This article originally published on BikeRadar
True innovations are few and far between these days but Lazer has managed just that with its new Magneto Eyewear System. We don't expect it to revolutionize the cycling eyewear market on a grand scale but its unique characteristics will surely find a few fans.
Instead of traditional earstems that grip the sides of your head, the Lazer Magneto glasses use curiously truncated temples with embedded magnets that attach to rubber-coated steel add-ons on the matching Lazer Helium helmet – currently the only compatible model. In doing so, there's no pressure on the sides of your noggin whatsoever along with a notably 'barely there' feeling similar to what we've experienced with some truly ultralight eyewear like Specialized's old Arc.
Somewhat surprisingly, the system absolutely works – and pretty well, we might add. The generously sized helmet strap pads lend plenty of height and tilt adjustment for the lenses and with two pairs of embedded magnets in the glasses, there's a healthy amount of fore-aft adjustment as well. Optical quality on the interchangeable lenses is impressive as well with no noticeable distortion and ample coverage to protect from wind and road spray but without vents, they're occasionally prone to fogging.
As an added bonus, there's absolutely no interference with the helmet's retention system.
Lazer will include three lenses for standard tints and eventually, also standard temples for use with non-Lazer helmets. Pricing is reasonable, too, at US$100 for standard and US$120 for photochromics.
That all being said, the system isn't perfect and it perhaps goes without saying that the concept won't suit everyone. We loved them for road riding but since the temples aren't rigidly affixed to the helmet straps, they tend to migrate on rough ground so we wouldn't recommend them for 'cross or mountain biking. Without traditional earstems, there's no way to tuck the Magnetos into helmet vents (and they don’t fold) though Lazer tells us a solution is in the works.
"We are developing an aftermarket clip that will attach to the Helium helmet so that the glasses can be stored on the helmet when not in use," said Lazer Sport's Chris Smith. "We hope to have this clip available by spring. Similar to the storage clips we will be coming out with aftermarket clips so that Magneto can be used with helmets that are not originally equipped for Magneto compatibility. Not sure on when these clips will be available, probably late 2012."
The concept is also reliant on users keeping their helmet straps reasonably taut so don't bother if you prefer them flapping in the breeze Vino-style. There's no provision for head widths, either, so if you have a particularly narrow head the magnets and steel pads probably won't match up very well.
Finally, while the Magnetos provide that ultralight feeling, they're not actually all that light. Actual weight for our test set is 33g – 5g heavier than Oakley Jawbones.
Price: US$100 (Lazer Magneto Eyewear System with three standard lenses); US$120 (Lazer Magneto Eyewear System with photochromic lens); US$230 (compatible Lazer Helium helmet)
Available colors: Crystal Blue frame w/ Smoke Blue, Lazer Yellow, Clear lenses; Crystal Clear w/ Crystal Photochromatic lens; Crystal Fluo Yellow w/ Smoke Red, Lazer Yellow, Clear lenses; Crystal Red w/ Smoke Red, Lazer Yellow, Clear lenses; Crystal Smoke w/o Smoke Silver, Lazer Yellow, Clear lenses; Matte Black w/ Melanin Photochromatic lens; Gloss White w/ Smoke Gradient, Lazer Yellow, Clear lenses
Pros: Slick magnetic attachment system actually works, lots of adjustment, high quality optics, generous frame color and lens options, extremely comfortable, reasonable pricing
Cons: Not provision for storage while riding, fit is only secure enough for the road, won't work well on narrow faces
Cyclingnews verdict: 4 stars