After all, when clouds loom, and the light is low, you need protection that won't cloud your field of vision. Enter the Assos Zegho Crystal Sunglasses. With the Zegho Crystal, Assos threw out the construction manual, and in typical Assos fashion, created something quite special.
Zegho, pronounced 'Zay-go,' is a different animal than your typical sports eyewear. You know just by glancing at it that the design cues look to come from the runway shows used for debuting Assos clothing lines. The look not only stands out, but it turns heads. The Zegho is futuristic while being contemporary, fashionable while being practical. These attributes are typical of Assos, evidence that its design is as smart and thorough as its paradigm-changing jackets and shorts.
And because Assos is Assos, it looked at every single aspect of eyewear in order to figure out what works and what doesn't. It's for this reason that Assos partnered with Carl Zeiss Vision, a leader in lens technology. Zeiss has a reputation for producing lenses of amazing clarity. It not only works in eyewear, but it also develops microscopes and camera lenses. In fact, its reputation is similar to Assos in that its products are thought of as both 'elegant and well-constructed.'
The Zeiss lens spans the face, 17cm across and 6cm top to bottom at its tallest, affording a full 180 degree field of vision. With this completely unobstructed view, you feel less like you're behind a lens and more like you're headfirst out into the world. The lens has zero optical distortion, which is referred to in shorthand as Assos zOd.Tec. This is an amazing feat considering the long compound curvature of the lens. The lack of distortion is absolutely refreshing. If you regularly wear shabby lenses and try these on, you'll see a remarkable difference.
Assos chose to use polyamide for the lens because it's lighter, more flexible, and more durable than polycarbonate. It has excellent optical quality and significantly better impact resistance as well. As such they were certified Optical Class I by Certottica, the Italian standards agency.
Like its apparel, Assos worked to optimize the fit of the Zegho. So rather than using a continuous curve lens, like a base-8 or base-7, the Zegho lens is curved to match human facial structure. The lens is big around each eye for maximum protection, but sculpted down elsewhere to keep the weight down and to reduce the likelihood of fogging.
You'll notice that the lens has a short, sharp transition from dark to clear about 2/3 of the way down from the top. Assos call this Tunnel View or TV. It is unique to Zegho, and there's a patent pending on it. The idea comes from Assos designers not being satisfied with photochromic technology. The engineers at Assos live in a land where they'll be bombing down a sunny mountainside, go around a turn, and shoot into a dark tunnel. Photochromic lenses don't change fast enough in this situation. So, by making the lower 2cm of the lens clear, you'll simply need to tilt your head back a bit to see straight ahead through the clear portion of the lens. There's no need to take a hand off of the bars in order to remove your eyewear in low-light. Instead, you'll always be in control and still have eye protection.
Assos made a conscious decision not to polarize its lenses. Here, too, Assos was considering safety when descending at high speed. The way that it sees it, if you're descending on a road that is wet in sections, the light reflecting off of the water is a simple, time-proven, and visual cue that could save you from going down on slippery pavement.
The final technical hurdle is the reality of riding outdoors. In order to handle the sometimes grimy environment of cycling, the Zegho employs Ri-Pel. This is a Zeiss coating that hardens the lens, smooths the surface, and is transparent as to not alter the light transmission percentages. And with this coating, the lens is also anti-smudge, anti-static, chemical-resistant, easy to clean, hydrophobic, oleophobic, and more durable.
And while the lens makes up most of the Zegho, the arms and nosepiece hold it to your face, and Assos decided to revisit all the conventions and improve them. The first thing that you'll notice is that the arms are long, thin, and flexible. They capture your head shape softly, but confidently. Assos calls this Zeropressure, and it works because they wrap well past the ears. Likewise, the nosepiece is flexible, but has a sub-structure that is able to be bent to a general shape. The points of contact are covered in a sticky rubberized material that Assos calls clickFace. Essentially, this holds onto skin, even when sweaty. There are also mounts at the ends of the arms for an included elastic strap if you're looking for even more security.
The Assos Zegho is available with the Crystal frame and lens coloration. It comes with a Clear lens and a klinik-transparent frame with Turquoise striped arms. Assos recommends cleaning the lens with water and mild soap. Shake to release excess water, and use the included micro-fiber cloth to dry and polish.
What community has to say
Basically perfect - and still expensive
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
So you want the best? Buy these and stop reading. If you don't have infinity dollars, however, ask whether you really need the best. Do you need glasses that instantly de-fog when you get moving, no matter the conditions? Do you need lenses that don't scratch, repel water and even sawdust? Do you really need flexible frames and full coverage lenses? Or can you get by with less for way less moolah. They definately get 5 stars the same way Maclaren gets 5 stars but honestly you don't have to spend quite this much to keep your eyeballs comfy on most night rides.