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The dhb Vector PhotoChromatic Lens Sunglasses offer an amazing field of view thanks to that extra-large lens; its clarity and the fact that it's a fast-reacting photochromic lens meant that I found myself reaching for these glasses in a wide range of conditions from low-light, dull, rainy days to sunny bright ones.
As you'd expect when you see a lens this large, the field of view is excellent. I'd go as far as saying that it's even better than you get with a pair of Oakley Jawbreakers which are still, to my mind, the oversize glasses to beat.
The frame at the top is amazingly unobtrusive; it sits close to the forehead which means that the upward field of view is excellent. This is particularly useful if you're in an aggressive position, for example when sprinting, head down in a TT position or just chewing your stem.
Peripheral vision is also excellent, and the wraparound design has the added benefit of protecting your face from wind and rain.
Cutouts at the top of the lens ensure that the Vectors don't fog up excessively, and while riding I had no issues even on slow climbs when there's not much airflow. When stopped at traffic lights I did have a few instances of fogging, but this soon cleared when I set off again.
To keep the glasses in place there are rubberised sections on the arms where the glasses sit on the ears, and also on the nose-piece. The arms are what I would call a medium length – they're about 15mm longer than a set of Jawbreakers on their shortest setting, but marginally shorter than the Oakley Sutro's arms.
For cycling, my preference is short arms on glasses as it minimises the risk of interference with a helmet. I found that the dhbs were short enough to be fine with my Met Trenta helmet but did interfere with the larger retention system on a Kask Protone. The arms on the Vectors can extend about 6 or 7mm with a simple pull, but personally I'd rather they got 6-7mm shorter.
The nose-piece is adjustable, but I found the Vectors wanted to sit quite high up my nose, certainly higher than other glasses I've tried. This has both positive and negative attributes.
On the positive side it means the field of vision is excellent – you can hardly see the frame or nose-piece at all unless you're really looking for it. On the downside, I found that maybe once per ride my eyebrow would touch the lens, resulting in a nice sweaty smear which isn't great for clarity. This occurred wherever I positioned the nose-piece, but of course this could just be down to my face shape.
Generally, I'd always try to buy a pair of glasses that sit as close to my face as possible without either my eyebrows or eyelashes touching the lens. For me the Vectors are just a fraction too close, but buying through Wiggle you can take advantage of its excellent returns service if you find they don't fit your face.
When that giant lens doesn't have a sweaty smear on it, it's an absolute masterpiece! It sounds silly but it is amazingly clear, and the photochromic reaction is not only quite fast but also natural feeling. It's actually very hard to notice the change, especially on the road, but I can assure you that it is happening, just like when your pupils change size. I found the lens was most impressive when mountain biking on sunny days, when changes from light to dark are severe as you come in and out of wooded areas.
dhb doesn't publish a claimed reaction time for its lenses to transition, but I've timed it at under 30 seconds – Dave reckoned about 20 seconds for Julbo's Reactiv lens in the Fury glasses he tested earlier in the year, which cost £155. It's by no means instantaneous, but I never found myself thinking they were too light or too dark when out riding.
One of the things I like most about these sunnies is just how often you can use them. I'm a big fan of riding in glasses year-round as there's nothing worse than a fly or some mud in the eye, and the Vectors will be perfect for this. I've ridden on some gloomy and rainy days, on road and off, with no issues; the lens is slightly more tinted than a pure clear lens, but I found this no hindrance other than in complete darkness. At the other end of the spectrum, I've used them for some pretty bright summer rides and they perform exactly as you'd hope a pair of sunglasses would!
At £90 the Vectors aren't cheap, but nor are a lot of alternatives we've tested recently with a lens this good: I've already mentioned the Julbo Fury Reactiv photochromic glasses that have an RRP of £155, the Rudy Project Defenders are £191.99 and Oakley's Jawbreakers £180. There are, of course, cheaper alternatives out there – the RockRider XC Race Photochromic sunglasses that off.road.cc tested, for example, are £45 but don't appear to offer quite the same field of view.
Overall, although the fit isn't my personal favourite, I'd say the Vectors are well worth a try – everyone's face is a different shape so they might work better for you, and if they do, they're very good.
Reasonably priced photochromic sunnies that are excellent in loads of riding conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Vector PhotoChromatic Lens 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?
These sunglasses are aimed at both road and offroad riders. dhb says: "Vector PhotoChromatic Lens Sunglasses come with a wide field of vision with a PhotoChromatic lens which adapts to changes in your lighting environment. The lightweight frame is stabilised with an adjustable nose piece that provides a comfortable fit and keeps the glasses in position during intense activity."
I agree with all of that, although I have found that other sunglasses fit my face better. The photochromic lens is excellent and meant I used them successfully in a wide range of conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Photochromic lens technology
Adjustable nose piece
Fixed lens design
Full frame with wide field of vision
Vented lens to avoid fogging
Suitable for Road or MTB riding
Good for the price, if not quite as über quality feeling as high-end options from the likes of Oakley.
Excellent field of view and brilliant photochromic lens.
Lens seems quite robust, I got whacked by quite a large stone and not even a scratch.
37g ain't much!
Rubber in all the right places, but for me sat a little high up my nose – everyone's different though.
They're not cheap but they should get plenty of use as they're more than capable in lots of conditions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well both on and off-road, field of view is useful in both disciplines where the Vectors excelled.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Field of view.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The occasional eyebrow rubbing with the lens leaving smears.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can get glasses for half the price – such as the Rockriders at £45 that I mention in the review – which do nearly as good a job, but others that don't seem to offer a lot more can cost twice as much. I think these are good value in comparison.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall they're very good – comfort, field of vision and high lens quality are all excellent for the money.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,