Alpina's S-Way CM+ sunglasses offer good clarity and peripheral vision in a distinctive design that wraps around pretty comprehensively. They have their foibles and don't suit large faces, but this is a solid pair of sunglasses.
The Alpina S-Way CM+ sunglasses make a real statement. The instant I slipped these on I felt I'd stepped back in time to the days of Mario Cipollini. These shades are (slightly) reminiscent of the wraparound style Cipo sported in the mid-nineties - something that will appeal to many, if not those who embrace the current trend towards oversized, squared frames (Oakley Sutro, anyone?).
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The upper frame sits slightly prouder than the bottom (which almost touches my cheeks), promoting good airflow when riding despite the generally close fit. The central dip in the top of the frame can annoy, though – it's in my line of sight.
However, my partner used the S-Ways for a couple of rides and didn't notice it as much, so perhaps these will better suit those with smaller faces.
You can adjust this a little with a pivot in the hinge, bringing the top of the sunglasses upwards by a few millimetres/degrees, but doing so slightly reduces the airflow. I found optimum to be the middle of the three pivot settings.
The lenses are one of the highlights of these sunglasses - the green mirror looks great from the outside, but looking out the acuity is even better (complete with an anti-fog treatment). I've personally always preferred lenses that don't change colour towards the edges, and these are very consistent in tint. It's neutral to cool in palette, and peripheral vision is excellent.
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They provide great detail too, and they're good at reducing glare in bright sunlight. When it showers, the hydrophobic coating helps you focus on the road without any annoying build up of water, and it performs well. Alpina claims the ceramic lens is 'break proof' - a bold claim, and while we didn't test them to destruction, they do appear strongly scratch resistant.
The arms are curved to increase grip without squeezing the head, and on both mine and my partner's differently shaped heads, they work with the nose pads to hold the sunglasses firm and secure. The 'Cold Flex' arms, which can be twisted into shape, ensure that custom fit.
One last nice touch is the low-key box, which is easily recyclable brown card with low ink usage, and the simple cleaning-cloth bag included for the shades to live in.
At £85, I reckon the Alpina S-Ways offer reasonable value. Recent competitors include the 30 South Trail RX at £65 and Panda Optics Conquer at £79, though you can easily spend north of £200.
These are good sunglasses at a good price. The Alpina's distinctive design help them stand out from the crowd, while the quality is good and the tweakable fit is effective – though perhaps best for those with smaller faces and heads. The S-Ways won't be everyone's cup of tea for looks, but they're well worth considering on their merits alone.
Distinctive sunglasses that perform well, though arguably best suited to smaller faces
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Make and model: Alpina S-Way CM+ Glasses
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?
Alpina distributor Moore Large says: "The Alpina S-Way CM+ sports glasses have a large spherical panoramic lens with an enormous field of vision and maximum protection. The CM+ version also provides high-performance technologies from Alpina and a great price/performance ratio. The mirrored lens reflects infra-red rays and thus reduces strain on the eyes. Meanwhile, 100% UV protection is guaranteed at all times. An anti-fog coating on the inside ensures that the lenses do not mist up. The surface is roughened to a microscopic level. This prevents moisture from adhering and the lens from misting up. In addition, water and dirt roll off more easily thanks to the hydrophobic coating on the outside. The malleable straps with adjustable angle allow the glasses to be adjusted individually to the shape of the face. The glasses provide 100% UV protection. The best visibility. The best protection. At all times. That's what the Alpina S-Way CM+ offers."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- 100% UV protection
- The anti-fog coating on the inside of the lens ensures a fog-free view
- Clear vision thanks to water-repellent, stain-resistant nanostructure on the lens
- The reflective surface reflects infrared rays
- The ceramic material lenses are break-proof and offer 100% protection
- The glasses can be perfectly adjusted with malleable temple ends and nose pads
- Clear, undistorted vision thanks to decentred lenses
- Improved vision and protection from draughts thanks to strongly domed lenses and a targeted airflow management that prevents lenses from fogging up
Rate the product for quality of construction:
The adjustable hinge system is simple but sturdy and holds firmly.
Rate the product for performance:
It ticks all the UV protection boxes, and the lenses are well ventilated and don't fog up easily. I find the upper centre section is visible when looking forward, but my partner (with a smaller face) doesn't find this such an issue.
Rate the product for durability:
Seem very well made overall.
They feel light, and the way they wrap around and grip the face means what weight there is is well distributed.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
The customisable arm socks help to get the fit just right – comfort is very good. The same material is used for the nose piece, but it's less noticeable there (but still comfy enough).
Rate the product for value:
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good quality lenses, good peripheral vision and simple construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The centre section is often visible, the style isn't for everyone and they suit smaller faces better.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's there or thereabouts. Recent specs with similar, uh, specs include the 30 South Trail RX at £65, and the Panda Optics Conquer at £79.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No - they don't suit my face
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
The S-Way offers a distinctive look, decent quality levels and good performance. The visible part of the frame may annoy, though, and arguably they're more suited to those with smaller faces.
Age: 30 Height: 188cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: I ride: I would class myself as:
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