PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Eye Candy: Smith Optics’ BIG Nose Change

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Eye Candy: Smith Optics’ BIG Nose Change
SMITH OPTICS have been developing within cycling for the last several years and they also produce models suitable for a full range of activities from Performance to Poseur and I was lucky enough to grab a few models…

Of course the concentration for PEZ readers would be the PivLock V90 (and slightly larger lensed PivLock “Max”) that have set benchmarks for easy lens swapping and light weight within the rimless full shield sector of performance eyewear.

The Pivlock sets break down to arms, lens and nose piece…

And the entire process is less than a 30 second affair once you’ve done it a few times (or once).

The key part of the break-down system is the solid stud on the lens that mates with the arm material in an intuitive fashion that makes for a low stress affair.

The arms/frame of the Pivlock are made from plants by the way (more on “Evolve” frame materials below).

The nose piece is literally a “snap”. Squeeze the bottom and pull it down out of the lens to remove and push it straight up where it snaps in place to install…

It’s also the nose piece for Smith that gets the most important advancement for 2011-12…


Multiple indexed positions, in and out, allow for a much better fit on the next Gen Pivlock V2 (and V2 Max).

The V90 (and max) version Pivlock nose bridge is a good piece. It was a fairly flexible, hydrophilic-megol that did a nice job of grip, especially when wet.

It also fit a lot of different people but, very frankly, it just wasn’t going to allow the glasses to fit as well as they should on some folks. People with smaller, narrower noses (or other special shapes like flat bridged, super fat bridged or weird noses like mine after being broken a few times) may likely want more adjustability than the soft and flexible but current Pivlock nose.

Cycling’s natural body and head position is tilted forward. And the higher your level of competition is, the further forward you’re generally tilted (and for longer periods of time, with greater volumes of sweat). That means your field of view is higher and the sweet-spot of your lenses need to follow suit.

Higher lens position (and in fact all fitting) is now handled MUCH better on the range of glasses using the new adjustable nose. [A note to Smith in that one or two of the Tactical series should also get this nose!]

Both standard V2 NOSE and the RX Adapter (ODS2) will have the fit adjustability and will be available in November. The ODS2 RX nose piece is very similar to stock in shape and ease of use…

The RX versions function the same way as the standard noses and also make changing through the range of lenses similarly easy. Just pop out the RX insert and squeeze the bottom and pull down…

Lens Tech at Smith has always been extremely good.
The Clarity on all of their products is born through decades of research and partnerships with some of the best folks on the planet in the vision industry.

5 new sunglass ranges seem to pop up every year at Interbike. Generally the first part of their sales pitch is about how the more recognized companies are ripping you off and how simple making sunglasses is…

The Bullsh!t test here is this though… You see glasses for 10 bucks at your grocery store and this is what a cheap pair of frames and an equally cheap set of lenses should cost…
The guys giving you the news about the rip-off are right! But it’s generally relative to their own $30- $50 -$70 glasses… Cheap glasses should run you 10-30 bucks. Then there is a gap up to the quality of a major brand producing a lens like Smith…

Smith also make a lot of effort at lens shaping and making sure that the thickness tapers so that image distortion as greatly reduced and doing that along with the other layered tech isn’t easy or cheap, from raw materials down to a coating that Smith doesn’t hype as much as another competitor…

The Hydrophobic coating sheds water as the name suggests, but it also makes for very quick cleaning and mine has held up for months of daily use so far.

Off Bike
I’ve worn smith products off the bike for the past couple of years as well. The set on hand for this is the ‘Intersection’…

The Intersection frames are made from very light weight acetate, in layers and then machined out to add a little accent color to the understated brown. I’m usually a minimalist, rimless fan, but getting a little meat on the frame is an easy way to dress out the peepers…

This design has a full length in-molded wire that allows for a more refined fit.

The lenses for these have an anti reflective coating and not a lot else. Basic but with the same tapered lens tech that allows for almost no distortion from center in what are fairly flat lenses.

Smith used Carl Zeiss for the RX production on these and also on one of the other two sets of sunglasses…

The Undertow and Proof

Undertow (L) / Proof(R)

Two different frame types for these two pair; the Undertow is made from Grilamid TR90, while the newer Proof model uses Smith’s latest “Evolve” Tech, bringing “green” to frames.

Evolve means a Rilsan Clear material frame that is 53% bio based (Castor plants) and also uses green packaging in an effort to cut the carbon footprint a bit on the Proof series as well as the Pivlock (above) and select other models.

The Undertow is a more traditional frame material that is Grilamid TR90. That makes for a material that is light, very flexible and durable and also very clear (3 charctaristics not normally found together).

The Undertow gets Megol (sweat grippy) material at the ends of the ears…

And in the nose…

The Undertow also allows more peripheral vision with a temple piece that is both slightly raised and thinner.

I also had a nice upgrade to the Undertow by my personal favorite eye handlers at Sports Optical.

They milled a high contrast lens that is a very great option for super clear vision and knocking down brightness and eye stress but still allowing for very clear sight rather than more muted sight that comes from darker shading (even perfectly clear darker shading). These are the best moto riding and outdoor, midday non competition shooting I’ve ever had…

Bottom Lines
In cycling and in general terms, Smith are better at active eyewear now than they’ve ever been. The new nose piece was a must for them to go head to head with that “O”ther company.

This company has always been great at fashionable design and they’re getting a lot clearer focus on performance.

The couple of pairs shown here have been in virtual daily abuse on the road, inside moto and protective helmets, left in cars in the Arizona heat (not dashboard tested though), and the lenses in the undertow and Pivlock have been swapped and demonstrated in what is likely several times the use that a normal set would face… They’ve held up with zero fuss.

Anyone that’s looked at Pivlock in the past and loved everything but the fit should give them another try as soon as the new noses hit the shelves (Release date Nov. est). And the many folks loving the current Pivlock V90 and V90 Max fit should look for a few discounted pair shortly.

Smith have always had a very good quality product. A long standing reputation for durability and quality optics is a great platform to build a better range of Human Powered performance tools and that’s exactly what they’re doing so far…

You’ll find more at

• Dealers, Go see the new nose at Interbike at Booth: 5045 near the front left by SRAM

Have Fun,
Charles Manantan

Thanks for looking. If you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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