Northwave's Blade glasses have a lot of impressive features for a pair that cost just forty quid and with plenty of options regarding frame and lens colour you should easily be able to match your bike and kit.
The lenses have what Northwave calls an off centre base. The axis of the focal centre is aligned with the focal centre of the eye so your eyes don't get tired and the curvature won't cause any image distortion. It's not hugely noticeable at first but if you switch back to some other glasses you do notice how good the clarity is on the Blades.
Like most eyewear they are made of polycarbonate . Considering this material was originally designed for fighter jet canopies they've had little trouble shrugging off stones and grit being fired up off of car and lorry wheels. My usual trick of rubbing wet, dirty lenses with the back of a glove doesn't seem to have resulted in any scratches either.
Our sample came with two lenses, blue and clear, and it's easy to swap them without feeling like the frame is going to snap. They both provide 100% UV protection so you're fine to wear both when the sun's out.
The clear lenses do actually have a very slight brownish tint to them which is enough to help in daylight but doesn't affect performance in the dark at all. The only slight issue I found was some refraction around car headlights on dark evenings. Northwave do do a polarised version of the Blades which would help but unfortunately they only come with smoke lenses.
The lenses are water repellent to thanks to a coating which makes the rain bead off. It only really works in heavy rain though; drizzle, fog and road spray tends to sit there requiring you to wipe them but if you're on the lanes with minimal passing traffic it's a boon.
We've got the fluoro yellow frames for test and they do look pretty cool against the blue highlights, They look much more expensive than their price tag would have you believe.
The nose pad is adjustable and it's all screwed into place as opposed to push fit. The same goes for the arms too. The rubber used for the temple tips and nose pad is very soft and grips well without needing too much pressure.
From a coverage point of view they suited my face fine. No wind came in around the lenses and they fit close enough to the face that insects and grit can't into the eyes. Another plus was the complete lack of fogging even on the most humid wet days.
Finishing everything off are some neat little Northwave logos which are very discrete and neat looking. You also get a hard case, and a soft bag for storage and cleaning that's also somewhere to keep the spare lenses.
On the whole it's a very neat package and well worth the cost. I've bought various glasses around this price over the years. None have inspired much confidence and I've always gone back to my Oakleys but the Blades have a very top quality feel to them.
The fit is good with enough pressure to hold them in place with your head down or in your helmet vents when you're going for that pro look. There is nothing worse than watching your glasses go underneath a following car's wheels.
The refraction of oncoming headlights was my only issue which in the winter months would see me struggling a bit as all of my riding is done in the dark at rush hour.
Great value for money shades with excellent fit and adjustability.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Blade Sunglasses
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?
The Blades sit in the middle of Northwave's sensibly priced glasses range and are designed for any style of fast paced riding whether that's road or mountain biking. I found them really good in all areas and was very impressed with the fit.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polycarbonate Lens - First-rate optical features, excellent impact resistance and extraordinary lightness: polycarbonate lenses also have a low refraction index and are solvent and scratch resistant.
Off Centre Lens - Northwave glasses have lenses with an off-center base: the axis of the focal centre is aligned with the focal centre of the eye so your eyes don't get tired and the curvature, which provides essential protection from sunlight and insects, won't cause any image distortion.
Water Repellent Lens - Perfect visibility even when it's raining or the lenses are wet. The lenses are treated to make them perfectly smooth so any drops of water simply slide off, leaving the surface dry and free from water prisms.
Adjustable temple tips and nose pads for the perfect fit.
Spare lenses included: Clear
Includes Soft carry case and Hard carry case
You don't notice you are wearing them at all.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed, no fogging, scratches or discomfort and all for a decent price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The clarity and fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Night time refraction of oncoming headlights.
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
Age: 35 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.