The Smith Pivlock V2s combine high quality lenses with a frameless design that provides bags of peripheral vision, making them ideally suited for cycling and other sports. At £120, they aren't cheap, but they compare favourably to the other marquee brands in this area and are worthy of consideration for anyone looking for a set of high quality sunglasses.
The Pivlocks derive their name from the lens release mechanism whereby the arms pivot upwards and release completely from the lens. To finish the job, one simply pinches the two ends of the nose piece together, which then slides off. The design is well thought out and easy to get the hang of, without having to force or bend the lens unduly. This means less chance of getting oily fingerprints all over the lens, or in the worst case scenario, cracking the lens or frame itself. The only (very minor) downside to the frameless design is when changing the lenses, you've got four separate pieces which have to be put somewhere, making the process a bit fiddly if done in the boot of a car before a race.
The arms are flexible and conform easily to the side of one's head. At 120mm long, they do protrude behind the ear a fair bit which can make them overlap with the retention systems on many helmets, but their flexibility ensures that they can easily be adjusted so that this is never a problem, while the rubber earpieces provide a secure hold. As someone with a medium width head, the Pivlock V2s fit me perfectly.
Another interesting feature of the V2s is the nosepiece which can be adjusted to three positions. Unlike many other sunglasses which use nosepieces which are bent to the correct width, the V2's nosepiece is indexed to the three positions which a reassuring click. This system seems to be much more secure with less chance of the nosepieces being bent out of shape when storing the sunglasses back in their box, or when shoving them in one's helmet. I found myself using the narrowest setting which enabled the glasses to sit a little further from my face for improved airflow, as well as sitting a little higher for better coverage when riding in an aggressive position.
Speaking of coverage, the frameless design provides great peripheral vision to the sides, but especially over the top making it ideally suited to aggressive, head-down riding or even time trialling and triathlon when using visor-less helmets. For the latter group, Smith offer a model with similar styling and an even bigger lens – the Pivlock V2 Max. The Pivlock mechanism is identical between both models, so it should actually be possible to interchange both the standard and Max lenses if desired.
The lens quality is very good and provides crisp and undistorted vision even at the peripheries. The model tested came as standard with the 'Blackout' lens which is a mirrored lens design for bright days. For duller weather, the V2s come with both a high contrast 'Ignitor' lens (my go-to lens for changeable UK conditions) which seems to work wonders helping the rider pick out variations in the road surface and other small details, and a clear lens. The lenses are given individual slots in the provided hard-case, which is a little on the large side for regular travelling but a quality item nonetheless.
Though the lenses aren't slotted to avoid fogging, I never found it to be an issue with the V2s when moving and set up with the nosepiece in the narrowest setting. Stopped, the lenses would occasionally suffer some minor fogging, but this was soon dispersed once I got going again.
Overall, the Pivlock V2s impressed with their excellent lens quality, backed up by the frameless design which removes nearly all obstructions from ones field of vision. Though not cheap, the fact that each set of V2s comes with three separate lenses means that they do offer good value for someone searching for a single set of sunglasses to satisfy all their riding needs.
High quality, performance-orientated sunglasses with excellent lens quality and frameless design
road.cc test report
Make and model: Smith Optics Pivlock V2 sunglasses
Size tested: Uni, Black
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?
According to Smith, the V2s will "take you from the start line to the podium". Whilst I can't definitely confirm that statement, the V2s are designed for all types of riding, but will particularly suit those who spend a large amount of time in an agrressive, head-down position as the frameless design really improves the field of vision when looking up the road
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Available in 13 different frame and lens colour combinations. Technical specifications include:
- MEDIUM FIT / MEDIUM COVERAGE
- CARBONIC TLT LENSES
- EVOLVE FRAME MATERIAL
- HYDROPHOBIC LENS COATING
- 3-POSITION ADJUSTABLE NOSE PADS
- SLIDE-ON TEMPLE TIPS
- HYDROPHILIC MEGOL NOSE AND TEMPLE PADS
- 7 BASE LENS CURVATURE
- MIL-SPEC: SUPERIOR BALLISTIC IMPACT PROTECTION PER US MIL-PRF-31013 STANDARD
- MIL-SPEC: UNCOMPROMISING OPTICS AND COVERAGE PER ANSI Z87.1
The lenses are quality items and have retained their clarity and remained scratch free despite plenty of wet weather riding and travelling. The temples are flexible while the ear pads provide a secure hold on the head or the helmet.
Excellent clarity of optics and field of vision, especially for those who often ride in an aggressive position.
So far, so good after six weeks of daily use and plenty of travelling.
The frameless design means less material and therefore less weight.
The V2s are average in terms of size and will fit most people. The temples aren't tight and restrictive but do provide a secure hold nonetheless.
Not cheap, but considering their performance and the extra lenses included in the price, the V2s do look like good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: as a set of performance oriented sunglasses, there's not much I'd change.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Peripheral vision enabled by frameless design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Changing lenses can be a bit finnicky due to the four separate pieces.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mtb,