I’ve been riding around without sunglasses for a long time, which isn’t really a good idea. Aside from their obvious benefit on bright sunny days, they also double as your eyes’ windshield, deflecting wayward debris and grit. Before LifeCycle Makati relocated to its Macapagal Boulevard location, I dropped by and bought a pair of Giant’s Swift cycling shades.
- Durable and flexible Grilamid TR-90 frame material
- Three sets of polycarbonate lenses, all offering 100% ultraviolet radiation protection
- Adjustable nose pads
- Ribbed rubber temples help with retention
The Swift comes in a blow-molded case in a half-moon shape, containing the lenses, a little instruction pamphlet, and a blue soft bag also used for wiping the lenses clean. The lenses all come in a hinged pair of pouches that store them when not attached to the frame.
The Swift is essentially a half-frame pair of shades. There is no bottom rim to the frame shape, which reduces the chance of it getting into your field of vision. The outside bottom corners do make themselves known when turning your eyes to look at extreme left and right, but otherwise you can largely forget they’re there.
The lenses basically snap onto the frame at three places; you have to bend the bottom outside corner slightly to unhook the lens from the frame. Interestingly, the top edge of the lens just sits on top of the flexible Grilamid frame, which doesn’t make it feel as integrated as other models, but otherwise isn’t much of a concern.
Shades basically hang on to your head via their shape and materials. A pair of Ray-Ban’s iconic Aviators, for instance, makes use of the temples to hook themselves over your ears, but isn’t very secure anywhere else, which makes it a terrible eyewear option for cycling – it keeps wanting to slip off your sweaty nose. By contrast, the Swift relies on the inherent spring in its frame, ribbed rubber temples, and an adjustable rubber nose bridge pad – all to stick to your face regardless of how much you sweat.
I use the clear lens frequently as an ocular windshield. Obviously these are the best lenses to use when riding at night.
The dark gray lenses do well in cutting down on brightness. They’re rated at ~18% visible light transmittance.
It’s these yellow lenses that have been quite the revelation though. Functionally, they’re the same as the clear lenses, but the tint boosts the brightness of artificial light, making them quite good for riding at night or overcast conditions – or for working in front of a computer monitor.
One nice design feature about the Swift is that the lenses leave a bit of an air vent at the outside edges of the frame. This promotes air flow and cooling when riding at speed, and can help reduce the effects of any wayward drops of sweat that end up dripping into your eye line. It also mitigates the fogging up of sweat very well.
The PhP1,500 price tag on the Swift is just about right. It’s a well-designed pair of shades, with good retention, solid venting, and genuinely useful optics. About my only complaint is that the lenses don’t have sophisticated oleophobic or hydrophobic coatings that should make them more resistant to fine dust and smudging, but I can forgive it for the price. Recommended.