Sunglasses are one of the most underrated items in most cyclists' gear closets. Not only do they provide protection from the sun's harmful UV rays, wind, rain and the occasional road projectile, a unique pair of shades is a good way to show off your personal style.
Check out these five new models that are some of the best options available for summer cycling in 2015.
Oakley Prizm Road Radarlock$240 1 of 5
If you're looking for clarity, the Prizm Road lens used in most Oakley sunglasses are about as good as you're going to find. Unlike other sunglasses that use a lens coating to block UVA, UVB, UVC and blue light, Oakley actually builds this technology into the lens, which makes your field of vision incredibly sharp.
I found the size of the Prizm lens to be well suited for smaller- to medium-sized faces while providing excellent coverage in the multiple positions you might find yourself in on the bike. While some sunglasses won't fit well with certain brands of helmets, this isn't a problem with the Radarlock. This model also comes with a second orange-tinted lens that's a good option when there's limited visibility on early-morning and evening rides. Who it's for: Cyclists who want a lightweight pair of shades with excellent clarity for bright summer days.
Smith PivLock Arena$159 2 of 5
Smith produced the PivLock to use with the Smith Overtake Helmet, and together they provide a rare combination of comfort and performance. While it doesn't provide as much coverage as the monstrous lens and frame of the new Oakley Jawbreaker, Smith achieves a happy medium by creating a frame size that is large enough to excel in most positions on the bike and still fit most face shapes.
The lack of frame on the top of the lens makes them feel larger than they are, and the shape fits perfectly beneath the Overtake helmet. The coolest feature though is the groove on the front of the Overtake that holds the PivLock sunglasses in place when you don't want to wear them. This is a wonderfully inventive solution to the "where-should-I-put-my-glasses-on-this-monster-climb" problem.
The lens swapping system is the best you'll find in any pair of shades, and you won't feel like you're about to snap your glasses in half trying to remove them. You also get a wide variety of lens colors to choose from, which makes matching them to your favorite helmet a pretty cool bonus.
Who it's for: Cyclists looking for a solid pair of shades that are a really good buy on a budget.
POC Do Blade$230 3 of 5
POC is a company that's not afraid to make a statement. The Do Blade will certainly stand out, and for some, might appear better suited for a 1970s disco rather than a bike ride.
Styling aside, the fit of the Do Blade is excellent, and the adjustable nosepiece lets you fine-tune how close the lenses are to your face. The extra space at the temples allows you to easily wear the Do Blade over helmet straps, which can be a pain with other models. Fogging can be a problem with this model, especially on long climbs or hot days. The lens swapping mechanism can be a bit hard to deal with, too, and requires you to flex the frame to make a switch.
Who it's for: Cyclists who want a pair of performance shades but seek to veer from sporty, athletic-looking sunglasses in favor of something different.
Rudy Project Rydon with Impact X-2 Lens$249 4 of 5
Rydon's photochromic Impact X-2 lens from Italian-based Rudy Project claims a 19- to 78-percent light transmittance range—one of the largest you'll find in any pair of sports sunglasses. I found the Rydon best suited for low-light conditions in the early morning and late evening—perfect for those really hot days when you have to wake up early or ride late to escape the heat.
The frame, made from magnesium and aluminum, is extremely sturdy and provides a good amount of flex to keep it from snapping should you crash. This durability, combined with classic Italian styling, make the Rydon a pair of sunglasses that will last for years and never go out of style.
Who it's for: Cyclists who do a lot of riding in the morning and evening and are looking for a simple pair of sunglasses that aren't as loud as most models from other companies.