There’s no real advantage to the lens release mechanism, but these are high performance glasses on the bike and if you pop off the side shields, they might even work off the bike.
- HiPER contrast-enhancing lenses available
- Removable side shields
- Included case is incredibly nice
- Arms stay out of the way of helmets
- V-latch lens retention system isn’t easy to use
- Non-adjustable nose pads
The best cycling sunglasses are the perfect fusion of form meets function. In a perfect world they would protect your eyes in every situation and never fog. Still, even if you found just the right glasses from a performance perspective, you'd still have work to do. Sunglasses are about more than just performance; they are about style.
That's where the brand 100% steps in. There are some brands that just ooze style and 100% is one of them. For that reason, we've included more than one pair on our list of the best cycling sunglasses. Despite an already strong portfolio, this winter it released something new: the Eastcraft and Westcraft, two takes on a common theme, and we had a chance to spend time with the strong square silhouette of the Eastcraft. If you are looking for high-performance cycling sunglasses with a strong focus on fashion, keep reading to see our thoughts on these new sunglasses from 100%.
Design and aesthetics
“This collection is loaded with high-performance design and technology upgrades and represents an incredible fusion of sports eyewear into fashion. The aesthetic of these styles is what modern sports stand for”. That's a statement from 100% CEO and Cofounder Ludo Boinnard talking about the Eastcraft and Westcraft glasses when they launched in November. However you might feel about the aesthetics, what's interesting is how important they were to the team designing the glasses. The rest of the discussion is very similar: yes they are high performance but they are also high fashion.
To make that a reality the Eastcraft starts what 100% refers to as a "strong square silhouette." Whichever style you've chosen they are otherwise built the same. Both of them start with a lightweight rubberised frame. There are lots of small technical details that add a sense of movement to the frame while also setting the stage for more performance oriented parts of the design.
The back of the arms curve around the wearer while also dropping down. It's helpful for staying out of the way of helmet pieces and there's a contrasting colour inset of heavily textured grip material. Given that the frame is already rubberised there's no change to the material, but the texture does the job of adding grip. As you move forward the 100% logo sits prominently on each temple.
Just behind the temple logo is one of the more interesting features of the Eastcraft sunglasses. On the inside of each temple is a removable side shield. The material has a spring-like quality and it's only the ability to hold its shape that keeps it snapped into a small hole top and bottom, plus a recess just forward of the hinge. To remove the shields you slightly compress the piece and pull it from the hole top or bottom. Once released the other two mounts come loose easily. Making room for these shields means that the lenses sit on the other side of a visually heavy section of surround.
The Eastcraft offers four different lens options. Two of them are variations of mirrored designs while one is the contrast-enhancing HiPER and the last is a smoke option. The included rigid case also comes with a pair of clear lenses swappable depending on needs.
Swapping the lenses happens by way of the very visible metal hinge that sits centrally located in the glasses. It would be easy to pass over the hinge thinking it was only a design detail but there's a clasp that sits above the bridge of the nose. Pull it down and the whole piece hinges upwards. Once released there are three points on each side of the lens that sit behind the frame. There's enough flex in the frame to move it and free the lens.
The coloured lens is a single piece shield. It passes behind the hinge and across the bridge of the nose. The clear lenses that swap in differ in design, and instead offer a two-piece design. That leaves the centre section uncovered in an effort to aid air movement and reduce fogging.
What I find most unique about the 100% Eastcraft glasses is the ability they have to transform. I'm not going to try and say that these will fit every social situation but I do think there are some people who could remove the side shields and make these work off the bike. There's no doubt it would be a brash look but it's possible and it all comes down to the side shields.
The side shields offer no performance benefit that I can detect. Put them on, take them off, I can't tell the difference other than visually. 100% talks about adding protection vs removing peripheral vision but for me they sit so far to the side it's difficult to detect them in my field of view. As for added wind protection, the deep curve of the front shield handles wind protection without any noticeable contribution from the side shields. I consider this a successful part of the design even though it doesn't match the marketing description.
What I find a little less successful is the lens release mechanism. It's tough to get the bottom of the hinge to release. The bridge of the nose doesn't offer much room to work and there's no easy to grab lip on the hinge. 100% does include a tool to make this an easier process. The plastic piece with a logo on it is shaped so as to catch the latch and release it. It does work but it requires an extra piece and there’s no clever storage for the tool. It’s an interesting design detail but there’s no advantage to the added complexity.
Much more important than anything else is how comfortable the 100% Eastcraft glasses are. The arms don't interfere with any of the helmets I've tried them with, including the notoriously picky Kask Utopia and they seem to never move around. On a recent four hour ride I don't remember ever needing to adjust the positioning of the glasses. They stay put and that makes for a more comfortable pair of glasses however long you spend in them.
The things we ask of riding glasses seem simple and obvious but some products do fail even the obvious needs. The 100% Eastcraft do a good job staying clear of fog and they are exceptional when it comes to protecting your eyes from wind. The frames don't block your vision and details like a quality case and extra, clear, lenses are part of the deal. That's the easy stuff and 100% has done a good job in this area. The more challenging part of the equation is style.
100% is a brash brand and you'll never refer to its style as understated. If that matches your style then the Eastcraft is worth taking a look. Remove the side shields and you might even be able to make them work off the bike.
Changing lenses is the one area where there's room for improvement. The hinge that locks the lenses in place is an important part of the overall style but functionally it could use a little help. As long as that's not a deal breaker for you there's more positive than negative in the mix and the 100% Eastcraft are a high-performance, high-style, pair of riding sunglasses.
Tech Specs: 100% Eastcraft Cycling Sunglasses
- Price: £169.99-£199.99 / $195-$225 (depending on lens and colour combination)
- Available Colours: Soft Tact Black/Soft Gold Mirror Lens, Soft Tact Cool Grey/HiPER Crimson Silver Mirror Lens, Soft Tact Red/Black Mirror Lens, Matte Black/Smoke Lens
- Clear Lenses Included: Yes
- Weight: 32g including shield lenses
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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutia of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Weight: 137 lb.
Rides: Orbea Orca Aero, Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Trek Checkpoint, Priority Continuum Onyx