The Swiss clothing makers famous for their classic black cycling shorts are launching a new product called Zegho later in the month; their first departure into eyewear while also saying, "Assos is not an eyewear company."
Having owned up to a certain gap in their expertise, Assos let the impressive package of Flash animations on their website take just long enough to provide a dramatic pause before the realisation that a collaboration with legendary German optics specialists Carl Zeiss is probably a good enough partnership for a venture into cycling glasses.
Zegho: this is the 'Noire' model.
As they say, "Does the world need more eyewear? Probably not. But we -- racing-oriented high performance cyclists -- do. The Assos Werksmannschaft, our in-house product development pro team and, in essence, our product engineers, feels that the currently available generic sports glasses could be improved to meet the specific demands of the toughest sport in the world: cycling."
The new product, called Zegho - pronounced Zay-go - comes in three versions for different weather conditions and is notable, according to their website, for being incredibly light at 27.5 grams with soft and flexible contacts with the head and nose they even give a special name: Zeropressure.
Assos Zegho: this yellow-to-clear option is called Amplify.
The big story though is the lens -- note the singular, it's a larger than usual single piece of Polyamide -- which Assos claim gives an uninterrupted 180° view and a special Zeiss coating called Ri-Pel which is "anti-smudge, anti-static, chemical resistant, easy to clean, hydrophobic, oleophobic and more durable."
Unusually, the new glasses will be neither polarized nor photochromic, Assos claiming that polarisation distorts the appearance of the road surface and colour-changing lenses cannot change fast enough to cope with overcast from trees and tunnels.
What they are offering instead is a patent-pending technique called Tunnel Vision where the lens shade density changes quickly to clear about 2/3 of the way down the lens. This way, they say, it only takes the slightest tilt of the head to see a completely clear view.
Of course, you were going to ask the price and as usual we'll say at this point that UK pricing isn't final yet but the US price is between US$400-460 depending on model. That could mean as much as £300-345 here. Yikes.
UPDATE: UK retailer Wiggle has posted prices of £299.99 for the yellow Amplify model, £309.99 for Werkmannschaft and £319.99 for Noire.