Giro Havik Eyewear
Some glasses make the user seem more android than human. One that comes to mind is the Rudy Project glasses Jan Ullrich favored both early and late in his career. We have mixed feelings about wearing such glasses; coverage is usually excellent, but the size and shape seems to hide human features. The hiding has an upside; easy to have a poker face when hurting.
Our initial impression of the Giro Havik glasses is that they, too, make the user seem a bit…Replicant or Cylon. Maybe Terminator. Much more so than Oakley's Radar and any number of single-lens sunglasses. But that's only with dark lenses where the wearer's eyes can't be seen. Of course, we are testing the Gloss Black frame with the Grey lens that lets in (or out) 20% of the light.
What the world looking in sees is separate and distinct from the user looking out at the world. Giro makes many boasts about what their glasses offer to those who dare to shield their eyes with them. They make a big deal about the "Zeiss Certified" lenses having the "purest grade of optimized polycarbonate." And the "True Sight Technology" which "help to enhance your vision by minimizing visual distortion." And the "7-base" lenses that have a greater curve than most glasses.
The Zeiss certification seemed diminished when we noticed other companies boasting of their Zeiss certification in other products. Made us feel as if Zeiss had begun selling their name to raise some cash. Pure polycarbonate? Reads like marketing mumbo-jumbo.
But then we put them on. Believe their hype. We noticed it the moment we rolled out on our first test ride of them. Looking through the Havik lens is great experience. Great field of vision and no distortion anywhere. The dark grey lens is fine on sunny days and light enough for overcast days. A bit farther down the road, we noticed that even though the lens looks small, it offers great coverage. The Havik feels as if it sits close to the face, but they don't fog up when climbing hard on humid days. The curved temples and the rubber tips on the inside of the arms hold the glasses rock solid on our face. No rough road can get them to jiggle or slide down. It's as if your head is stuck in the talons of an eagle, which is the English translation of the Dutch word havik (pronounced hav-ick).
We thought maybe we had been seduced by their hype and celebrity endorsers. We loaned them to friends who don't pay attention to magazines, ads, or bike racing. Without us telling them what to look for, they instantly made the same remarks about the huge field of vision and the impressive lack of distortion.
Both, interestingly, cited their ability to notice the nosepiece as they rode. We hadn't paid attention to this, but they are right. If you're used to a slim nosepiece, like those on Rudy's or Smiths, you'll see the rubber. If you're used to Oakleys, you won't. Either way, they sit comfortably on the nose.
Using the Oakley Radar as a comparison, the Havik weighs the same, 29g, despite having a lens that's narrower by a few mm and arms that are a bit shorter as well. The Radars are made of a more flexible plastic and the rubber-covered arms are supposed to contact your head for a good portion of the rubber covering. The Haviks, by contrast, are made of a more rigid plastic and the only place the temples touch your head is on the little rubber pad at the end of the temple. They still slide easily into helmet air vents and around helmet straps on most helmets, and under the earflaps on the Giro Advantage 2 Time Trial Helmet.
The stiffer frame yields a different fit. The stiffer frame flexes as much but adds tension when being flexed. This frame tension creates a solid hold on your head. On all our rides, even those up to five hours, the Havik didn't move at all. Toward the end of these longer rides, we did start to notice the frame squeezing our head a bit at the contact points. It wasn't painful, but definitely noticeable. We moved the glasses ever so slightly and the sensation went away.
We tried pulling out the lens to see how much work is involved in lens swapping. Currently, Giro has several replacement lenses available: Clear Silver, Brown Bronze, Brown, and Rose Silver. The first few times we tugged the side of the lenses by the temple, nothing budged. We were worried that we were doing something wrong, so we consulted the owner's manual. It has basic info in 20 languages, but doesn't show how to remove and install lenses. This seems to be a Giro trend; the Ionos owner's manual didn't have any info on the included helmet liner. We contacted Giro and they told us to try pulling apart at the center after removing the nosepiece. That didn't work for us, so we moved to the side again. After a few more attempts, we got it. Re-installation was easy if you start at one side. Subsequent attempts at lens removal were successful; we found the operation got easier. We don't know if this is because we unstuck the lens or we better know where to place pressure.
Along with the glasses, fairly uninformative owner's manual, Zeiss certificate, and sticker, the glasses came with an attractive soft case. To distinguish their glasses from others, the Giro "G" is woven into the bag's subtle pattern. Giro also boasts that their Zeiss certified lenses had a "Z" imprinted on the lens. This is hard to find, but it's there. It took us several tries; it is in the upper left and right peripheral areas of the lenses. Easier found if you take them off, turn them so you're looking at the outside, and hold them up to a light.
After a few months of regular wearing in all sorts of conditions, we've just about forgotten our initial impression from the outside. Since function is really our "new black" with just about all cycling gear, the Giro Havik met and exceeded what we expected. To paraphrase the old song, we can see clearly now. We're now contemplating which tint should be our second lens.