Eyewear Review: Smith Pivlock V90, quite possibly the best performance eyewear on the market

Tested:Smith Pivlock V90

Price: MSRP $119.00 USD
Fit: Small to Medium

 

Before I get too deep into this, let it be known I am quite possibly the largest sunglasses snob on the planet. I am extremely particular about what I wear when I ride, and anything short of “exceeds expectations” results in changing up what goes on my face in the saddle.

With that said, enter the Smith Pivlock V90’s, and exit Oakley from my stable of performance eyewear, for good.

Smith has knocked one out of the yard with the Pivlock V90’s, and they could quite possibly be the best performance eyewear product on the market. Given Oakley’s reputation for both style and quality, I would put these up against anything from the big “O,” and bet with 100% confidence that they would easily hold their own.

As evidenced by the fact that at this year’s Sea Otter Classic (2011), there was about a 50/50 split (MTB and road) between the Smith Pivlocks (V90 and V90 Max) and Oakley Radars and Jawbones in terms of what the athletes wore.

 

Most notable were Giant Factory team riders Adam Craig (pictured), Katie Compton, Kelli Emmit and Carl Decker. Also seen in the Pivlocks were Olympic medalist and National Champion Peanut Butter and Co rider Kristin Armstrong as well as the Primalwear/MapMyRide Pro Women’s Team all sporting Smiths.

 

That says quite a bit about how popular these are becoming, and what riders at the highest level of cycling think their of the Pivlocks. Given the quality of both the frames and lenses, this doesn’t really surprise me. The rimless design opens up your field of vision quite a bit, and the multiple lens options make these quite possibly the perfect pair of performance eyeware.

These glasses were worn on and off road, including some pretty technical MTB rides. They stayed on snuggly, didn’t slip and were “forget you’re wearing them comfortable.” Rocks, roots, technical descents, etc couldnt dislodge the glasses as they remained securely in place. The Ignitor lenses worked very well in and out of shadows, and made it very easy to pick up trail variations and all obstacles at speed. The clear lens option was perfect for night riding as well.

They showed their frame design strengths while hammering in a group road ride in the drops. In an aero position, a rimless lens affords you a much better field of vision. You don’t have to “look down to look up” if to be specific. I was able to look straight ahead unencumbered. Something that was not possible in the Oakley Flak Jackets that I own, and Radars and Jawbones that I’ve tried.

While these are quite possibly the most comfortable pair of sunglasses I’ve ever ridden in, there are a few things I’d like to see from Smith. Keep in mind, these are purely style nitpicks and have nothing to do with the performance of the Pivlocks themselves.

It would be nice to be able to customize the V90’s (lenses, frame, Smith logo, earsocks and nose piece) the way you can with Oakleys. The color selection is somewhat limited, which is too bad because these would look great in red, carbon, matte white, blue or even the right shade of purple. But, if I’ve thought about this, my suspicion is someone at Smith has too.

While the case is bullet proof, It is a little bulky, and takes up a lot more space than something more traditional. But, to keep the spare lenses safe, it is a necessary component to the product, and one you should easily be able to live with. It shouldn’t deter from the Smith experience.

The included cloth case also didn’t clean the lens very well, leaving a somewhat smudged look on it. But, using Zooke cleaning products easily remedied this, and left a crystal clear field of vision maximizing lens quality.

Other than those extremely trivial details, these are highly recommended. Here’s why you need to have these on your next ride:

 

  • Lense Quality is amazing, and additional lenses allow you to match up eyewear to any light condition.
  • Very light weight + extremely comfortable
  • Fit very well, feel secure with arms over helmet straps.
  • Ease of lens change: 17 seconds flat!!
  • Pretty stylish, very high “cool” factor. You will look great in front of the paparazzi on and off the bike.
  • They don’t fog up
  • Great coverage, especially peripheral vision
  • Smith customer service is top notch

 

With the Pivlock V90, Smith delivers incredible value, superb quality and style that will make your friends envy you and your eyes love you. For more information on these and the full Smith Optics product line, please visit the Smith website.

 

Smith Pivlock V90 Full Specifications:

  • Colors: White/Yellow Mirror, Matte Black/Yellow Mirror, Race Green/Yellow Mirror, Pink Annodized/Platinum Rose, Blue Denim/Platinum, Smoke/Platinum,Black/Platinum, Ice Blue/Blue Mirror and Violet/Pink Mirror.
  • Interchangeable lenses, these came with Yellow Mirror (17% light transmission), Ignitor (32% light transmission) and Clear (92% light transmission)
  • Rimless single lens design
  • Pivlock tech
  • Hydrophilic Megol rubber compound in the tips of the Grilamid TR90 temples and on the nosepiece to provide a secure fit.
  • 7 Base Lens Curvature + Carbonic Tapered Lense Technology in the Lenses
  • “Tapered Lens Technology corrects the distortion by progressively tapering the lens from the optical center towards the out edges. Light waves are thereby delivered straight to your eye resulting in zero distortion and true optical clarity. What you see is what you get.”
  • Grilamid TR90 Frame
  • “Grilamid is an exceedingly light and durable plastic that will maintain its shape under all temperature changes
  • Extremely comfortable frames, very light weight
  • Sweat Seal Hydrocoating 

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  • davidbussey

    Ok on my hill ride yesterday through the trees and open sunny areas I used the red tinted lenses,(ignitor?)  and they were AWESOME.  Never was I having to adjust my eyes from dark to light.  Just a great lens.  I may use these ALOT.  early AM rides etc.

  • will1

    Hey now, I still did the painful parts. I wouldn’t want to short you on that.