New Cycling Sunglasses – Assos Zegho and Hawley’s JetBlack Imports

This here’s a tale of two new sunglasses that aren’t even on the same continent. Literally and figuratively.

Assos new Zegho shades, shown above, are designed in their Switzerland offices and made nearby in Italy using Carl Zeiss lenses. They’re very expensive.

Jet Black is an import from Australia that Hawley has just starting bringing to the states and they’re meant to be a value option with quality and styling to compare with Tifosi.

Click through to see details and more images on both…

2012 Assos Zegho cycling sunglasses with carl zeiss lenses and full uv protection

The new Assos Zegho sunglasses don’t officially launch until November 13, but we got a sneak peek. The styling, shown above on a model, has a European flair, but there’s a lot more to them then looks.

Assos worked with legendary lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss Vision to develop the new TV (Tunnel Vision) tint system. The bottom third of the lens is relatively clear with a  quick transition to full tint. The idea is to keep the road in front of you clearly visible, especially in dark (tunnel) conditions.

2012 Assos Zegho cycling sunglasses with carl zeiss lenses and full uv protection

The Zeghos offer a 180º field of view with claimed zero optical distortion (certified optical class “1 – Superior” according to Assos literature). They weigh in at just 27.5g, which is pretty light for a full coverage pair of shades. Technically named features include ClickFace ProDaptive SkinTouch material at the nose and temples prevent movement even when sweaty or rough terrain. The lenses are hydrophobic and self clearing and have 100% UV protection. They come with a detachable wraparound elastic strap for use when running or mountain biking. They’re handmade in Italy. Retail pricing should be:

  • Noire (black/black): $469
  • Amplify (black/white): $429
  • Werksmannschaft (white/black):$399

Even their literature says the world probably doesn’t need another pair of shades, but they wanted to design something specifically for cyclists, much like their clothing, but they say they’re built to last a very long time. Just don’t lose them.

JETBLACK

jetblack flight cycling sports sunglasses

JetBlack offers three styles of sports sunglasses with clear, tinted and photochromic lens options. The lens tints include smoke, blue and red, all shown here.  All models offer 100% UV protection with impact resistant lenses and lightweight frames.

Above is the Flight, available in white and black frames with all three lens tints. They include three sets of lenses with each pair, clear plus two tints, plus a hard case.

jetblack cruiser cycling sports sunglasses

The Cruiser has carbon inserts on the arms but non-swappable lenses. Options include smoke or blue lenses and white or black frames.

jetblack svelto cycling sports sunglasses

The Svelto gets the regular and photochromic lenses, which adjust from clear to dark when they hit the UV (aka sunlight). The arms are gunmetal alloy, and the regular lens models come with clear and two tints. Frames come in black, blue and white.

Prices range from $39.99 for most up to $79.99 for the photochromic lenses. Shops can order through Hawley Corp.

Comments

Tommy Nickels - 10/28/11 - 3:20pm

Way to go Assos for making the ugliest $500 glasses I’ve ever seen. Not photochromatic and no included interchangeable lenses.

BUT you do get ClickFace ProDaptive SkinTouch material, previously known as rubber.
Oh, and I saw sunglasses with variable tint at the gas station this morning.

Chris - 10/28/11 - 4:04pm

Deeply skeptical of the handmade claim. You really think some artisan carved these out of a chunk of plastic? Plucking something from a mold and cleaning it up really isn’t handmade in my book. Also think they look like ugly women’s glasses.

dave - 10/28/11 - 4:46pm

I got about halfway through before I realized this wasn’t a joke.

Who buys this stuff?

dave - 10/28/11 - 4:47pm

I’m guessing that ‘Zegho’ is Serbian for shithead and the press release is a gag.

Ross - 10/28/11 - 6:57pm

Excellent, I have been searching everywhere for a set of sunglasses that are optimised for riding in tunnels. There is one near my house and I have always been to afraid to ride through it without the correct purpose specific eye wear. Now I just need to find a series of interconnecting tunnels to get me there since no one would be seen dead in these hideous monstrosities in broad daylight.

sambo - 10/28/11 - 8:14pm

i dont understand all the Assos angst. this is the same company that has 450 dollar bibs. its not meant for everyone. its meant for dentists.

