Performance eyewear for your peepers
Riders have a hard time finding eyewear lenses that are tinted enough for bright sunlight yet transparent enough for tree-covered singletrack. Uvex, an eyewear company over 80 years old, offers the $200 Sportstyle 104 Vario with a lense that adjusts to the lighting conditions.
Tech Features: The Sportstyle 104 Vario sunglass is made from thermoplastic polymers, which they call “polycarbonate”–the same stuff bulletproof glass is made from. They offer 100-percent UVA, UVB, UVC protection, Variomatic lens tinting, and are coated with an anti-fog treatment called Supravision.
Field Test Results: The Sportstyle 104 Varios are lightweight yet have a sturdy feel. They take everyday abuse well and do not tweak out of shape during rides or stowed in the gear bag. The temples are narrow, helping compatibility with all-mountain style helmets.
The Variomatic lens is the heart of this sport sunglass. It helps eliminate carrying an extra pair of clear or brightly tinted lenses for when the light goes dim. The most important traits of a self-adjusting tinted lens are how quickly it can change tinting, how dark it becomes and how clear it will fade to.
As soon as the light hits the Sportstyle 104 Vario, the tinting begins. How fast does it happen? The Sportstyle 104 Varios take about 25-30 seconds to go from clear to dark. You don’t notice the changing of the tint. What you do notice, though, is how dark they become when exposed to bright sunlight and how quickly they will fade to clear when you are in the darkest parts of your ride.
The problem is 25 seconds is too slow for real-world use. The lens can’t keep up as you pass from shaded to exposed trail. When we rode well-shaded trails with patches of sunlight, it became challenging to get our eyes to adjust quickly enough to the natural light source and the changing of the lens tint.
The Sportstyle 104 Varios come equipped with a removable sweat blocker pad that is attached to the inner part of the sunglass and rests above your eyebrows. It does its job of wicking up a little sweat, but it did a better job of redirecting the moisture.
We were concerned that the sweat blocker pad would close off the ventilation of the glass, causing it to fog up, but we didn’t experience any fogging because of the lens vents, the channels between the sweat blocker pad, and the lenses’ anti-fogging coating.
The Sportstyle 104 Vario eyewear performed well, and you could tell that Uvex did their homework when creating this sports glass;however, until the Variomatic lenses work instantly, save your money and go for a traditional lens.