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review

Roka Kona sunglasses

8
£205.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Stylish sunglasses with great performance in any situation, but the price is sky high
Tough frames
Light
Excellent lenses
Very secure even when sweaty
No interchangeable lenses
Expensive
Weight: 
26g
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.

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The Roka Kona sunglasses work brilliantly whether you're on or off the bike. They're light, offer good protection and aren't fazed by sweaty heads on fast rides. And they look pretty good too. They are expensive, but get the right frame and lens combination and they can be your one pair to rule them all. They'll withstand a good deal of abuse, too.

A single pair of sunglasses that covers a multitude of activities? That's the tenet of Roka's Kona sunglasses. No matter what you're doing, whether it's lounging on a beach or tucked into an aero position, they perform very well. They're high quality and look great too.

Though the looks definitely lean towards the casual side of the spectrum with that classic square styling, there's loads of useful tech that makes the Rokas a great choice for cycling.

> Buy these online here

They aren't as fragile as they appear. The nylon frames are pretty tough and give a decent amount of flex. They're also light at just 24g, so you barely know they're perched on your face.

2021 Roka KONA Performance Glasses With Prescription Lenses - side.jpg

Neatly concealed spring hinges offer dual benefits, allowing you to pull the arms wide apart to get them on easily without worrying about stressing the frames. They also keep the frames secure once on, no matter the width of your head.

2021 Roka KONA Performance Glasses With Prescription Lenses - hinge.jpg

Allied to this are the patented Gecko Pads on the inside of the arms and on the nose bridge. This is a squishy elastomer which Gecko says is 'hydrophilic, chemical resistant and supports multidirectional traction with comfort.' Basically, what this means is when you get really sweaty they stay in place.

2021 Roka KONA Performance Glasses With Prescription Lenses - arm detail.jpg

Throughout the lovely warm test period, these glasses never budged a millimetre, even on rough stuff. This was actually a little unsettling at first, as I've got used to regularly pushing cycling sunglasses back up.

The lenses

The Roka C3 Optics have an anti-scratch, anti-fog and anti-reflective coating. They also repel moisture thanks to the hydrophobic coating, which allows water drops to bead up and roll off quickly. The oleophobic coating resists greasy fingerprints, to a degree.

The relentlessly warm, sunny weather (I know, poor me) meant I didn't get a chance to see how fog-resistant they are in typically cold, humid weather. I suspect they will perform well, however, based on how easily they shed water.

2021 Roka KONA Performance Glasses With Prescription Lenses - front.jpg

The lenses aren't interchangeable, but the Konas do come in several frame and lens combinations. I tested the Shadow Frame with Bronze (polarised) lens, which gives 15% light transmission and boosts contrast alongside greens and yellows.

The contrast enhancement really helps on those lanes where you might encounter dappled shade, helping you to spot nasty things like potholes or gravel on tricky descents.

> 31 of the best cycling sunglasses — protect your eyes from sun, crud and flying bugs

They offer a crystal-clear view, with excellent protection against sunlight. You might want darker lenses for really bright, sunny days, however, and either way you don't get the full wraparound effect of many cycling-specific sunglasses.

Value

The only stumbling block here is the price, which is rather on the high side – even though you could, in theory, replace multiple pairs of sunglasses with them.

The Konas start at £170, though polarised lenses are an extra £35. They come with a stylish storage box and a soft case.

2021 Roka KONA Performance Glasses With Prescription Lenses - in case.jpg

In comparison, the Oakley Sutros are £140, with loads of coverage against the sun, though there are no polarised lenses available.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Tifosi Swick Onyxs look a total bargain at just £30, with a similarly square – if not quite as nice – design. They also feature hydrophilic rubber inserts. Job done – albeit without the premium tech or feel of the Roka Kona sunglasses.

Verdict

Stylish sunglasses with great performance in any situation, but the price is sky high

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Roka Kona sunglasses

Size tested: n/a

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?

Roka says: "Inspired by the Hawaiian birthplace of IRONMAN, an annual proving ground for the latest in performance technology, the Kona has a modern, square lens that echoes iconic American style of the 50s and 60s."

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

Roka yells:

NYLON FRAMES PROVIDE HIGH STRENGTH-TO-WEIGHT RATIO, STRONG ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS AND CORROSION RESISTANCE

ROKA C3 OPTICS WITH ANTI-SCRATCH, ANTI-FOG AND ANTI-REFLECTIVE COATINGS

SUPER-HYDROPHOBIC AND OLEOPHOBIC COATINGS FOR ANTI-SPOTTING, FINGERPRINT RESISTANCE, AND EASY CLEANING

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very premium feel, as you might expect for the price.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Great protection against sunlight with a crystal clear view, and they stay glued to the face even on bumpy terrain. Not total wraparound protection, though.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Nylon frame is very tough. The spring hinges feel incredibly solid, and help prevent stressing the arms when putting them on.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

Very light.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Very comfortable, and fit all widths of head perfectly thanks to the spring hinges.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Very expensive, though they perform very well.

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

Great protection, perfect fit and they stay on your head at all times.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The spring hinges offering a secure but comfortable fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

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

More expensive than any other 'casual' style lens. The Oakley Sutro sunglasses are £95 cheaper, though you don't get polarisation. The Tifosi Swick Onyx might not be on the same level, but offer good performance at just £30 – bargain!

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No - too expensive for my tastes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Great all-round performance, and really could be your quiver-killer – they're excellent off the bike or on any bike you choose to ride (whether on gravel, dirt or road). Only the price really holds them back.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Steel audax bike  My best bike is:

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,

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