Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

review

Rapha Explore Sunglasses

8
£140.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Good looking, impressive clarity and lots of accessories included – a great pair of do-all cycling glasses
Impressive lens with excellent clarity
Good looking
Come with lots of accessories
No instructions on how to swap lenses
Weight: 
29g
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.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Rapha Explore Sunglasses offer impressive clarity in a range of conditions, they don't fog up easily, and the inclusion of a strap and clear lens is a big plus.

In the last few years Rapha has really embraced the gravel scene, and these new Explore glasses actually sit at the top of the pyramid in terms of the company's eyewear offerings, above its Pro Team models.

> Buy now: Rapha Explore Sunglasses for £140 from Rapha

The glasses come in three colour variations: Brown Havana/Bronze Lens, Brown/Black Mirror Lens, and Dark Navy/Purple Green Lens, plus a clear lens with each. The Dark Navy version on test looks really good in my opinion, with a slight gradient and slight transparency in areas across the frame to give them an interesting aesthetic.

As with all glasses, though, they live and die by the lens and luckily these excel in that area. Rapha has designed these lenses itself, with the key quality being the ability to heighten the contrast between different road surfaces, essentially meaning you can better see potholes, gravel, and so on. This is along the same lines as Oakley claims of its Prizm lens, and with this purple green lens there is definitely a similarity in clarity and how they highlight different areas of the road.

2022 Rapha Explore Sunglasses - lens inside.jpg

A hydrophobic and anti-fogging treatment helps with clarity, along with simple and effective venting: six holes on both sides across the top. This prevents fogging while you're riding, and when it does occur – when you're stopped at traffic lights, for instance – it clears quickly, even at lower speeds.

2022 Rapha Explore Sunglasses - lens.jpg

The field of vision is also impressive, with only a very small section of frame visible right in the top left and right corners of your peripheral vision, and there is nothing getting in the way for shoulder checks.

2022 Rapha Explore Sunglasses - side.jpg

The inclusion of a spare clear lens is a nice touch, and swapping them over is relatively simple, although it would be useful to have some instructions somewhere as I needed to initially just try it out and hope I wasn't going to break anything.

2022 Rapha Explore Sunglasses - case open.jpg

As well as the extra lens, the glasses also come with a soft case, a hard case, a spare adjustable nose pad, and a strap.

2022 Rapha Explore Sunglasses - case.jpg

Thanks to the the interchangeable nose pads and and the grip on the arms they're stable and comfortable on the head. Despite using these on some very rough roads and for several hours at a time, I didn't notice any discomfort or lack of stability, and no hot spots at the points of contact with the skin.

2022 Rapha Explore Sunglasses - nose bridge.jpg

Helping with this stability is the weight, or lack of: 29g is very impressive considering the Oakley Encoder glasses come in 1g heavier and cost £64 more, and the Scicon Aeroshade Kunkens are £40 more and 7g heavier.

Okay, at £140 they're not exactly cheap, but it's still a pretty good deal when you compare them with others at the same sort of price. The Koo Demos, for example, are £1 less but 6g heavier, don't come with a hard case or spare lens, and I don't think look as good. The Spektrum Blank sunglasses are £5 less but 4g heavier, and don't come with a hard case.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best cycling sunglasses

Overall, I was really impressed with these glasses. They offer excellent clarity and field of vision, and resistance to fogging. You also get a good amount of accessories and extras for the money, with the hard case, soft case, spare nose pad, and strap. Yes, £130 is still a fair amount of money, but in the wider context of high-end glasses, you could easily pay double that.

Verdict

Good looking, impressive clarity and lots of accessories included – a great pair of do-all cycling glasses

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Explore 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?

Rapha says, "A durable, secure pair of cycling glasses for off-road riding and all-day adventures."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Rapha lists:

Made with injection moulded Grilamid for strength and flexibility

Interchangeable hydrophobic lenses

Oversized lens improves field of vision and coverage

Megol arm grippers and nosepiece for stability in all conditions

Interchangeable nose pieces for a secure fit on the face

Removable security strap for wearing around the neck

Two-point snap lock hinges for stability and durability

Available in four colourways

UV rating: UV400

Made in Italy

Weight: 32g (including the strap)

Lens curvature: 5.5 Cylindrical

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

They appear to be well made with a dependable and solid feeling hinge action.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

They offer great clarity and field of vision and sit well on the head.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Nothing to suggest that they wouldn't survive being dropped.

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

29g is impressive.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

They aren't cheap, but the quality is high and they come with some good extras that others around this price don't.

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

Very well, comfortable on the head, excellent field of vision, and good protection means they do everything you would want from a high end pair of glasses

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The clarity from the lens; it reminds me of Oakley's Prizms, which in my opinion is a good thing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really, though £140 isn't cheap, despite them being better value than some.

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

The Koo Demos are £1 less and 6g heavier, and don't come with a hard case or spare lens and in my opinion don't look as good. The Spektrum Blank sunglasses are £5 less, 4g heavier, and don't come with a hard case.

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 very good – they sit comfortably on the head, offer excellent clarity and field of vision, and you get a decent package of extras for the money. They look great too.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

Latest Comments