These 100% Speedcraft SL sunnies offer decent clarity and massive wind protection, but a lack of adjustment leads me to advise that you try before you buy. They're also not the easiest when it comes to changing lenses.
- Pros: Stylish, comfortable
- Cons: Expensive, fit is rather big, changing lenses isn't easy
The fashion for larger sunglasses has been growing over the past few years, and 100% has stepped into that market with notable riders being sponsored to show off its shades. I'm quite a fan of this trend, with my usual Oakley Jawbreakers and Radar EVs hiding my caterpillar eyebrows while also offering a great field of vision and easy lens cleaning. Getting these on test, I was curious. Could the new brand challenge the well-established Oakley?
Well... while neither my Jawbreakers nor Radar EVs are perfect, I'd say the 100% Speedcraft SLs don't do enough to justify their price tag. The fit isn't great on me, though of course it might be better for you, plus I found the arms are too long, and removing the lens is a job I don't want to repeat.
It's not all bad, though, so I'll begin with the positives. First up is coverage. The size and height of the lens mean that no wind is getting through to your eyes, and you also get a completely uninterrupted view. With no frame around the base, and nothing joining the nosepiece to the upper frame, visibility is really rather good.
The frame height was designed to 'significantly increases vertical visibility in the riding position', and even when chewing the bars, I had great visibility up the road.
Lens quality, though, is an area that could be improved. Ours on test have the Dalloz lens, and while it's pleasant to use in cloudy conditions, I found it too bright on sunny days; my Oakleys give better contrast and a slightly darker tint. I prefer a little more contrast, but if you like a neutral lens you'll get on better with the optics provided by the Speedcrafts.
I also found there was just a little distortion, although it's really minor – if you weren't looking for it, you probably wouldn't notice. But with competitors like Koo and Smith getting their lenses spot on, it's disappointing that 100% hasn't nailed this most crucial aspect of these glasses.
While out riding at this time of year, the lens got quite a few flies smacking into it, along with sweat. After a month of abuse, the lens is unmarked and it's easy to get pretty clean with water from my bottle and a bit of jersey. That's all thanks to the 'Hydroilo' coating which is still working well after quite a bit of cleaning.
I do like to remove lenses for a proper clean, especially after a race where they'll get really covered in sweat, but removing the lens on these isn't the easiest. I couldn't find a gentle way of removing it, and when putting it back into the frames, the corners didn't want to clip in properly, resulting in fingerprints on the lens. If you know you're going to be cleaning your sunnies regularly, be warned.
In the box you get an extra low-light lens, a smaller nosepad, a microfibre bag and a storage case with slots for extra lenses. My test set didn't come supplied with all of this, but the option to change the nosepiece would be great for my face shape.
The arms of the Speedcraft SLs, as I mentioned, are on the long side at 118mm from tip to join. That's quite a bit longer than Oakley Jawbreaker arms which can be adjusted between 99mm and 110mm. I tried the Speedcraft SLs with a Lazer Z1 helmet, Kask Rapido, Abus Game Changer and a Kask Mojito and the Speedcrafts never sat well. It's not an issue I have with Oakley's Radar EVs, which also have non-adjustable arms. The Speedcraft SLs are intended for smaller faces so I don't understand the need for such long arms... Every face shape is different, though, so try with your helmet before buying.
The rest of the fit is a little hit and miss for me. While there is good space under the lens for airflow, the upper frame sat against my eyebrows slightly. This did cause a little bit of moisture to build up at the very top of the lens, but there was no great build-up of mist. It's possible this was down to the nosepiece which, as mentioned above, is replaceable with a smaller version.
The Ultra-grip TPE rubber that is used for the nosepiece and the ear grippers is really good. It's much better than the stuff on my Oakleys which can slip slightly when the going gets very sweaty. These stayed comfortably in place, and in fact the glasses are very comfortable to wear for extended periods, helped by a weight of only 34g.
If you've got the cash, though, there's plenty of established competition: Oakley's newer Prizm models all give the height of these sunnies with, to my mind, better lenses and a few more features that make them easier to live with; there's also the Smith Attack Max at £199 which has a really nifty lens changing system and excellent clarity. If you prefer your lenses more 'neutral', you might want to consider the Koo Open Cubes.
Overall, I'm left a little disappointed by the Speedcraft SLs. They're a stylish design that is right on trend but the lens quality, poor fit and lack of features are a let down for the not-insignificant price.
Stylish and simple sunnies, but overly expensive for what you get
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 100% Speedcraft glasses
Size tested: Matte White /Hiper Blue
Tell us what the product is for
From 100%: "The Speedcraft is designed to elevate your performance to the next level without compromising your style. Engineered with the finest materials, 100% eyewear exceeds the demands of top-level athletes resulting in a lightweight, comfortable fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2 mm thick, six-base cylindrically cut lens for maximum clarity.
Available in regular and short lens options for the optimal coverage and fit.
100% UV Protection
Hydroleophobic exterior surface coating.
Full range of interchangeable replacement lenses available for all light conditions.
The frame is lightweight and the lens coating is good, though the lens quality isn't as good as others I've used. The rubber material on the nosepiece is very good, but the arms are too long (for me, anyway) and the super-high fit won't work for everyone.
They're fine in cloudy conditions but too bright in sunny weather. The coverage is very good though.
The lens coating is still working well and I can't see many scratches.
Very good indeed.
The low weight helps all-day comfort, but I found my eyes were slightly sore in brighter conditions.
This section of the high-end market is tightly packed by the likes of Oakley, Smith, Salice and others. At this price, I expect a brilliant lens but this one is a bit disappointing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good eye protection but too bright for sunny days.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The style is bold and there are loads of colours.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lens quality is eclipsed by rivals; they're not sharp enough, the contrast isn't great and they're too bright.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really, they're too bright for me on sunny days.
Would you consider buying the product? Nope, they're overly expensive without the quality the price demands.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if they're dead set on looking like Sagan.
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're stylish looking sunnies with good gripper material, but the lens quality isn't good enough to warrant the money and that brings the overall score down.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.