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What a difference a lens makes, eh? A couple of months back I tested the Julbo Fury sunglasses and the lens really let them down. But Julbo's Reactiv photochromic lens is excellent, making these glasses ideal for changeable conditions. Or any conditions, pretty much.
At 25g these glasses are very light and they sit easily on the head; the arms grip well even when you're sweaty, and the nosepiece, though it's not adjustable, fitted me very well.
The lens is big, and covers a wide field of view. There's a gap between the frame and the lens at the edges to get a bit more airflow; I found these photochromic lenses fogged less than the standard lens, although that might be down to conditions rather than the lens itself. The shape fills the space to the base of the helmet pretty well and wraps around the face effectively, giving you good protection from wind and rain.
The clarity of the Reactiv lens is excellent, and its hydrophobic coating is pretty good at shrugging off the rain. It has a pretty neutral colour cast, and a 17%-75% transmission depending on the conditions. That's a big enough range for it to be clear enough for riding at night, and dark enough for bright sunshine, and everything in between.
They're reasonably quick to adapt, going from fully light to fully dark in about 20 seconds if you take them out into the sun. So they won't be adjusting from light to shade if you're flitting in and out of tree cover, but they cope well with whatever the prevailing conditions are, and I never found myself thinking they were too light or too dark when out riding. If you're heading from bright sunlight into a dingy café you might need to take them off, but then you probably would anyway.
There's no doubt that these are fairly pricey, with the Reactiv lens pretty much doubling the price from the standard one. You can get photochromics a lot cheaper – Decathlon's RockRider XC Race Photochromatic sunglasses are under £50 – but plenty of photochromic options from the likes of Oakley and Rudy Project will set you back more.
Anyway, I didn't like the standard lens at all, and I very much do like this one. It's everything you'd want a photochromic lens to be: quick to adapt and slow to fog up, with excellent optical clarity. If you're looking for a set of glasses you could wear on pretty much any road ride without having to root around and change lenses, these are they. It's a pity they don't come with a hard case so they're better protected on your travels; the soft case supplied is nice enough but won't offer much protection in a packed kit bag.
Comfortable photochromics that react quickly – good for almost any riding conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Julbo Fury Reactiv photochromic glasses
Size tested: Lens depth 53
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?
Julbo says, "With a striking and radical style, wide cylindrical lens and perfect venting, FURY is made for speed! Lightweight and designed to fit under any helmet, it offers top quality grip. Sharp lines go perfectly with the latest trends in cycling and heighten the tech credentials and performance of these frames. Available with our Spectron polycarbonate lenses for perfect clarity of vision and protection."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lens depth : 53
Distance : 15
Temple length : 115
Base : 5
Hinges : Non
Lens size : 0
Age : Adult
Masse nette en g : 38 g
Nose Grip : Flexible, shock-absorbing grip insert on the bridge.
Air Link Temple system : This elastomer shock absorber insert fitted at the end of the temple makes the glasses lighter and more comfortable
Full Venting : Highly vented sunglasses structure allowing full circulation of air to prevent fogging.
Grip Tech : Exclusive soft-comfort material on the temples that doesn't stick to hair, giving perfect grip and comfort
Panoramic view : Wide lens surface for maximum field of vision.
Total Cover : Maximum protection from sunlight in extreme conditions.
CLEAR VISION WHATEVER THE CONDITIONS
Photochromic lenses (cat. 1 to 3 - visible light transmission rate: 17% - 75%), they get darker or lighter to match changing light conditions and therefore adapt to any time of day and to the terrain. Internal anti-fog coating and external oil-repellent coating (prevents marking, makes cleaning easier and facilitates water runoff). Ideal for trail running and mountain biking.
NTS (Non Temperature Sensitive) technology: the lens gets darker or lighter regardless of the temperature.
Color : Yellow
Sun protection : Photochromic
VLT (visibility light transmission) : 17% - 75%
Material : NXT
Good quality specs, well finished, nice hinges.
Really good clarity, lens changes effectively, usable in pretty much any conditions.
Marking them down a bit here for the lack of a hard case.
25g isn't going to slow you down much.
Try before you buy if you can as they're not adjustable, but fitted me really well.
£155 ain't cheap; they're okay value for money, photochromics come more expensive and also quite a lot cheaper.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: I liked them a lot.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfy, good lens clarity.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive, soft case a bit stingy for the money.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Oakleys with a photochromic lens are around £200 RRP, the Rudy Project Impact X glasses we tested were nearly that too. On the other side of the coin, Decathlon's Rockrider specs are under £50.
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 an 8 on performance, but the overall price and the lack of a hard case marks them down a touch. Still good, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.