The Roka CP-1X sunglasses are very expensive but very impressive, as high in performance as they are in price.
The glasses on test use a Glacier Mirror lens, which has the same kind of qualities as Oakley's Prizm – it's designed to remove a lot of blue light, allowing for better clarity. It succeeds in this and the clarity provided is impressive, especially in brighter conditions.
The lens is replaceable and getting it in and out is relatively simple, although despite the very high cost of the glasses they don't come with any additional lenses. (The glasses are available with other lens options to suit different conditions, though replaceable lenses are not yet available on Roka's UK website.)
The field of vision is also very impressive, particularly so as they are full frame. My go-to glasses are Oakley Racing Jackets, so I'm used to wearing full frames (I was wearing them before G made them cool). I like the Oakleys not just because of the full frames but also because I want the widest field of vision possible, and the CP-1X glasses beat them on this. (The X part of the name refers to their having a deeper lens than the CP-1, 56mm rather than 52mm, providing '8% more total viewing area', according to Roka.)
One of the first things I noticed when I opened the box was that across the glasses there is not a single vent. This is something that is pretty common for half frames, but for full frames it can result in fogging issues. With these, I didn't have a problem at all, even on long, slow climbs on humid days. When I was waiting at traffic lights after a long ride there would be some fogging, but as soon as I set off they cleared almost instantaneously.
In terms of fit, the glasses sit on the head very well thanks to 'Geko' technology used throughout the arms and nosepad. This is essentially a kind of grippy rubber that is hydrophilic, chemical-resistant, and maintains grip through movement in multiple directions.
There is some adjustability in the arms, and the nose buffers are also replaceable and malleable, so you can adjust the glasses to fit you. I found that throughout the testing period, regardless of how sweaty I got or how rough the terrain was, they didn't shift on my head.
Another reason they sit so well is that they are impressively lightweight at only 29g (Roka says 27g), even more so when you consider that these are full frame glasses.
When you compare them to other lightweight glasses, such as the Rudy Project Defender ImpactX or the Scicon Aerotechs, both are 3g heavier. Okay, it's not a huge amount, but it still represents a roughly 10 per cent improvement.
These are very, very good glasses, but there is a rather huge elephant in the room – the price. They come in at £225, which is pretty steep for a pair of glasses. They're even more expensive than the GP-1X glasses that Mat reviewed, which he thought were expensive at £215. There are others around the same price, though, such as the Poc Do Half Blade sunglasses – with the same rrp – and the Smith Attacks, which are £195, though they do at least come with a second lens. The Scicon Aerotechs mentioned above are £224, and have a photochromic lens that darkens in bright light.
Overall, these are incredibly impressive glasses that offer great clarity and a wide field of view, and they stay in place securely. Roka has clearly taken a lot of time and effort to make the best glasses it possibly can, but all of this testing and material choice comes at a high price and it is one that many will find difficult to justify.
An excellent pair of sunglasses that fit very well and offer a great field of vision, but the price is hard to swallow
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Roka CP-1X sunglasses
Size tested: 56mm tall lens
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?
A pair of high-performance glasses designed to offer unrivaled protection, clarity, and weight.
Roka says, "DESIGNED AND OPTIMIZED FOR THE ATHLETE SEEKING FULL-FRAME PROTECTION IN THE LIGHTEST PACKAGE ON THE MARKET."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT: Weighing in at only 29 grams.
PREMIUM LENSES: Anti-fog, fingerprint resistant, and anti-scratch protection.
ADVANCED COATINGS: Front and back-side hydroleophobic coatings to keep moisture of any kind from sticking to the lens
PERFECT FIT FOR EVERY ATHLETE: Titanium core wires for a customizable, precision fit.
PATENTED GEKO PADS: features a proprietary elastomer for nose and temple pads that's hydrophilic, chemical resistant, and supports multi-directional traction with comfort. It's also designed to not snag hair. Three GEKO nose pad options included to ensure a fit for every face.
Very well made glasses; firm hinges, lenses that offer impressive protection, and excellent body construction.
Very good performance throughout the review, with a wide field of view, very little fogging, and firm hold on the head.
Well made body and replaceable lenses (although you can't currently get them in the UK) so likely to last even if you need to replace the lens.
Very lightweight, around 10% lighter than others within this price range.
Impressively comfortable thanks to the amount of available adjustment and the grip offered by the Geko elements.
These glasses are top of the line; they are excellent, but they are £225, which is a huge amount to pay for a pair of sunglasses.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, they stayed on my head nicely, offered excellent field of vision, and have an impressive lens that provides great clarity.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The field of vision is a real plus – for full frame glasses it's not easy to see this much, but whether I was looking over my shoulder or upwards in an aero position, you can still see basically everything.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're expensive, but not alone... Poc Do Half Blade sunglasses are the same price, Smith Attacks are £195, Rudy Project Defenders are £192, and Scicon Aerotechs are £224.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? If on sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If on sale.
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are excellent glasses that anybody would be happy with, given their numerous qualities, but the difficulty is justifying the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.