Building on the simplicity and hugely versatile lens-swapping technology of their legendary Sliders, the Smith Pivlock V-system of lens interchangeability is a natural and elegant optical evolution. The merits of this design allowed Smith to go blow-for-blow with some of the most entrenched optical sponsors in the pro peloton in 2010 and 2011, and got their then-new Pivlock V90 on the heads and helmets of pro teams all across the domestic and international circuits. Smith used all of those saddle hours to further polish and fine-tune the Pivlock design, resulting in the radical new Pivlock V2 -- which is getting put through the ringer this year, by our own Competitive Cyclist Pro Team riders.
At first glance, the biggest difference between the new V2 and the first-generation V90 is the absence of the split arms. The V2 features slightly chunkier, albeit still fantastically lightweight (the V2 Max only adds a gram or two from the V90 Max), and expertly branded arms that create slightly better leverage when swapping out the lenses. A closer inspection reveals several other subtle design changes that give the V2 a clear advantage over its predecessor. The first is the adjustable nose piece. Rather than simply flexing, the piece has three distinct set widths, allowing you to ratchet the pads open or closed depending on how low or high you prefer your frames to fit. A small detail to be sure, but it removes a lot of the ambiguity or imbalance found in nose pieces whose pads adjust independently of each other. Smith also went with a new slide-on Megol temple tip that terminates several millimeters from the end of each arm to keep the tips gripping only the sides of your head, without hanging up on the sides of your ear. Again, a very subtle detail, but a comfort-enhancing improvement. Aside from the arms, the V2 also boasts a dramatically different lens. Granted, it follows the same dramatic horizontal sweep and tight pantoscopic angle of the V90, but the old lens' soft lines are now significantly more aggressive and angular. This ensures maximum coverage in both sizes of the V2, a better overall helmet fit, and an even wider peripheral range. Plus, it's hard to deny how it also looks exponentially more awesome.
The lens on the Pivlock V90 series is what Smith calls the Carbonic TLT. The TLT stands for Tapered Lens Technology, and this means that the thickness of the lens tapers from the optical center to the edges. This thinning allows for less refraction, and therefore, less distortion for the light waves passing through the lens. To prevent any additional lens distortion while being worn, the frame arms are extra flexible to prevent the shield lens from flexing outward and changing the optical quality. The Carbonic lens houses a deep 8-base curvature to hug your face, and protect it from impact. This is a great thing to know when you think about the myriad of projectiles that could threaten your eyes on a bike ride -- gravel from car tires, tree limbs, or wayward insects on a mach 3 descent. They exceed ANSI Z80.3 specifications, and they protect your eyes from 100% of the UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
The entire sunglass is essentially three separate pieces that effortlessly snap on to the lens. The arms quickly affix by aligning the temple slots on the lens, and vertically pivoting into specialized slots on the lens where the temple/hinge inserts and pivots into a locked position. The nose piece also snaps in with little effort. The Pivlock system is at once intuitive, quick, and secure, and thankfully, doesn't require a flowchart to understand. More importantly, it allows for swift lens changing without risking fingerprinted or scratched lenses. Standard for Smith Optics, the V2 is constructed from a tough Grilamid TR90 frame for maximum comfort, flexibility, and resistance to corrosion or fading from sweat and sunscreen. And the hydrophilic Megol nose and temple pads keep the frame confidently locked in place on your face, even as you traverse rough cobblestone sectors or jarring downhill trails at high speeds.
The Smith Pivlock V2 is available in Black, Blue, Orange, or White. Each frame ships with the standard Platinum lens for maximum glare reduction on really sunny rides. You'll also get two extra lenses: an Ignitor lens which increases definition and depth perception in low light or on overcast days, and a Clear lens for night riding or in exceptionally bad weather. If you'd like to ride with a smaller lens (sold separately), the lenses are all interchangeable with the arms and nose pad from the current-generation Pivlock V2 Max, as the only difference between the two is the lens size -- not the attachment points. The Pivlock V2 offers medium coverage (not unlike Oakley's ubiquitous Radar "Path" lens), and a highly flexible medium fit in terms of temple sizing.