I Can See Clearly Now with Optilabs

For the last few years I’ve been riding with Rudy Ketyums. I’m not (for various reasons) ready to do the laser eye surgery thing. (changing prescription being one of them)

I do like the Rudys. I do. The changeable lenses, good coverage at speed and a good setup of internal clip in lenses by my optician that means in road bike position I can see well (slightly elevated optical centres). It’s also easy to swop the lenses for different conditions. They also look nice.

I also dislike the Rudys. They feel heavy after hours in the saddle. It’s a pain carrying round the case and the spare lenses. They mist up easily between the 2 sets of lenses.. and the killer blow.

The frame has now failed twice in the same place and it’s held together with tape. Great look. Broken Rudys

The first frame was replaced by a Premier Rudy Optician partner here in .UK – they are still waiting for the second. They’re getting really awful service 🙁

Anyway, it dawned on me I could use a pair of prescription sunglasses with transitions style lenses for 90% of my riding.

RX format lenses for the Ketyum frame were frankly $silly money and really not easy to get in the UK, so I looked around.

Reading a few forums Optilabs seemed a good company to try. Reasonable prices, not far from central London so not too bad to get to – customer service didn’t have any horror stories, so I dropped them a call.

Spoke with a lovely lady who surprised me by asking ‘which frames do you want to try?’ She suggested a new frame that had just come in as well as the two that i’d picked out from the road cycling section of their site.

They sent out a sample box…

Optilabs Sample box

plus the return postage and all necessary packaging. This is a simply superb way of handling pre-sales – many companies can learn from this!

at this point I got to weighing…

Rudy weight The Rudys with their internal lense setup were a 41g. Not too bad – this is with high index internal lenses as well. The one thing about this particular design is that the nosepieces are relatively small.

The Cobras (with test lenses) came in a lower : Cobra test set at 29g. The test lenses weren’t thin at all. The nose pieces are broader and they felt very light indeed in comparison when on.

After trying all the sets – for my face the Cobra seemed the best fit.

I found my prescription from my previous eye test – and put a recent ‘old’ pair of glasses in the return box for them to measure the pupil distance. (distance between your eyes).

It took a couple of days and the Cobras were delivered. Onto the scales they went – 30g. Wow.

Vision – great. The day after I got them I left my normal glasses during a client visit and I ended up using the Cobras for an evening at home – all in all I very happily surprised.

Performance on the road – slight leakage in excess of 30Mph, but at 2x pretty good considering they are a fair bit smaller than the previous Rudys.

So how dark do they go?

On a bright day: Bright day!

On an overcast day : Dark day

and at night – totally clear.

They’re not dark enough for ‘high european summer’ or Las Vegas in August. But this is the UK… This year we haven’t yet had ‘summer’.

I’ve been using them for over 3 months and they are rugged and have survived everything nature has thrown at them (insects mainly) and the lenses aren’t showing any scratches or marks. Side vision is pretty good – the prescription is varied over the lens and I’ve found this to work well with me not having any headaches.

They’ve even been on TV. Optilabs Cobra on Sky News

I really like the lenses – the frame is light and works. Overall great value for money for a prescription lens’d set of of sunglasses.


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