Chris - 10/28/11 - 8:54pm

I have several pieces of Assos clothing – mostly shorts and tights – I’ve bought over the years (and I’m not a dentist!) It’s not cheap but it does last forever which makes it a better value than some of the Pearl Izumi stuff I’ve bought that didn’t last nearly as long. One thing I’ve always like about Assos is that their styling is usually fairly conservative. Assos stuff I bought in the early 90s doesn’t look all that different from stuff I bought last year. You can’t say the same for these glasses. These things will look dated in a couple of years and $500 glasses won’t last longer or perform better than $100 glasses. For me that’s what makes these glasses such a joke.

Chris - 10/29/11 - 2:04am

I had a chance to use a pair of the Assos sunglasses on a two-hour road ride. I didn’t find the frame particularly comfortable, and the lenses were absolutely huge; so large in fact that they seemed to cover half of my forehead. Since it was a warm day, I found I lost a lot of natural wind-cooling on my forehead because the lenses were blocking so much wind. Plus, I wasn’t too keen about the amount of glare coming off of the light-colored road through the lower, almost untinted part of the lenses. Oh, and I also looked like a complete idiot when wearing them. I’d rate them as the worst glasses that I’ve ever worn.

Nick - 10/29/11 - 2:59am

I continue to be astonished by assos’ marketing. Looks like the half-naked guy wearing just his bibshorts riding an invisible bike finally gets another god-awful pair of shades to wear in his oiled up photo shoots. I am sure the bibs are great, but give me a flipping break!

Mark Adam - 10/29/11 - 4:20pm

For those who don’t want to wear the ugly Ass-os models, Jet Black seems to have some affordable and fairly attractive options. I dig the Flights. Tifosis are nice, but it’s good to have another option in the affordable yet functional category.

Tom - 10/29/11 - 7:00pm

I think those Assos glasses look good. Not sure I would fork out $400-500 for them but like Chris says Assos kit is usually high quality, not just expensive. It would depend how they fit.

Mark - 10/31/11 - 9:19am

I own an Assos winter jacket and it’s seriously the best bit of cycling clothing I’ve ever worn. I’ve had it four years and it looks as good today as when I bought it. These glasses, on the other hand, are ridiculous. In fact do yourself a favour, pick up a pair of Salice 006′s, look damn cool, and save yourself enough cash to buy the winter jacket.

Diogenes - 11/17/11 - 12:43pm

Initial review of the Assos Zegho windshields… http://wp.me/p1ZIFc-1

betaomega04 - 01/23/12 - 11:44pm

So I work for a bike retailer and we carry quite a bit of Assos stuff, including these Zegho shades. I’ve used every pair of shades under the sun, and I have to be honest…these could possibly be the most comfortable pair of shades I have ever put on. I was originally very skeptical with the $450ish price tag as you guys are, but I have to say that this is a pretty advanced and functional set of shades. Unfolding them, the arms don’t glide—they have small incremental clicks—so depending on what the contour of your head is, they can be adjusted to fit most people with a very well-fitting and conforming grip, but not one that’s too tight. They are rather flexible, but not in a bad way: you’re not really “wearing” them…they’re just…there, and it’s quite pleasurable. The coolest part is how the shade part of the lens works. The top is the darkest, and it progresses to clear at the bottom. In a normal riding position (head slightly down), there is a good amount of shade. As you lift your head, the shade starts to go away and you’re left with clear lens just as your head starts to face up just a bit…it is a very practical effect if you’re in areas where the lighting conditions change rapidly, and in my opinion makes it a better alternative to polarized lenses because it allows you to see a lot of detail like wet spots and imperfections in the road that could be potentially hazardous. I believe that was one of Assos’ intentions behind designing the shades, which is something that has detoured me from using polarized lenses in the past while riding.

To be honest, I haven’t had the chance to use it on the road, but with the several minutes I got to spend with them, I’d be telling you the truth when I say that the Zegho’s are one of the coolest pieces of cycling gear I’ve seen in a while. Do they need to cost almost $500? Probably not. But if you don’t mind being that weird guy that can afford such nice things, then I think this could potentially be that one item that sets you apart in your group, and you have the gratification of knowing that it’s functionally the best pair of cycling glasses money can buy. Knowing the integrity that Assos delivers with all of their products, I believe the hype, and it might be worth it to try a pair.

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