Review: Bolle Vortex and Draft Sunglasses

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For anyone who’s descended a mountain with one eye open at a time to avoid drying them both out at once, quality eyewear is as essential as any other piece of gear. Sports specific glasses aren’t new, but continue to improve in many ways. In this review we demoed two pairs of Bolle sunglasses. The Vortex (right) and the Draft (left). They were tested on countless mountain and road rides, and in every weather and light condition available.

We were very pleased with both pairs. The Bolle Vortex was named Gear of the Year by Outside Magazine.

Details, specs, pictures, and review after the break…

 

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The Bolle Vortex

Weight: 28 grams

Color: Crystal Smoke Frame, Photo Rose Gun Lens

MSRP$: 129.99

What you get:  Glasses, Crush Resistant Case and a lens wipe.

Features (from Bolle):

  • B-Clear Technology features ultra-lightweight Trivex lens material, Dual-sided hydrophobic/oleophobic coatings
  • CarboGlas Coating gives an armor shell from scratches and abrasions
  • Optics Control System is an interchangeable lens system that allows you to swap out the lenses for different lighting conditions
  • Sport Optical System (S.O.S.) makes it simple to convert into Rx Prescription sunglasses by snapping in a prescription insert
  • b88 frames are made of the finest grade nylon for incredibly lightweight, durable, flexible frames
  • Adjustable Nose Pads to tailor a custom fit, hypoallergenic and comfortable
  • ThemoGRIP comfortable hydrophilic nose pads and temple tips keep the sun glasses in place

Bolle Vortex review

Matt’s Review:

The first time I put the Bolle Vortex on I was impressed by their light weight, feel and comprehensive coverage of the entire field of vision.  The lenses wrap to fit the contours of my face very well and still provide great ventilation even at lower speeds.  I have ridden these glasses on and off the road, on early morning rides, dusk rides and very bright mid-day rides.

Making riding in all types of lighting possible and seamless are the photochromatic properties of the Photo Gun Rose lenses in the Vortex.  Their transition from light rose to dark rose and back the other way was almost undetectable.  The same can be said for the rate the lenses change when entering and exiting tunnels or heavily shaded areas in the woods.

The Bolle Vortex, with their light weight and very comfortable behind the ear grab (very little pressure but provides excellent stance) stayed put, even on the mountain bike!  On foggy road rides they kept enough air flowing to keep them from fogging up and the Photo Rose Gun lenses were light enough to ride without mid-day sun and dark enough to protect the eyes on the really bright days.

My only issue with these Bolle Vortex arises when light is low and faced with headlights.  On multiple occasions on rides in the evening I was passed by oncoming traffic and the headlights of those vehicles multiplied.  I went from one set of headlights to two or three sets of headlights.   The same happened in a tunnel on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I was halfway through the tunnel when a car entered the tunnel and I had to drop the glasses down on my nose to avoid this issue.  I am not sure that this is a “feature” specifically to these lenses but it was an annoying issue to have.

Other than the reflection issue I loved the glasses and would gladly give a different set of lenses a shot to see if they remedied the problem.  I rarely knew that I was wearing these glasses and never once experienced the pressure on the side of the head associated with some glasses when the sides are a fraction too tight.  Fit and finish on the Bolle Vortex was great and other than the light refraction issue I would highly recommend them for an all around pair of glasses to ride on the road or in the woods.

 

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Bolle Draft

Wight: 30 grams

Color: Shiny White Frame, TNS Fire Lens

MSRP: $114.99

What you get:  Glasses, Crush Resistant Case and a lens wipe.

These are a favorite sunglasses of world class athletes Sabrina Jonnier and Chris Legh

Features (from Bolle):

  • B-Clear Technology features ultra-lightweight Trivex lens material, Dual-sided hydrophobic/oleophobic coatings
  • CarboGlas Coating gives an armor shell from scratches and abrasions
  • Optics Control System is an interchangeable lens system that allows you to swap out the lenses for different lighting conditions
  • b88 frames are made of the finest grade nylon for incredibly lightweight, durable, flexible frames
  • Adjustable Nose Pads to tailor a custom fit, hypoallergenic and comfortable
  • ThemoGRIP comfortable hydrophilic nose pads and temple tips keep the sun glasses in place

Bolle Draft Review

Daniel’s Review

These Bolle Draft definitely made a statement with their white frames and fire lenses, one of several color options. At first it was like looking at an ugly baby from the 80’s: “oh wow, it’s…….lovely”. But who are we to judge? We wear colorful tights on a regular basis. So let the review fun begin.

The second you look through the lens you’ll nearly forget you’re wearing any sunglasses at all. Fire lenses or not. The Draft provides more coverage than any of my other glasses. The high and wide lens profile and the rimless frame nearly eliminates the generally accepted edges of the lens. I say “generally accepted” because all glasses have edges and we’re completely comfortable with that. The coverage of the Draft is so wide, that I hardly noticed the edges at all. In fact, I forgot I was wearing them once was frustrated that they weren’t in their case in by bag; true story.

I will mention that the fit of the Draft may not work for anyone with a slender head. The frames themselves have a medium to large fit. My head is not particularly large, and I notice how roomy the frames are. That’s not to say that the Draft didn’t fit well. Not once did the glasses move or shift even on the rigorous down hill descents in the Pisgah Forest, NC. The hydrophilic rubber nose and ear grips keep the glasses in place despite sweat or rain.

In all conditions, wet, dry, road, and mountain, the Draft provided excellent coverage and a comfortable fit. I would recommend the fire lenses for brighter conditions, as they were a little too dark for evenings in the shade of the forest. The only thing negative I experienced with the glasses was a little discoloration around the nose. On an incredibly bright, blue-sky day, I noticed that the blue sky was discolored when I looked up through the glasses while in a dropped position. It’s not often that I keep my head down and look through the upper most portions of the glasses, so it isn’t a condition that I experienced much.

The Draft is a great pair of glasses and my first choice for really bright days. Whether you ride road or mountain, short or long distances, you will enjoy these glasses (provided you don’t have an unusually small head).

 

 

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