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The dhb Photochromatic Half Frame Sunglasses offer decent performance in a variety of conditions without looking obviously technical or breaking the bank. I am also pleased to report that I found them very comfortable worn for long periods.
The lenses are made from shatterproof, scratch-resistant polycarbonate and feature a filter category 3, which is heavily tinted and an obvious choice for strong sunlight, with a mirror finish that serves to subvert glare when riding in direct sunlight or when it's being reflected along wet roads. They also, according to dhb, provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
The photochromatic technology works very well for the most part: they react better to subtle changes in light than sudden and extreme changes such as harsh morning/evening sun, and though they're not as quick-reacting as much more expensive models I've used, such as Shimano's S-Phyre Rs (£129.99) and Julbo's Aerospeeds (£135), I wouldn't consider it a deal-breaker considering their price.
Around dusk, they handle the steady, incremental darkness surprisingly well and they've never given a misleading view of surfaces, or conditions ahead – optical clarity has remained consistently good. To date, I've not needed to remove them in very low light.
The hydrophobic coating is good, too – rain, drizzle and muddy spatter beads up and slides away, if, again, not as quickly as on more expensive models.
They're not as big as some in my collection, but I'm pleased to report I've had no issues with rain, wind, dirt or grit sneaking past.
I have experienced some minor misting, but this was cured by adjusting the glasses' position and moving them away from my face.
The matt black frames feature silicone grippers to ensure slip-free tenure around the ears, and a rubberised nosepiece to keep them unobtrusively in place. I find myself broadly compatible with most off-the-peg shades, though these are a looser fit than some around the nose; it felt disconcerting to start with, but there's been no annoying slip while road riding.
The arms are less tenacious than some designs, but have gone unnoticed, with no hint of discomfort even on day rides, keeping the glasses exactly where I've wanted them.
Off-road, they tended to bounce around a little – worth noting if you're fond of mixed terrain riding or take towpath cut-throughs on your commute – but they are geared towards road riding.
The glasses have taken some direct hits – smaller stones flicked up by large vehicles – without showing any signs of superficial let alone more serious damage.
Though slightly flexy feeling, the frames have stood up to the usual, everyday carelessness so there's no reason to think they would fail under normal use.
There's not much to rival these at this price, specification-wise. If you don't mind a trail flavour, then the RockRider XC Race Photochromic sunglasses might give them a run for your hard-earned. They're almost a fiver more but come with a good spec and a two-year warranty.
A few quid more buys you BBB's BSG-58PH Impress photochromic glasses for £54.95, which boast UV 1, 2 and 3 category protection. The lenses automatically shift between 85 and 17% light transmission depending on the brightness.
Otherwise, the dhb Photochromics offer a lot of bang for very little buck. They also come with a compact softshell carry case.
Impressive glasses for most conditions and road-biased riding, with only some minor compromises
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb PhotoChromatic Half Frame Sunglasses
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?
Lightweight, photochromatic, half frame sunglasses which offers UVA and UVB protection, the dhb PhotoChromatic Half Frame Sunglasses, the frame is in matte black with mirror finished lenses to eliminate glare
Featuring a half frame, the dhb PhotoChromatic sunglasses offers protection from sunlight, wind and debris and has a lens filter category 3 which is heavily tinted for use in bright sunlight.
The PhotoChromatic lenses go darker when exposed to ultraviolet light with a UV absorbancy to give you 100% UVA and UVB protection. They are shatter-proof and scratch-resistant to make them highly impact resistant against debris which may flick up from the road whilst out riding. A mirror finish eliminates glare from the sun which proves advantageous when riding in sunlight on wet roads or into direct sunlight.
Stylish, Practical Frames
A rubber nose gripper helps keep the sunglasses in place. A hydrophobic coating is featured on the inner and outer lense which helps to repel sweat and water in intense training sessions. The matt black frame is lightweight for added comfort and is finished with subtle dhb styling.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lightweight matte black frame
Photochromatic lens with filter category 3
Rubber nose gripper and at temples to help keep these in place
Shatter-proof and scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens makes these sunglasses highly impact resistant
Hydrophobic coating on the inner and outer lens helps repels sweat and water
Mirror finish to eliminate glare
UV absorbency give 100% UVA and UVB protection
Subtle dhb styling
Comes complete with soft dhb padded case.
Reassuringly solid so far, although the arms feel less substantial than more expensive models.
Good all-rounders, particularly when price is taken into account.
No immediate cause for concern.
Very light and only noticeable in the positive sense.
Sit against the face and temples unobtrusively, even on long day rides.
Offer a lot of bang, for very modest buck.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall performance has been very impressive. The hydrophobic coating lacks the water shedding prowess of some and the lenses don't react at the same speed or cope with sudden and extreme changes in light as much higher-end models, but this isn't problematic in the everyday sense, and are compromises I would expect given the price point. If you are looking for a single set of glasses for bike and general wear, they're good value.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice styling, comfortable to wear and generally decent optics.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much when everything's taken into account but being picky, the looser fit meant more frequent adjustment when tackling unmade roads.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The RockRider XC Race Photochromic sunglasses are £44.99, BBB's BSG 58PH photochromic glasses are £54.95.
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 good glasses for general, road-biased riding, provided you accept some minor compromises.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)