Good, protective glasses for sunny conditions, though the frame can affect over-the-shoulder vision
Northwave Phantom Sunglasses
7 10

The Northwave Phantoms are decent glasses for sunny conditions, and they're a reasonable price too.

I'm not saying that 25 quid is dirt cheap but a lot of glasses at about this price look and feel a bit, you know, rubbish. These are fairly basic specs but they do a good job.

Why do I say 'basic'? Well, the nose pads aren't adjustable and you can't swap the lenses, but if they fit and you want something just for bright conditions, these are a good buy.

The frames feels pretty sturdy although there's enough flex in them that they'll comfortably fit a variety of head diameters. The nose pads and the insides of the arms are soft and they remain grippy even when you work up a sweat. I didn't find these slipping down my nose when working hard out of the saddle like some glasses.

The curved polycarbonate lenses provide good coverage against wind, insects and anything pinged up from the road. Northwave say that the lenses are off-centre, meaning that the axis of the focal centre is aligned with the focal centre of your eyes rather than the middle of the lens, which seems sensible enough. They don't appear to refract light much at all, so you get good vision of the road ahead.

The mirrored lenses darken bright conditions considerably, reducing glare so you don't have to squint, and they increase contrast. That means that they're great for bright days but not suitable for dull conditions or evenings.

They also offer UV 400 protection which means they filter out 99-100% of UVA and UVB light with wavelengths up to 400nm.

The only downside as far as vision is concerned is that the frame can impede your view when you check back over your shoulder. This is something that's common to many glasses with frames that extend right around the lenses. You can adjust by turning that little bit further although I must say that I find life a bit easier with open frames.

Still, unlike Oakley M Frames and other glasses of that ilk, the Phantoms don't look completely sport-specific so you'll probably get away with using them off the bike too.

The Phantoms come with a microfibre bag and a semi-rigid zipped case and they're also available in matt brown.


Good, protective glasses for sunny conditions, though the frame can affect over-the-shoulder vision

road.cc test report

Make and model: Northwave Phantom Sunglasses

Size tested: Uni, Matt black/red

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

They're general cycling glasses although they don't look so cycling-specific that you can't wear them off the bike.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Northwave say, "First-rate optical features, excellent impact resistance and extraordinary lightness: polycarbonate lenses also have a low refraction index and are solvent and scratch resistant."

Rate the product for quality of construction:

The construction quality is pretty good, especially considering the price. They feel sturdy.

Rate the product for performance:

They don't have any adjustability to fit and you can't swap the lenses, but they sit well and offer good protection.

Rate the product for durability:

Surprisingly robust.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

You don't notice them particularly.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

I will drop/stand on/sit on/lose every pair of glasses I own sooner or later. It's inevitable. If I've only paid £25, that makes it a little easier to handle.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They do the job very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit, good lenses, robust feel, they don't look cheap.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The bottom/side of the frame interrupted my vision when checking back over my shoulder. I could adjust by turning my head further, but I'm used to using glasses without any frame in that area.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,


Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.