First Look: Smith’s Pivlock V2 photochromic lenses
Given how much we like their unobtrusive, lightweight, and stable Pivlock V2 sunglasses, we were excited when Smith announced a pair of tint-shifting photochromic lenses for the glasses this fall. As easy as it is to swap out Pivlock lenses, it’s even easier not to- and Smith’s variable gray and Ignitor lenses were soon on their way. How have the lenses handled autumn’s changing light? Hit the jump to find out!
The Photochromic Ignitor lenses are available either as standalone lenses ($80) or bundled with the Impossibly Black frames shown above or Matte Clear frames with navy blue accents (both $240). The photochromic gray lenses are currently only available as standalone lenses ($80). The angular frames and lenses are attractive and fashionable without being too ‘Euro-disco’- that is unless you wear them casually. Their real beauty is from the inside, where the perfect shape completely removes the lens edges and frame from the wearer’s field of view. While everyone’s head is different, the Pivlocks have as perfect a fit as this reviewer has experienced- thanks to the adjustable nosepiece and gently grippy arms.
With excellent light transmission at their lightest, the gray lenses have become my choice for pre-dawn road departures and mountain bike rides that turn into night rides. Their clarity is fantastic and, when darkened, are more than dark enough for midday desert or snow riding. This makes the photochromic gray lenses are perfect for anyone who does a good amount of early or late commuting and/or night riding.
The Photochromic Ignitor lenses, on the other hand, are my pick of the two. The rose tint adds just the right amount of contrast to wooded trails and really helps to bring out bumps in the road. Transitioning from a pale pink at their lightest, the color-changing lenses actually block more light than the standard Ignitors at their darkest- and in doing so address my only complaint with the fixed-transmission Ignitors.
Pricing on the bundled Photochromic lenses is a bit odd: when bundled with frames and two other lenses, pricing ($240) is the same as any other 3-lens Pivlock V2 combination ($160) plus the photochromic lens of your choice ($80). Sure, the Blackout and Blue Mirror lenses in the bundled sets are unique (and the Impossibly Black/Blackout combination is pretty badass), but for the same money, it could be hard to chose the 3 lens option over the four lens.
Though not inexpensive, both lenses and their frames have proved excellent on the road and trail and are backed by Smith’s hassle-free lifetime warranty. When all is said and done, the photochromic options take some of the best riding glasses on the market to near-perfect and would be a great upgrade for existing Pivlock V2 fans. With the Photochromic Ignitors and a clear lens set aside for night rides, there’s really no need for anything else.