Bikerumor Review: Giro Havik, Filter and Semi Full Cycling Sunglasses

giro-havik-filter-semi-sunglasses-review

BIKERUMOR.com REVIEW: We’ve been rockin’ three different sets of Giro sunglasses for 7 to 12 months: the Semi Full (bottom left), the Havik (wearing) and the Filter (bottom right).  Between them, we had three of Giro’s lens tints to check out, too.

The Havik received a frame redesign mid-year (now called the Havik 2), but this is the original so we won’t go into too much on the frame itself for that model, just the lenses.  Why a redesign?  Two issues popped up with the first iteration: Riders complained that the arms squeezed into your head a little too hard, causing pain after about an hour, and the brow of the frame came too close to the forehead, which tended to let sweat drip directly onto the inside of the lens.  I definitely experienced the squeezing headache, and another rider we know said the brow/sweat thing was an issue for him.  Both issues claim to be fixed with the Havik 2, which has better brow clearance and softer arm force.  The Havik 2 also gets color-matched nose pieces, whereas the original Havik nosepieces were all black.

The Semi-Full and Filter reviewed here are current models.

When Giro decided to go into sunglasses, they partnered with legendary optics firm Zeiss to create the best lenses they could.  The lenses are made in Italy by Zeiss and use what Giro calls True Sight, a process said to eliminate distortion, which can cause eye strain and visual errors.  The lenses filter 100% of UVA / UVB / UVC rays and have a coating to resist scratches.

How do they work?  Read on…

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

giro-sunglasses-case1Each pair comes with a semi-hard “soft” case that zips shut.

giro-sunglasses-case2

It’s made to hold an extra set of lenses and comes with a cleaning/storage microfiber bag.  The bag is among the better ones we’ve seen because it’s thicker and has the Giro logo woven into the fabric, which gives it a bit of texture to really clean the lens.  The foam internals of the case, though, don’t do a very good job of holding the Filter’s smaller lenses in place.  Everytime we opened it, the lenses were on the loose.  Larger single-piece lenses like the Havik might stay put better, but we didn’t test that.

WEIGHTS:

giro-havik-full-sunglasses-weight01

Even though they look big, the Havik weighs in at just 30g with the Full size lens.

giro-full-sunglasses-weight01The Semi Full comes in at 27g.

giro-filter-sunglasses-weight01

The Filter, even with its interchangeable lense mechanism, weighs just 30g.

HAVIK – Reviewed by Tyler:

giro-havik-full-sunglasses-review04

The Havik is Giro’s largest lens for cycling, and the only full, single-lens model they offer.  It’s available in a “Full” and “Compact” lens size (this is the Full) and comes in five frame colors and three lens options.  Prices range from $140 to $170 depending on Lens. We tested the Gray lens on this model, which is somewhere between too dark and too light.  Now, you might be thinking, that sounds like it’s just about right…and in most cases it probably is.  However, on really bright days, I was wishing it was just a shade darker; and on sorta-cloudy-but-not-overcast days, they were a bit too dark.  Really, I’m splittin’ hairs, because 90% of the time, they’re fine.

Optically, the lenses are great.  They’re very clear, and even after almost of year of using them, they’re basically scratch free.  To be fair, I switch between a lot of different shades, but they’ve seen more than enough opportunities on the road and trail to get scratches and they still look good.  The range of coverage on these lenses is excellent…no side or bottom glare gets in, so if you’re a fan of large lenses for that reason, you’ll likely be pleased with the Havik Full’s coverage.  Smaller faces can go with the Havik Compact.

giro-havik-full-sunglasses-review05 giro-havik-full-sunglasses-review07

Wind blocking is pretty good.  Cold days are a really good test, and they kept my eyes from getting dryed out by sub-50º weather.  They also did a decent job of preventing cross winds and suburban leaf blowers from affecting my vision.

The obvious question for current owners is this: Can I order just the frame if I already have some lenses?  Maybe.  I asked Giro’s brand manager Eric Richter and he said that’s something they’re working on, so we’ll have to get back to you on that.  In the meantime, if you did buy the new Havik 2 with a different lens, your Havik 1 lenses will work just fine with the new frame.

Overall, I’m pleased with the Havik and would recommend them highly…especially with the changes to the frame to make them more comfortable.

SEMI FULL – Reviewed by Marisa and Daniel

giro-semi-full-sunglasses-review01

Marisa’s Review: The Giro Semi Full sunglasses are quite deceiving in their description as “semi-full”. These sunglasses offer full visual coverage and protection with feather-weight wearability. The rubber nose pad is kind to the skin and “grips” the bridge of your nose even while sweating profusely. A surprising and much appreciated discovery of the nose pad is that it does not leave two red marks at the corners of your eyes like your typical plastic pads.

I did wear these sunglasses while cycling, running, and driving. For cycling, I give them a full “five thumbs up”. The ear pieces fit like a glove in the space between your ears and the helmet, avoiding the “elf-ears” look. The unframed interior aspects of the lenses allow for ventilation and prevent fogging. Peripheral view is unlimited as there are no visible blockages from the frames.

