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Project 24.2 Review: Smith’s all-but-invisible Pivlock V2 sunglasses

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In my Project 24.2 kickoff post last winter, I said that if Smith’s second generation Pivlock V2s were even a little bit better than the super-light, super-comfortable Pivlock V90s, then they’d be my new favorite sunglasses.  Though an adjustable nosepiece has been added, the Pivlock V2s are largely a stylistic update on their popular frameless v90s.  As with their predecessors, by relying on the lens to provide much of the glasses’ structure, Smith are able to provide the wearer with a virtually unobstructed field of view, a gentle, head-holding fit, and minimal weight- all Very Good Things.  Have the V2s become my new favorites?  Look behind the curtain to find out…

Thee primary technical change between the V90s and V2s is the addition of a 3-position adjustable nosepiece.  Shown here with one nose pad in its narrowest and one in its widest position, this should allow all sorts of noses and faces to find a happy position.  The center position does seem to bring the V2s’ lens marginally closer to my face than the V90s’- but not so much so that riders who like the older glasses’ fit should dislike their replacement.

Speaking of lenses, the Pivlock V2s come packaged in a nice (if somewhat large) case with three lenses: a Platinum Mirror, high-contrast Ignitor, and clear.  The Pivlocks’ trademark move is the way in which the temples attach: a Pivlock cam allows the arms to come free with a 90-degree twist.  Smith replaced my rattle-y early-production samples and I haven’t had any unwanted movement since.  The nose is removed by pinching its ends together and pulling downward.  The long temples can interfere with some older Giro retention systems- but play well with everything else I’ve tried.

Given their outsized carrying case and the fact that the Pivlocks must be broken into four separate pieces when changing lenses, it’s not something I’m inclined to do on the trail.  Happily, I only ever feel the need to change out the Ignitor lens for night riding.  The reddish lens does an excellent job of increasing contrast and depth perception on the road and trail and allows my eyes to easily adjust from sunny to shaded conditions.  As an added benefit, the rose colored glasses make everything look a bit nicer.  In a perfect world, they might be a shade darker for desert riding- but not everyone lives in the desert.

It takes a fair bit of straining to catch sight of the opaque temples or nosepiece and I’ve never noticed any distortion in my field of view.  The lenses aren’t as startlingly clear as some super-premium glasses can be, but given that the three sets of lenses are included for the $160 retail price, I wouldn’t have expected them to be.  Despite constant use since their arrival, the Smiths have managed to stay largely scratch-free, with only a bit of wear at the temple pivots.

While the Pivlock V90s looked like they had come from the future, the V2s look like they’re from a cooler future.  The angular lenses have just as much coverage as their predecessors and feel just about the same, while attracting numerous compliments.  Once accustomed to the V90s’ or V2s’ light weight and unobstructed view, other glasses actually start to feel heavy.  The Smiths’ minimal weight means that they stay put without pinching- for all-day rides off road and on.

If you’re happy with how your Pivlock V90s sit on your face, there’s little objective reason to upgrade to the V2s.  That said, if you’re in the market for new riding glasses Smith’s latest effort would be my first suggestion.  Their light weight, unobstructed field of view, and great fit mean that they’re remarkably free of annoying distractions- and all but disappear while riding.  To top it all off, the Pivlock V2s even look good.  Now available in seven colors and a larger-lens’d Pivlock V2 Max…



Thanks to Kip Malone, Photographer for the photos!

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11 years ago

Nice glasses, but I wonder why they don’t offer the brown lens which is better for depth perception?

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