When Assos announced their $400+ Zegho sunglasses in October, the usual eye rolls and sarcasm led the comment stream.
Since then, I’ve had a chance to ride the Amplify ($429) yellow lens model for about two months and will say this without hesitation: They are hands down the best cycling sunglasses I’ve ever put on my face.
The Zeghos were designed specifically with cycling in mind, and the feature set bears that out. The Zeiss lenses are water repellant and fade from clear to color/tint as they go up to make the road directly in front of you perfectly clear while sunlight further ahead are covered (with the dark lenses, anyway). The nose piece has independently adjustable arms, perfect for the majority of us with asymmetrical faces. The arms wrap around your head and remain in place but put virtually zero pressure on your skull.
I’ve ridden the Zegho’s in the rain, on mountain bike night rides and bright sunny days. Here are the reasons I like them so much…
While the lens is one piece, it’s curved independently for each eye, as you can see from the double bubble look above. For me, this meant no discernible distortion at any angle. Coverage is massive, which has three benefits:
- They blocked mud and spray from shooting under the lens and getting in my eyes, something even moderately sized lenses allow.
- They blocked all wind from hitting my eyes. Crosswinds, headwinds, speed winds. On any day that’s good. On freezing cold days, it’s magical.
- They have (claimed) 100% UV protection, and the massive coverage means little chance of UV rays leaking around the lenses.
Assos designed the lens fade, called TV for Tunnel Vision, to maintain visibility on the road in front of you when entering dark areas like tunnels. An unexpected benefit is when looking over your shoulder on the road to check for cars, the clear section and lack of framing means it is all but invisible. This makes it extremely clear and quick to see what’s behind you, a big safety bonus.
On the brightest, sunniest days, I was wishing I had the dark tinted lenses. Otherwise, the yellow lenses have been excellent.
On one night mountain bike ride, it started drizzling. The rain rolled off so quickly as to be all but imperceptible, meaning I could continue to hammer. The bits of mud that starting flying up rolled or fell off quickly, too. It was pretty impressive. While riding, they lenses remained clear of fog. Once stopped, any lense is going to fog up a bit on cold days, and the Zegho’s are no exception. Once moving again, they clear in about four to seven seconds depending on temp and speed, which is as fast as any other sunglasses I’ve tested.
I’ve worn them with helmets from Giro (Aeon, ProLight), Specialized, Rudy Project and Mavic, and only with the Aeon did the arms hit it a bit funny and made it hard to keep them lined up where I wanted them.
One last note on their performance. Over three months of riding with them in all temperature ranges, I can’t remember more than two or three times when I had to readjust them mid-ride. They’re so light and fit so well, I almost forget about them, which is exactly what I want to do.
With any luxury item, I expect a certain level of fancy packaging and story telling and Assos doesn’t disappoint. As a brand, they’re pretty good about building a story around their garments and gear. So is Rapha. I like it, it’s inspiring even if somewhat unattainable. For instance, they support some rides with a Porsche Panamera. They hand out bananas to riders and call it the Bananamera.
The case is good. It’s leather-like and has held up to being tossed into my gear bag and stuffed in a full car. Perhaps the only niggling issues are that the inside of the case can leave small flecks of black felt fluff on the lenses and that they only come with a small cleaning wipe square, not a full microfiber bag as is common even with inexpensive sports shades.
Actual weight is 27g, spot on with their 27.5g claim.
I’m very particular about sunglasses. I’ve worn them daily since I was a kid. Do I love the styling of the Zegho’s? For cycling, I can deal with it (and get away with it). Any other time? No. These are for on the bike only, in my opinion.
Are they worth the price? Well, like anything expensive, if I had to think about whether I could really afford it, I probably can’t. But if the means are available, I’d recommend them pretty highly.
Random anecdote: Standing trailside to pee, I looked at the landing spot and thought “Oh my, I’m dehydrated.” Then my eyes moved to the source of the stream and I thought “Phew, it’s clear, I’m well hydrated.” Then the disconnect made me pause. Mentally pause, not the flow. “Oh, yeah, these yellow lenses are clear at the bottom.” It was a little weird.