A decent pair of lightweight glasses is a must for real riding comfort, but not only do they need to fit well, feel unobtrusive and provide protection both from the sun and debris, they’ve got to look good too.
Most frequently known for their distinctive helmets, Catlike also have a comprehensive range of sports eyewear, designed with the needs of the cyclist in mind. The Shadow is the company’s top of the range model, so you’d probably be justified in expecting a lot for your not insignificant amount of money. These are not cheap glasses. There are more expensive models and brands around, but not that many.
There’s not denying the Shadows are a very, very light pair of glasses. At just 28g for frame and lens they really are featherweight, and you can barely feel them when wearing them. They come with clear, dark and yellow low-light lens options, all wrapped up in a drawstring cloth bag and a sizeable protective hard case. The frames are designed to be slightly adjustable at the temples, in order to fine tune the tilt of the glasses, as well as having a bendy adjustable nose bridge to enhance comfort. The polycarbonate anti-fog lenses are light but designed to provide protection from wind, debris and UV (all Catlike lenses block 100% UV) and the optical quality is very good, with no blurring, distortion or lensing effects.
The fit and level of adjustment meant that the glasses were comfortable to wear and provided good protection from the wind, but I found all-round clarity of vision to be hampered by the hexagonal area where the lenses meet the legs, the bit designed to adjust. This is quite large and while riding I was constantly aware of it, finding it intrusive and distracting. So although the glasses, as intended, were virtually imperceptible to wear due to their feather-light weight, they were not quite so invisible. The hexagonal adjustment area also causes the glasses to catch in hair.
The light weight materials used coupled with the adjustment hexagon and the way the interchangeable lenses fit into this also leads me to question the longevity of the glasses. Changing lenses was quite tricky, and the stress this put on the tabs at the edge of the lenses was clearly visible. If I bought a pair of these, I would almost certainly end up leaving them with just the one lens option in place, in order to prevent damage to the glasses. This obviously defeats the object of having interchangeable lenses in the first place.
On the looks side, these are neither a super cool pair of shades, nor nerdy goggles. You’d probably not wear them off the bike, which means they’re a fairly expensive option unless you’re constantly in the saddle. They do come in five colour choices.
Uninspiring looking and expensive lightweight glasses. One for the pros or wannabes.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Catlike Shadow 3-lens glasses
Size tested: n/a
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?
Top of the range glasses designed to be so light and comfortable that they are virtually imperceptible in use.
Very light and comfortable to wear, but some of the details mean they are actually more noticeable rather than less.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and with high optical quality
100% UV protection in all lenses
Non-slip contact points on legs and nose bridge
Adjustable nose bridge and tilt to legs
Super light weight. Good optical clarity of lenses.
Comfortable, light and protective but adjustment hexagon proved to be constantly visible and a distraction.
Also catches on hair.
The stresses placed on the edges of the interchangeable lenses while changing makes me seriously doubt how long they will last without damage.
Light and very comfortable apart from legs catching in hair. Adjustable nose bridge and leg angle makes for good fit.
Not sufficiently good looking or casual to wear off the bike, so an expensive option for bike-only use.
Also, you'll probably only ever use one lens, rather than changing them.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As clear lensed cycling eyewear, they perform adequately, giving good protection and comfort. But, as interchangeable lens glasses, they are not particularly user friendly, nor confidence inspiring.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Clarity of lenses. Light weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Visibility of adjustment hexagon on frame.
Difficult to change lenses. Lots of stress put on lens side tabs in process.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Not as confidence inspiring, versatile nor as good looking as you'd want at this price.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.