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The Roka SR-1X performance glasses are superlight and immensely comfortable, but for the near-premium price tag you might expect a spare lens.
Visibility is obviously crucial in a pair of glasses and it appears Roka has put real attention into its C3 lenses. The High-Contrast (HC) Fusion Mirror lens on test is designed for "partly cloudy to bright and sunny conditions", and it hits the nail on the head. The glasses provided little help on really overcast and dark days, but on brighter days enhanced vision by boosting the colour contrast, creating a crisper view.
Roka's SR series only comes with one lens, but there are two other options available: a Carbon lens and HC Octane Mirror lens. There's no option on the UK site for purchasing spare lenses at the moment, but we're told that's going to change in the next few months.
The Roka lens coating is probably key to its quality. A 'hydro/oleophobic' coating is applied to the front and back of the lens to prevent moisture from sticking to it, to make it both sweat- and supposedly fingerprint-resistant. I'm not convinced on the fingerprint front as I definitely had to wipe them down a few times. The anti-scratch protection applied front and back seemed to do its job, though, when fumbling fingers failed me at a number of café stops.
There's also an 'anti-fog ri-pel' coating on the back of the lens, a multi-layer anti-reflective coating, and a multi-layer mirror coating or polarisation film creating the "optimized visibility for road cycling".
Removing the lens either for cleaning or replacement is really easy, without any worries of damaging the frame. The centre of the lens pulls away from the frame before the corners follow suit.
The SR-1X lens tested is 50mm in height; if you want a smaller lens the SR-1's is 46.5mm.
Personally, I rate the comfort of a pair of glasses on equal par with visibility, on longer rides anyway. The last thing you want on a long ride is any irritation around your face or ears. No such problems with these Roka SR-1X glasses – they have totally won me over for comfort.
First, ours weighed in at just 23g which, as described on the Roka site, is '#lightaf'. So light in fact that you barely notice them on.
The titanium core wires in the arms provide the necessary retention without being overly tight around the ears, while the arms themselves are covered in the Roka trademarked 'GEKO fit retention system' – an elastomer in a form "inspired by the soft but amazingly sticky feet of the Gecko", apparently. It's claimed to be hydrophilic, chemical-resistant and designed to support multi-directional traction... I certainly never had to worry about the glasses slipping off.
I did, however, have to push the glasses back into place on my nose. As with the lenses, the SR Series only comes with one nose-pad, unlike the three you get with the more expensive Roka GP and CP Series, and even though it's made with the same GEKO technology as the arms, it didn't sit perfectly with me.
The semi-rimmed design, with the thin frame running along the top edge, took nothing away from my field of view on everyday rides. Very occasionally when in the drops I'd find myself looking over the top of the lens. If you're looking for performance glasses for time trials where you're constantly straining to look ahead, the Roka GP Series is probably a better option.
I'm a fan of the sleek and simple design, but if you're looking for more colourful frames you might want to check out Roka's US site, where there's a huge range of frame, lens, temple grips and nose-pad colours to choose from.
Costing between £125 and £140 based on the choice of lens, the Roka SR-1X glasses certainly aren't cheap, but they do look pretty good value compared to some: the Scicon Aerotechs are £224, while the Poc Do Half Blades start at £195, and Oakley's Radar Path EVs are £160.
That said, the 100% Racetrap glasses are the same price but come with two lenses.
The Roka SR-1X glasses aren't cheap, especially when you factor in buying a second lens if you want one, but the quality and comfort are first class.
Good glasses that enhance your vision on bright days, with a comfortable fit and weightless feel
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Roka SR-1X glasses
Size tested: 50mm 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?
Roka says, "Designed and optimized for road cyclists and athletes seeking crystal clear optics with a secure, locked-down fit.
"The SR-1 offers every athlete the perfect fit courtesy of adjustable titanium core wires. Featuring patented GEKO™ technology for unparalleled retention on the roughest of courses, our world class C3™ lenses and lens coatings and simple lens interchangeability, the SR-1 delivers an uncompromising sport frame for racing and training. Weighing in at only 24g, the SR-1 is lighter, faster and more technologically advanced than any semi-rimmed shield on the market."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
HC FUSION MIRROR
Optimized for road cycling, this is an extremely versatile high-contrast lens that also offers significant infrared protection. Designed for partly cloudy to bright and sunny conditions, this lens also performs excellently on the trail.
Lens coatings include front and back-side hydro/oleophobic coatings to keep moisture of any kind from sticking on the lens; front and back-side anti-scratch protection; a multi-layer anti-reflective back-side coating; an anti-fog ri-pel coating on the back of the lens; and a multi-layer mirror coating or polarization film.
The temple arms are fitted with titanium core wires that offer ultralight stability while also allowing the wearer to adjust the temple pads for a precision fit.
The temple pads and nose pad are inspired by the soft but amazingly sticky feet of the Gecko. The patented GEKO™ fit and retention system features a proprietary elastomer for nose and temple pads that's hydrophilic, chemical resistant and supports multi-directional traction with comfort.
Ultralight - 24 Grams
Lens Width - 140mm
Lens Height - SR-1X 50mm, SR-1 46.5mm
Temple Arm Length - 119mm
Toric Shield Single Lens 7 x 4
Very well made product with great details on the temple and nose-pad. Arrives in a well made box to help store it without damage. Secure fit of the lens into the frame.
Great performance, boosting clarity while remaining secure and comfortable. The frame along the top of the lens might prove problematic for those doing time trials, but otherwise great for all riding.
No signs of damage through the testing period despite a couple of drops. If you needed to replace the lens, currently there is no option to buy from the UK site but we're told this should be addressed in a few months.
Weightless feel when worn and coming in at just 23g.
Great comfort thanks to the minimal weight and the titanium temple arms creating a secure fit. Only negative was the lack of adjustability of the nose-pad.
Not a cheap option, but for the quality it is worth the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did exactly what you'd hope, helping to enhance your vision out on the road.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Incredibly lightweight and super-comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lack of nose-pad sizing options, and only coming with one lens.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Although it's not cheap, it is significantly cheaper than many others on the market and performance at a similar level.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're very good glasses, but for the money you might expect more than just one lens, and it's a shame there's only one size nose-pad.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCX My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,