Each face has so many unique features they can be used like a fingerprint. No two are alike. Despite this fact, sunglasses rarely feature much adjustability, not to mention different sizes. Shimano’s new line of performance riding glasses are tackling this issue head on with the Japanese firm’s typically innovative and engineering focused solutions. They 3D mapped thousands of faces, then created glasses that could adapt to each unique feature.
The entire 2013 line consists of ten models, with Shimano’s usual memory lapse inducing names – SX50, S70X-PH and so on. Strangely, one mid-range model is called the Equinox, the only proper name in the bunch. We’ve been riding the third model in the line, the S60R, and while not the top of the line, it showcases just about every aspect of Shimano’s new technology.
The glasses include all of the standard features we expect from a pair of high-end glasses, and can find elsewhere in the market. The frames are made of Grilamid TR90, a plastic prized for its ability to maintain its shape despite extreme bending. The lenses are swappable and a huge array of options are available, from clear to mirror, from yellow to photochromic. All of the lenses offer full UV Protection, and anti-scratch and anti-fog is available as well. The nosepiece is adjustable, the rubber is hydrophobic and an RX adapter is offered. As good as all this is, and Shimano has done it all very well, it’s not original.
What is original about the S60R and many other glasses in the Shimano range, is the comprehensive, adaptive fit. Using technology they call SMFD, Shimano Metal Fit Design, Beta-titanium is used at the nose bridge to connect the plastic frame pieces. The Beta-titanium can be bent to narrow or widen the glasses fit on your head. Once dialed in the SMFD delivers unwavering fit, without unwanted pressure at the temple or behind the ears. The longer the day on the bike, the more this feature is appreciated. It is possible to accidentally put some twist into the Beta-titanium, which can lead to a crooked fit, so it’s important to rest the glasses on a flat surface after adjusting them to make sure the ear pieces are in alignment.
Shimano’s search for the perfect fit didn’t end there. As everyone’s ears, nose bridge cheekbones and eyelashes define a unique set of measurements they knew a fixed angle between the lenses and the earpieces would leave some with a less than perfect fit. To address this Shimano built in 16 degrees of angle adjustment to the lens, in five separate positions. Tilt the earpieces up or down and an audible click is heard as you engage a new position. The initial impression was that these plastic notches would soon wear out leading to a sloppy fit. This has not been the case. After hundreds of adjustments, certainly many more than years of heavy usage would encounter, each position still enjoys and audible, positive, secure ‘click’. If you are tired of your lenses resting on your cheeks, or your eyelashes hitting them, try any of the new Shimano models with angle adjust and you will be able to dial that out. The angle adjust also ensures you can keep the wind off your eyes whether you ride a slammed race bike or an upright endurance rig.
The S60R we tested had only one lens in the kit, yellow, which has been perfect for early morning rides and those late afternoon loops that tend to stretch beyond sunset these days. The S60R is available with a Photochromic Grey tint when the sun burns a little brighter and a little longer in the months to come.
The S60R’s styling cuts a rather standard riding silhouette. Clearly influenced by Oakley, the half frame leaves the scalloped lenses exposed at the bottom. The black frames are called Black Metallic and have slight sparkle to them that falls just short of being glitter. They are also available in Brilliant Blue and Metallic White. Riders looking for a more striking style that won’t be repeated on the group ride need to check out the S70X. Of course, you better write that name down so you can remember it at your local Shimano dealer.