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review

Alba Optics Delta BLK VZUM Lava glasses

9
£129.88

VERDICT:

9
10
Exceptional lightweight sunnies that hook well for a secure hold
Lightweight
Changeable lens
Retro styling
Secure frame
Narrow arms won't suit all
No hard case
Not helmet dockable
Weight: 
30g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Alba Optics Delta glasses feature a unique frame design that delivers on holding them securely to your face, whatever terrain you charge through. The lens has impressive clarity, and even though the price is just below that of some premium designers, you are getting the premium experience.

The Italian brand brings iconic shapes of the past back to the peloton, but adapted with modern technology. Delta is Alba Optics' first model and it is inspired by designs from Italy in the 80s.

> Buy these online here

The frame of the glasses is made from Tr90 which is a nylon/carbon fibre blend. Alba Optics says it is 20% lighter than conventional materials, as well as promising more protection against damage in the event of a crash.

2021 Alba Optics DELTA SND VZUM LAVA - arm hinge

This frame weighs in at 13g, while the lens itself is 17g. Together totalling 30g, this is a very lightweight pair of glasses. For example, the Rudy Project Defender ImpactX Photochromic 2 Black glasses, which were praised for being lightweight, come in at 34g.

2021 Alba Optics DELTA SND VZUM Lava - folded

The arms of the Deltas are 115mm long. This is quite short, which means they are less likely to interfere with the retention system of your helmet. To put this in perspective, the Oakley Sutro Lites are 135mm and that length plays nicely with some, but not all lids.

2021 Alba Optics DELTA SND VZUM LAVA - arm

The arched shape hooks around your ears, dropping around 50mm down, and this holds the glasses in place incredibly securely. The arms do track in slightly narrow, so it feels like you are stretching these outwards when slipping them on, but this provides a reassuring fit. However, I would say that these might be too narrow for those with wider heads, and the curvy design doesn't dock so well in helmet vents.

The VZUM Lava lens fitted to the pair on test is designed to enhance visibility on cold tones in bright conditions – there are seven other options, including a photochromatic lens. All of them protect against potentially damaging UV rays, with UV400 protection.

2021 Alba Optics DELTA SND VZUM LAVA - inside

The lens is made from a scratch-resistant polycarbonate with an oleophobic layer added to repel dirt and water. I've been gravel riding with these, where grit is more likely to be thrown up, and the lens has put up a mighty defence and is lasting well.

Alba Optics' decentred spherical lens has a variable thickness, designed, it says, for better glare defence, for minimum distortion and for more volume between your face and lens for improved ventilation. The 146mm wide and 60mm deep lens certainly delivers impeccable clarity. Plus, the tight, close wrap that curves around also does very well at defending you from wind and light trying to sneak its way in from the sides, while horizontal slots at the top of the lens on each side help eliminate any misting up – these are subtle but effective.

2021 Alba Optics DELTA SND VZUM LAVA - front

The interchangeable lens system is okay – it's not the smoothest for swapping over, but it does work and the design ensures the lens stays securely in the frame with no rattling at all. By pressing on the nose pad at the front side of the frame, this then goes behind the lens (to join the rest of the nose pad) and the lens is now released. Next, it's best to hold the frame sideways with one hand to pull out the lens with the other. This system does require some force but the strength of the frame is holding up well, so far.

Available in seven different frame colours and with eight lens choices, there is decent customisation both for getting the look you are after, as well as a lens to suit your riding conditions. A drawstring pouch is included and a microfibre cloth for cleaning, but I would have preferred a hard case for keeping these one hundred per cent safe.

> Buyer’s Guide: 31 of the best cycling sunglasses

At £129.88, the Deltas are in the premium ball park, but the lower end of it. They're lighter and cheaper than both the Koo Spectro sunglasses (34g, £169.99), which similarly impressed with great clarity and minimal fogging, and the 100% S3 MAAP glasses (34g, £170), which also provide excellent coverage.

Overall, the Deltas are light, well priced and offer a high-performance viewing experience. With such an impressive lens and frame design, these really are excellent.

Verdict

Exceptional lightweight sunnies that hook well for a secure hold

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Alba Optics Delta BLK VZUM Lava glasses

Size tested: One size

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?

Alba Optics says:

"DELTA glasses are inspired by models from the 80's and 90's.

The glasses wearability allows a perfect vision when shifting your eyes from the pedals to the road. This particular aspect enables the athlete to stay focused on his performance without interferences. The temples are strong and guarantee to stay put even in case of shocks or sudden head movements."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Alba Optics lists:

– Ventilated VZUM™ lens

– Interchangeable VZUM™ lens

– UV400 protection

– Lighter Tr90 frame

– Weight: 26gr

– Handmade in Italy

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Sits very securely and provides wide wrapping coverage, protecting you effectively from light and wind trying to come in from the side. The interchangeable lens system is also well designed, with no rattling.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Quite a lot of force is required to swaps the lens, but so far the frame is showing impressive strength and there is no rattling.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
10/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Retro styling, very lightweight and the interesting frame design that hooks round your ears and provides a very secure hold.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

No hardcase, and not possible to dock these in all helmets.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Cheaper than other premium offerings from the likes of Koo and MAAP.

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

While these are still quite expensive sunnies, they deliver a premium experience just under the price of similar models. The lens provides excellent clarity and the changeable lens system ensures no rattling. Plus, the frame is very lightweight for its strength. The narrow arms won't suit all head shapes – and don't suit all helmet docking systems – and I would have liked a hard case to keep them safe, but overall I'd still say these glasses are exceptional.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 177cm  Weight: 63kg

I usually ride: Road bike  My best bike is:

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: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track

Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.

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