I typically do not wear sunglasses while running but thought I would give these specs a try after enjoying their aforementioned feather-weight quality. I was pleased again with their ability to disappear from my senses. They did not slide down my nose nor did they fog up.

Viewing the world from behind their coated lenses, my eyes seemed to enjoy their ability to keep glare to a minimum without dulling or darkening my vision. I would buy these sunglasses for sport use. However, I will choose a more “stylish” pair for everyday use.

Non-specified bonus use: When not using them to protect your eyes, they make a great headband.

Editor’s Note: Giro’s sunglasses are designed to work specifically with helmets, especially Giro helmets, but we had no problem with them fitting well on a variety of Specialized and Rudy Project helmets.

giro-semi-full-sunglasses-review02 giro-semi-full-sunglasses-review03

Daniel’s Review: (Not pictured) The lens quality is awesome, they’re light and they work great.  Basically everything Marisa said about the fit and lightweight, I agree with.  The Semi Full’s are now my everyday cycling sunglasses for road and mountain biking.  On the trail, the Brown Bronze lenses are a good shade…not too dark to see the trail features, and the tint works well for summer and spring conditions in particular.

They’re available in four frame colors and eight lens colors, including two polarized options.  Prices range from

FILTER – Reviewed by Tyler and Evan

bikerumor review giro filter sunglasses for cycling

Evan’s Review: I liked the Filter.  They’re small and light, and the dark lenses are great for daytime riding on the road.  I’ve boiled my review down to these bullet points:

Pros:

  • Stylistic appearance (white, come on)
  • Fits comfortably on my narrower face
  • Lightweight and comfortable enough to become unnoticeable
  • Ear pieces do not conflict with helmet straps or fit
  • Adequate wind deflection
  • Lenses are clear and not distorted throughout periphery
  • Does not filter terrain contrast

Cons:

  • Becomes hard to see in lower light
  • Induces some extra heat/sweat on nose piece
  • Does not keep one from eating s–t on the trail!

bikerumor review giro filter sunglasses for cycling

Tyler’s Review: Normally I prefer larger shades like the Havik, but the Filters worked surprisingly well at blocking frontal wind.  On blustery days with cross winds, I wanted something bigger though. Where I really liked the Filters was with the Orange Selector lenses on the trail.  They have just the right contrast for mountain biking and worked well in the Spring greenery and even in the Fall when leaves were all over the trail, like below:

giro-sunglasses-leafy-trail1

In fact, these have become my shades of choice for most mountain bike rides unless it’s really, really bright out, then I go with something darker and larger.  If you’re a fan of smaller shades, there’s a good chance you’ll like the Filters.  They’re available in six frame colors and five lens colors.  Prices range from $200 to $220.

bikerumor review giro filter sunglasses for cycling

While all of Giro’s cycling sunglasses have replaceable lenses, the Filter is the only one with a mechanical release that holds the lenses in place.  Just twist the side of the arm to release the lense:

bikerumor review giro filter sunglasses for cyclingbikerumor review giro filter sunglasses for cycling

One of the other features I really liked about the Filter was the fixed nosepiece.  Some people really like adjustable ones, and there are some shades that benefit from it.  The upside to these fixed rubber cushions are that the shades are always centered and, at least on my face, they positioned the lenses perfectly in front of my eyes.  The Filter’s arms hold the glasses in place well, but don’t suffer from the overly tight grip of the original Haviks.

BIKERUMOR RATING:

As a group, all of these shades are incredible.  Giro’s foray into sunglasses is off to a great start, and we’d recommend any of these models.  They have a wide variety of lense options and frame colors, but if we were going to nitpick, we’d still like to see a few more color options and polarized lens options on more of the models.  Since everyone’s face is different, it’s impossible to say what will work for you, but we had four different shapes and sizes review these three models and all four of us had positive things to say.  Regarding quality, pricing and options, we’re giving Giro shades a general rating of 4.5 stars…just pick the ones you like best.

bikerumor-thumbsup-4-5

We’ve got some of the new Havik 2′s on the way after the new year, so we’ll follow up with another review on those later.

Comments

Elene - 05/27/12 - 9:43am

I know this is years after you have done the review, but, being new to cycling and being very particular about what I am looking for in sunglasses not only for bright light but also for the mostly dull and often rainy conditions I have struggled to find the right sunglasses. I already own tons of expensive more “fashionable” everyday pairs that are either far too dark or too heavy, or slip down my nose riding my road bike etc etc….. After months of searching I have settled on a few brands and Giro seemed the best, especially as I do love Zeiss lenses in cameras, so was very keen to look into getting some of the larger framed Giros. The problem is I like the largest possible lenses and have a difficult face to get glasses to fit comfortably. Buying online is the only option and it all ends up being a very difficult process. This is review is the best possible help I could have wished for – excellent information about all aspects and not totally male dominated – sorry guys, but it’s so much more useful to know what another woman thinks of wearing them!!!!! Thanks so much for such great help!!! Will be dashing off to get my order in online while the Giros are on a massively discounted sale and still available. Will be looking at all your other reviews in future, thanks!!!

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.