ROKA SL-1 sunglasses

ROKA has gained a lot of traction in the triathlon world. Until now, their products have been out of reach to many European customers because of the prohibitive shipping costs. But those dark days are over and ROKA is now doing UK and European distribution.

Following on from my recent review of the ROKA Phantom sunglasses, I’ve also been testing the ROKA SL-1s. ROKA offer frames along the top, bottom or all around, but who needs frames when you’re living in the future? My personal preference is to do away with them, and the SL-1 does, putting it squarely in competition with the Oakley EVZero.

Here’s the unboxing:

The glasses are supplied with a hard case, filled with foam on the inside. This is perfect for stuffing into the bottom of your kit bag without worrying it will get crushed or shaken about. It’s not unusual for high-end sunglasses to come with a hard case, but most are empty, allowing the glasses to be shaken around, so the foam is a nice touch.

The frames represent what you would expect from performance sunglasses: rubber ends to hold them against your face and a satisfying click as they open or close so you won’t end up with the frames being stuck half open. They’re flexible enough that you can still slide the arms into your helmet when racking them in transition.

Coverage is wide, offering near perfect side to side and lower vision. Upper vision is fine on the hoods of your bike but I found I could see over them slightly when I got down on the drops. If that annoys you, you may want to opt for the SL-1X instead, which rises over the top to give you that extra vision while in the TT position. The nose bridge is noticeable in a way that it isn’t with the Phantom, but arguably that is a tradeoff you accept when you choose frameless glasses.

These things are absolutely glued to my face. I could get a bit of movement on the Phantom when I deliberately tried to invoke it. But even when rocking out to Lordi, the SL-1 remained exactly where I had put them.

The dark artic mirror lens make a good choice in the sun, and most importantly, they’re mirror lens and mirror just looks cooler than anything else. It’s the lowest light transmission ROKA do for the SL-1, so if you’re going to be out in other conditions, you might want to look at some of the other lenses (some of which also come in mirror). That said, they can still hold their own against other sunglasses I’ve tested in lower light conditions.

Summary

There is a lot to like about the ROKA SL-1. Other sunglasses are often hard to put on or don’t stick in place, but the SL-1 is both flexible enough to slide on easily and glued to your face. They look cool and they’re comfortable to wear, although the nose bridge is a little annoying. If you’re running or road cycling, these make a great choice. If you spend most of your time in the TT position, I would recommend checking out the SL-1X instead, as you’ll appreciate the extra vision at the top.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 at 11:00 am and is filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.