Review: Uvex’s lightweight, customizable SGL 202 Race Vario photochromic sunglasses
Shortly after our first look at Uvex’s SGL 202 Vario sunglasses last summer, we head from the brand that changes were in the works for the 2013 model year and that new samples were on their way. As impressive as the SGL 202s were, the lightweight and flexible arms could be less-than-secure on smaller and medium-sized heads. Can the change from a minimal plastic to a formable metal-core earpiece make the 24g color-shifting glasses a go-to set? Hit the jump to find out!
Despite arms that look and feel more substantial than the SGL 202s, the SGL 202 Races only add 1g over their predecessors. That weight is impressive and the Uvex remain some of the lightest we’ve tried (about 4g lighter than Smith’s frameless Pivlock V2).
Uvex’s Vario photochromic lenses run from 78% light transmission at their lightest to a very dark 9% at their darkest. The lenses have been excellent in a wide range of conditions, from night riding to midday desert riding. The transition takes place quickly and unobtrusively, even when first stepping outside on a bright day. The lenses seem perfectly calibrated, and I never find myself second-guessing the lenses’ darkness for a given amount of sunlight. The oleophobic coating that allowed me to cleanly wipe Sharpie from the lenses at Interbike has kept other, more common crud from accumulating- but does make the back of the lenses feel sticky under a cleaning cloth.
For the SGL 202 Race Uvex have done away with the brown Vario lenses. This will be a disappointment for riders (especially mountain bikers) looking for some extra contrast, but given the smoke lenses’ better sales, Uvex are kicking things off with that lens. The brown lens may reappear if the sales are there to support it, but I’ve been perfectly happy with the smoke.
Fit wise, the SGL 202 Races do work better on my noggin than the previous version. It may not seem like much, but the sturdier arms with their longer pads really do help keep the glasses put better than the airy SGL 202s’ arms ever could. This is an improvement on road (where they stay put while in a tuck) and off (where they’re less likely to jiggle and move). Add in a pair of adjustable nose pieces and you’ve got a pair of glasses that can be adjusted to fit most heads. Just make sure to keep the glasses fairly close to the face, otherwise sunlight peeking around the back of the lenses can create odd (temporary) dark spots.
When all is said and done, $160 is a good chunk of change for a pair of sunglasses and doesn’t allow much room for compromise. Happily, the SGL 202 Races are some of the lightest glasses we’ve tried while maintaining the adjustability that too many brands have abandoned- making them all but disappear when riding. The lenses are excellent- with a wide transmission range that is well-calibrated to outside conditions and providing a clear, nearly unobstructed field of view. One pair of glasses that can be worn on any ride, night or day, sunny or grim, the Uvexes are worth a look.