Rapha has expanded its ever-growing range in a new direction today, with the release of the Classic Glasses, with a style that is more Ray-Ban than Oakley but pack in some cycling-specific features.
Rapha says it has partnered with a renowned Italian eyewear, but teasingly doesn’t reveal who that is, to developed a range of three different coloured cycling sunglasses utilising high-quality Carl Zeiss lenses.
They’re a classically stylish design yet have a wraparound shape common of cycling-specific sunglasses, and Rapha says they have a similar weight (30g) and field of vision to the more technical and cycling-specific sunglasses used by racing cyclists.
And despite their seemingly retro appearance, Rapha reckons the shape actually helps airflow to ensure the lenses don’t mist up. They should be compatible with most helmet types says the company.
Naturally, they won’t be cheap. They cost £195. For comparison, that’s the same price as the most affordable Oakley Radarlock glasses, though prices can and do rise depending on lens choice. But still, it’s right at the thick end of the cycling eyewear market.
Rapha is hoping to justify that price with the use of some very high quality materials all handmade in Italy. The glasses are handmade in Cadore, Italy using a Mazzucchelli acetate frame material sourced from Varese in Italy. The temples have a wire core with a soft grip rubber wrapped tips and rubber nose piece, and the hinges are made from nickel. They glasses are sold in an case handmade in Italy by Giorgo Fedon & Figli.
“For me a product must work flawlessly and give the user a special feeling even when simply picking it up to look at it. This is best achieved when the form enhances the product’s use rather than dictating it. With the Rapha Classic Glasses, I believe we have created a timeless style with a sense of speed on the bike and the looks to be worn easily off the bike,” says Miles Gibbons, Rapha Hard Goods Designer & Developer.
Three colour frames will be offered, each with its own distinctive lens colour. The Carl Zeiss lens are coated for 100% protection from UV rays and both the green and brown lenses are polarized for anti-glare. The pink lens isn’t polarised and is intended for low-light conditions.
Unlike most cycling sunglasses which typically offer interchangeable lenses and a choice of lens to suit different conditions, the Rapha glasses have a fixed lens so no changing them for different lighting conditions.
More at www.rapha.cc
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.