Smith Shift MAG: Biking Trend Hits Peak Efficiency

Keep in mind the Nineteen Eighties? I do. [sigh.] They have been a time of, effectively, it’s onerous to summarize a whole decade of human existence, however is there a greater single object which does so than eyewear? Earlier than the 80s, just about all glasses had two lenses of various measurement, one for every eye. By the top of the 80s… there was only one.

Greg Lemond At Start Line

Picture by David Madison/Getty Pictures

Critically, the ski goggle fashion popularized by the La Vie Claire staff again in 1985 was a bolt of style lightning, for cyclists and followers. Certain, they mainly simply took some large scissors to a pair of ski goggles, however no matter. I actually ran out and purchased a pair with what amounted to a two week provide of lunch and dinner funds (these have been faculty years) to get me my first pair and full my connection to Greg LeMond, minus the expertise or different biking attributes. I used to be to date forward of my classmates’ style senses that they checked out me quizzically from behind their tortoise shells. However earlier than lengthy, the idea caught on as a press release on cool, quasi-modern, sleek-lined 80s style, the right accent in your white cotton swimsuit and thin tie. After which the practicality of the unilens obtained seen. By the 90s full measurement wraps have been simply as more likely to be successful along with your grandparents as your folks. Not all of this was excellent news, however that’s the way it goes with style I assume.

Wraps hit sports activities large time, however obtained slimmer and slimmer till, say, observe stars seemed extra like DEVO followers. Within the biking world, the massive wraps by no means stopped making excellent sense, however they’d their limitations too. Made from plastic, my 1985 model fell aside fairly rapidly, and the ski-style strip of froth on the higher edge misplaced its will to stay after one sweaty New England summer time. It didn’t assist that they fell off sometimes. They have been nonetheless very cool, however earlier than lengthy they undoubtedly wanted changing.

Quite a few biking eyewear merchandise have since flooded the market, single lens variations included, addressing issues like sturdiness, consolation and flexibility, altering shapes and designs in an effort to get seen. I’ve had a number of over time, and had loads of good experiences. However there was at all times room to develop. Now, having acquired a set of Smith’s Shift MAGs, I’m questioning if that room has now stuffed up.

Smith Sports activities Optics is an Idaho firm which pioneered the concept of lenses over breathable foam inserts to permit skiers the chance to see the place they have been entering into all situations, freed from fog. They’ve saved innovating with totally different kinds and applied sciences, eco-friendly supply supplies, and even transferring into the world of helmets, to pair with their famend goggles. Snowboarding tech way back overlapped into biking tech, and the corporate has saved on rising. However the Shift MAG is its greatest biking innovation shortly, and it’s fairly a press release.

I’ve been driving these shades since March, and by driving I imply on my cross bike, street bike, mountain bike and skis. I’ve subjected them to street grit, mud, snow glare, fog, rain and now summer time’s path mud. They’ve handed each take a look at to the purpose that I normally neglect there’s a take a look at taking place in any respect.

The entire Shift MAG set

Professional’s for Professionals

Some issues I like, that appear like vital adjustments from different eyewear:

  • The large wrap fashion has at all times been a good suggestion for biking, IMO. Perhaps you will get by on a pleasant clear strip of tarmac with narrower glasses, extra energy to you. However in case you combine in any gravel or grime, then you definately want all of the safety in opposition to mud which you can get. Oh, and my sneaky favourite use of biking eyewear, downhill snowboarding, for positive advantages from the total measurement protect in opposition to the solar reflecting on snow. Uncomfortable mild rays are not any extra more likely to sneak in across the margins than path mud.
  • They keep put. Like, shake your head vigorously and nothing occurs. The rubbery coating over the arms retains them comfortable in your temples. They’re designed to replenish the area beneath the brim of your helmet, which they comfortably do. They’re in all probability the one glasses I’ve ever owned which have but to fall off.
  • They keep clear. Alongside the highest edge there are two slim slits via which air can move as you progress. Not sufficient to really feel something, however sufficient to stop fogging. Clearly that’s an enormous downside when it occurs, extra seemingly in chilly, damp climate. I examined them within the Seattle winter and on ski days, once we have been required to put on face coverings, about as positive a setup for lens fogging as you will get. And as soon as I obtained transferring, they have been crystal clear.


Issues I didn’t like? The match over the bridge of my nostril isn’t tremendous comfortable. They relaxation there comfortably, and on a typical nostril, you possibly can modify the nostril piece into both of the 2 fittings merely sufficient. For me and my Roman proboscis, nonetheless, this can be a common problem with glasses, and Smith hasn’t reimagined all its merchandise for guys like me. I would desire with the ability to bend them out at will as an alternative of the 2 listed positions? Nonetheless, that’s barely a grievance; because of the ear items the Shift MAG stays the place it belongs regardless.

Oh, and in case you are driving within the woods, in all probability don’t go along with the absolutely darkened lens; the gray or crimson tint will in all probability work higher. Given the variable mild situations we, ahem, take pleasure in within the Northwest, I ought to in all probability order a contented medium lens to finish my choices.

Lens swapping is simple!

Finest Characteristic: Swappability

The explanation you need to take into consideration footing the $259 retail is that the power to alter lenses actually does make them two full units of eyewear. Every Shift MAG set comes with a transparent lens, together with whichever one you select — black, gray or crimson mirror tinted — so you will have swappability. Like each eyewear set since without end, proper? Certain… besides the swappability is like nothing I’m used to. It’s each easier and much safer than lenses of the previous. No twisting and coming out lenses; you simply click on the button over every nook and gently take away the lens. The “MAG” a part of the identify refers to the usage of a magnet within the joint that you simply launch to take away the lens — however that’s in any other case magnetically inclined to remain shut tight. What you get then is proven above: the lens with the highest half of the body separated from the remainder of the body.

Gone are the times of ruining my body’s form making an attempt to pressure the lenses again into place. So too are the dangers to the lenses themselves — scratches, fingerprints, and so on. The Shift MAG lens pops out and in so simply that even a gear simpleton like me can handle it with out ever hurting the lens or body. The result’s that I truly use each lenses, fairly than shying away from switching them for concern of messing up and/or fingerprinting the lenses within the course of. So sure, this actually is like having two units of eyewear.

Smith Shift MAG with clear lens, and cobbles

Last Phrase: Trend

This half is completely subjective, however as a toddler of the 80s wave of innovation, I can’t assist however love the total lens look, albeit a bit flatter and squared off in comparison with the unique designs. They arrive in white, crimson and matte or shiny black frames, plus the array of lens choices. They don’t shrink down and attempt to faux that their perform isn’t to really shield your face whereas driving. Carrying them, you appear like a bike owner, however hardly in an exaggerated approach. The white rim is a pleasant clear search for winter or summer time, although I may have simply been swayed towards the crimson possibility.

Anyway, this can be a particular advice from me! They’ve handed each take a look at and are undoubtedly my go-to lenses today.


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