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review

Alba Optics Delta Lei VZUM sunglasses

8
£147.31

VERDICT:

8
10
Smaller frames than before, but the same excellent shaping, clarity and contrast – wavy arms still don't dock well, though
Effectively sized for smaller faces
Great clarity
Secure fit
Lightweight
Wavy arms don't always dock with helmets well
No hard case
Weight: 
28g
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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The Alba Optics Delta Lei sunglasses take the already excellent Delta design and reshapes it for smaller (typically female) faces. The result is even lighter than before, but with the same great performance.

Four years after launching the original Delta cycling glasses, Italian company Alba Optics has added the Delta Lei to their small but diverse range. It echoes the original but is built for a smaller facial structure – i.e. women. Alba doesn't categorise its products by sex, but 'lei' is Italian for 'she'.

The resulting frame is 2g lighter, 4mm shorter across the top, and finished with an appealing, metallic iridescent hue.

> Buy these online here

It hosts Alba's signature lens, the shatter-resistant polycarbonate VZUM. Alba elaborates at great length about its contrast-boosting prowess, but without going into light transmission or atmospheric factors here, it works. The clarity in bright sunlight is excellent. Plus they handle lower light conditions pretty well too.

2021 Alba Optics Delta Lei Vzum ML King - inside frame.jpg

These green lenses are the ML King option and are aimed at the brightest days which, Alba says, increases contrast on cold tones by 7%. They also come in ML Cielo (blue) for less intensely bright days and Pink for low light, and the lenses are removable so you can swap according to conditions. None are polarised.

2021 Alba Optics Delta Lei Vzum ML King - front.jpg

They're rated UV400 – the highest protection level – and have a scratch-resistant coating, which has kept these shades tip-top so far. The oleophobic layer, designed to resist moisture and grease, repels water well and remains unaffected by sweat.

The wraparound design covers an optical cone of 180 degrees, says Alba Optics, and this curved shape provides excellent coverage, diverting dust and debris effortlessly from road to trail. While the Delta Lei is wider between nose and brow than even my massive POC shades, I never had any fit issues with my helmet.

2021 Alba Optics Delta Lei Vzum ML King - arm.jpg

There are two ventilation slots on the upper lens, which worked well in keeping my vision steam-free even in an unusually warm test period. At 28g, the Leis feel very light, and are impressively unobtrusive given the secure fit.

2021 Alba Optics Delta Lei Vzum ML King - hinge.jpg

The Lei frame uses the same TR90 as the original Delta: it's a thermoplastic that's extremely bendy. The arms are the same length as the original Delta at 120mm, and feature the same, eye-catching look: a wave designed to hug the temples securely.

> 31 of the best cycling sunglasses — protect your eyes from sun, crud and flying bugs

This it does, possibly a little too well. I had to stretch them open a little to get them on. Once in place though, they feel reassuringly secure, without pressure points.

2021 Alba Optics Delta Lei Vzum ML King - arm detail.jpg

That did mean that, when worn atop my head, they felt too tight, plus the arms don't dock that well with some helmets. Top marks for their primary purpose, however (especially when compared to the unisex glasses I own, which feel too loose by comparison).

In the box with these glasses comes a drawstring pouch made from breathable fabric,  and a microfibre cloth for cleaning. There's no hard case, however.

Value

At £147.31 these glasses aren't cheap, yet sit somewhere in the middle of recently-tested similar shades. While they're nearly twice the price of the £79.99 BZ Optics RST Mirrored Glasses, whose frames weren't too huge, they're much cheaper than the £173.52 Rudy Project Cutline glasses and £200 Roka Matadors.

Given the latter are focused (so to speak) on providing sharp optics and low weight, the Leis look like a pretty good deal at just £53 less for just 2g more.

Overall

The Delta Leis had a promising start, given the 9/10 review Anna Marie gave the original Deltas. These new smaller versions meet expectations in terms of clarity, coverage and comfort – the only real niggle is that those fancy arms still don't dock well with all helmets.

Verdict

Smaller frames than before, but the same excellent shaping, clarity and contrast – wavy arms still don't dock well, though

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Alba Optics Delta Lei Vzum

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: "Ideal in bright sunlight, offering colour contrast enhancer and maximum blue light protection. Increases the contrast by 7%. Mirror coating."

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

CAT 3 | VT 12%

BLUE LIGHT TRA 10%

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Premium feel.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Excellent clarity and contrast.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Great so far.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

Light for this price.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Very comfortable. They're uncomfortable on top of your head when off the bike though, if that bothers you.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

Brilliant on the bike – these glasses would get full marks but one gets knocked off for the docking issue.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The smaller frame, and they're a good fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The arms are too tight for me when pushed up on my head, which I do probably too much.

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

They're in the middle of the market. It's a good price for all this effective tech and a premium feel.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes – the fit is great

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

I'd like too give these glasses an all-round 'excellent' but the arm design means they don't dock easily with every helmet. That aside they're still very good, however.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 172cm  Weight: 60kg

I usually ride: My Scott Foil   My best bike is: Oldie but the goldie, CAAD 8

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Triathlon, Audax

Janine is an Ironman triathlete, GB Age Grouper and an Ironman Certified Coach who has raced multi-sports since 2013.

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