Veteran cyclist Matt Ray discovers why the highly customisable SunGod Velans are the glasses of choice of the INEOS Grenadiers pro cycling team…

The SunGod Velans made it into our buyers’ guide to the best cycling glasses. Matt put each pair to the test over big distances and across a range of terrains and conditions – seeing how they coped on road, gravel and dirt trails, in bright, overcast and changing light and during hot and inclement weather. Only the best-performing specs overall made it into our comprehensive guide.

SunGod Velans (w/ 8KO Iris HV Blue Photochromatic Lens)

$232 / £192, sungod.co 

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Pros:

  • Reacts to light levels 
  • Adaptable frame 
  • Custom colours galore

Cons:

  • Pointed nose rubber 
  • Straight arms 

Clarity: 4/5
Design: 5/5
Comfort: 4/5
OVERALL: 4/5 

For me, the stand-out feature of the SunGods is the option-stuffed ordering process and free custom colour combos. The photochromatic lens worked seamlessly, reacting to changing light conditions and helping me to stay in the flow.

SunGod Velans features

I opted for SunGod’s cycling-specific Velans frame, which gave great coverage. (Those with a bigger bonce may prefer the Vulcans with their supersized lens.) I ordered a custom colour combo of frosted white frame, white arm socks and gold logo. With the blue/pink 8KO Iris HV Blue Photochromatic lens, my design looked pretty sick!  

I also opted to get the top and full frame, which comes with a conversion kit so you can swap between full-frame and ‘half jacket’ style sunglasses – ideal for increased peripheral vision and looking over your shoulder on the road. It’s relatively simple to pop the lower frame out but I wouldn’t recommend doing so mid-ride due to inevitable finger smears on the lens.  

The 8KO Iris lens lets in between 34% and 79% of light, while blocking 100% of UV. The other option was the Smoke Iris lens that lets in between 16% and 43% of light. After agonising over which to pick, I eventually choosing the 8KO Iris – figuring that on bright days I would probably go with other sunglasses (unless I was wearing an MTB helmet with a shading visor). 

I was a bit concerned about the straight arms but they fitted my head fine and stayed put on every ride. I’d recommend choosing a lens size to suit your face, because the arms aren’t adjustable. 

SunGod Velans performance

Overall, the Velans came close to a fit-and-forget, wear-all-day sunglasses, due to the rapid transition of the lens from light to dark. They immediately became my go-to glasses for changeable conditions and cloudy days, and I could switch between half-jacket on road and full-frame when riding on trails, because off-road is hard on all my gear. 

The only niggle was that the narrow, slightly pointed rubber nose-grips felt a bit weird in the soft skin below my eyes – a design tweak there would be appreciated, but it wasn’t a biggie. 

The clarity of the lens was great but couldn’t quite compete with some of the high-contrast competition. The light-reactive tech is the clear focus with this lens. Having to faff about with gear really kills my flow, so I appreciated how the lens did the adjustment for me, in changing conditions. If that’s a big thing for you too, then the SunGod Velans are an obvious choice.  

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