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The super-trendy, high-quality Spektrum Blank sunglasses work equally well for all kinds of riding, as much as they do when you're just chilling off the bike, though they are a little bit pricey when you factor in that they only come with one lens and no hard case.
If you've never heard of Spektrum before, one look at the history page on its website might why – the company hails from the mountain town of Are in the north of Sweden, and it clearly has a passion for winter sports – be it skiing, snowboarding, or apres ski... Though they may look it in the photos, the Spektrum Blank aren't actually cycling-specific glasses. Rather, Spektrum says they're for 'active use', which could include activities such as running, hiking and cycling.
Made in the north of Italy (not Are) by 'one of the world's leading injected eyewear factories' – which could well be the same one that produces high-end brands such as Oakley and Ray-ban, I'm just speculating of course – the Blank glasses are constructed from Grilamid: a predominantly natural, non-petrochemical-based plastic.
Not only do the frames have good environmental credentials, they're also lightweight but feel pretty robust despite their somewhat minimal proportions. Thanks to this svelte frame design, I found that the glasses fitted nicely inside my helmet straps without feeling bulky, and the tips didn't interfere with the helmet either. I found them to be a bit more comfortable than my go-to Oakley Radar EV Path glasses, but that could just be down to my head shape.
The rubber sleeves at the ends help keep the glasses in place when sweat builds up, so you're not having to constantly adjust them back onto the bridge of your nose, and you get a spare pair of rubber nose-pads in the box, allowing you to find a fit that best matches the width of your conk. The nose-piece is very comfortable, too and the glasses stay glued on even when you're riding on rough stuff.
The lenses come courtesy of Carl Zeiss, meaning they're really top notch quality. There is zero distortion at any angle and the infrared option on test, though designed primarily with sunny weather in mind with just 13% light transmission, seems to work brilliantly in all conditions. It even manages to just about cope with that pesky woodland shade, where it can often be a case of having to take off your glasses altogether so you don't end up riding into a tree.
If you do fall foul of such an incident, it's good to know they're also impact resistant, and feature an anti-scratch lens coating, along with Ri-Pel water repellency. I've not had a chance to test their hydrophobicity – no rain during the day throughout the test period for some reason – and so far there don't seem to be any marks on them either, though it's early days.
There's plenty of coverage here without feeling like your entire face has been taken over. The style is somewhat reminiscent of the Gargoyles in The Terminator movie, which is no bad thing of course – the look is bold and stylish, but subtle. They're not full-on racer style, but more comparable to trendier propositions such as Oakley's Sutro. They're the kind of sunglasses you could wear to the pub when you're in civvy mode. I like this.
So, even though these aren't cycling-specific glasses and have a somewhat trendier cut to them, how do they actually fare for serious cycling? Well, really rather good actually. No matter the position – upright, mid, or low down and slicing through the wind – there's plenty of visibility.
You do get a tiny bit of the top of the frame just coming into the edge of your upper periphery when you're in an aero position, and the edges of the lens don't quite feel as if they're hugging your temples like Oakley's Radar EV Paths, but really that's just me trying to find fault with what is an almost faultless performance.
Although the glasses only come with one lens, we were given another to play with. Swapping them over for the first time was a little daunting, as I couldn't actually find any instructions illustrating how to do it, and the last thing I wanted to do was snap the lens or frame with my hamfistedness. After a little manipulation and gentle persuasion, I managed to figure out the procedure – thankfully it's really quick and easy.
The lenses themselves aren't cheap – £45 for the grey lens and £60 for the brown lens. And major omission ahoy: there's no clear lens available, so if you want to use these on a really dull day or at night then you'll have to look elsewhere (unless the option becomes available).
When spending £135 – not chump change, by any means – you'd want to keep your shiny glasses protected when not in use, and you might think you'd get a sturdy case to suit. Sadly, you only get a soft carrycase in the box, which to me seems like penny pinching when a hard case is a much more secure option, especially when you're travelling and you want to store them securely in a bag.
The Blank's closest competitors, in terms of price and style, are the Oakley Sutros I've already mentioned, also £135; the Blank glasses are not quite as large and are arguably better looking. There are bigger, racier glasses out there if you want the lens real estate, such as the 100% S3 MAAP glasses or Oakley's Flight Jackets, but you'll pay a lot more – £179 for the 100% option Liam tested (though you do get two lenses and a hardcase), and £187 for the Flight Jackets.
Another decent option for on and off-the-bike use, for a whole lot less, are the Tifosi Swick glasses we reviewed last year. They're certainly not as good on the bike, and they're certainly not in the same league as the Blanks, but they are only £30.
Fantastic looking glasses that perform really well whether you're on or off the bike, but the price tag is quite high
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Spektrum Blank 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?
Spectrum says, 'Blank offer the highest level of lightweight protection and comfort with an optimized lens shape to halt damaging rays before they reach your retina. Wrapping close to your head, Blank is made for speed. Built for extended active use, be it running, biking or climbing the Zeiss grey base lens with multi-layer Infrared mirror coating is ideal for prolonged use during bright and sunny days. This lens offer visual protection from high reflections, delivers the greatest visual comfort and natural perception without any colour distortion.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Performance lens from Carl Zeiss with ultimate UV-protection and maximum clarity
Bio-based Grilamid frames, Rubberized non-slip fully adjustable temples
Exchangeable rubber nosepads (2 sizes) for optimized fit
Multi-layer mirror, Ri-Pel water repellant and anti-scratch lens coatings
Extremely impact resistant lens
Micro fiber pouch
Exchangeable lens system (lenses available @ spektrumsports.com)
Made in Italy
The glasses are great in all kinds of riding positions, there's loads of coverage and they sit comfortably and securely on the head.
No marks so far, but I would need to test them for a much longer period to really assess their longevity.
They sit comfortably on the head and there are two different sizes of nose-pad to help accommodate different head sizes.
Yes, they are expensive, and you don't get a lot in the box, but compared with other big frame glasses they are on a par with some and cheaper than others.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great for all kinds of riding in a variety of lighting conditions with the standard lenses, and they even look great on or off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They offer loads of coverage, but they're not overly large like some others, and you don't get any viewing obstruction even when you're in an aero position.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lack of a hard case and alternative lenses.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are plenty of cheaper options out there, but if you're looking for larger glasses that look stylish and perform well, they're actually not quite at the top end of the spectrum. The Oakley Sutro glasses are on a par, price-wise, and also perform well, but don't look as good in my opinion. The Spektrum sunnies actually look reasonably priced when compared with the likes of the the 100% S3 MAAP glasses or Oakley Fight Jackets.
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
Great looking, great performing glasses that work well for any kind of riding. The high price tag could easily be forgiven if there were a few more accessories bundled in the box – ideally a hard case and clear lens.
About the tester
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,