Minimalist, super-light and one of the most comfortable pair of cycling sunglasses we've tested
- Superb clarity
- Uninterrupted field of view
- Sturdy, comfortable fit
- Appreciably light at 23g
- Semi-tailorable fit with adjustable/replaceable nose piece
- Large lens can pick up scratches
- Pricey investment
POC has been on the offensive in recent years, with a gamut of new offerings that have changed the way we think about safety on the bike. I've personally waxed lyrical about the Swedish brand's push to normalise solar technology but it's also winning when it comes to weight reduction - the POC Ventral Lite is a case in point.
The POC Elicit Clarity sunglasses pictured here build on these tenets with a design philosophy that borders on minimalism without sacrificing comfort and performance. I've been testing them for the past three months in a variety of wet, dark and rainy settings to bring you our final verdict.
Read on to learn how they fared during the Festive 500 and whether or not they have what it takes to feature in our list of the best cycling sunglasses.
Design and specifications
At first glance, the Elicits don't look any different to POC's current range of sunglasses - and that's a good thing. Closer inspection, however, reveals the Elicit's party trick - the frameless design which is more detailed than the minimalist construction suggests. To achieve this unique aesthetic, POC had to ditch the frames and traditional hinge design altogether but the new system is genius. It uses a brace of snap hinge anchor points that mount into the lens. This has not only helped with the visual drama but reduced the total weight to 23g, which is around 9-10g lighter than the segment average.
The POC Elicit Clarity sunglasses are available in six colour options (Hydrogen White, Uranium Black, Fluorescent Orange, Actinium Pink, Sapphire Purple and Lemon Calcite) and can be paired with three lens choices: Gold, Silver and Define (a spare clear lens is included). Like its stable mates, including the POC Devour Clarity sunglasses we tested last year, the lens features a Ri-Pel coating - a hydrophobic and oleophobic treatment that protects the lens from water, dirt, oil, sweat, salt and dust. It also offers complete protection from UVA and UVB rays (UV400 rated).
Looking at the design, the Elicits conform to POC's blueprint with the only notable difference coming in the form of chamfered edges of the lens, which is another small attribute that's helped cull weight. The lens itself - like many of its stablemates - features Clarity technology which controls the colour spectrum for enhanced contrast and definition. The trussed-out arms are super-functional, robust and removeable. To help tailor the fit, there's an interchangeable nosepiece (available in two sizes) which clips onto the lens.
Save for the POC Clarity branding on the lens and embossed POC logo on the truss arms, there's no blatant wordmarking on display. In fact, the only reference to the model designation is the inconspicuously arranged 'Elicit' print on the top of the right arm. Finished in a matte, the black-on-black branding is difficult to spot as is the 'Design and engineered by POC' strapline on the other arm.
Riding experience and performance
It's become a tradition of mine to test as many products as I can through the depths of the UK's winter - this happens to also comprise eight days of thorough riding during the Rapha Festive 500. The general lack of light and wet conditions are an ideal testbed for benchmarking a lens. Like the Devour Clarity I tested last year, the Elicits possess an impressive and commanding field of view. The Ri-Pel lens coating works a treat when it comes to road spray and the gold tint helps improve definition across the colour spectrum in overcast or shady conditions.
Fit and comfort are big areas when it comes to sunglasses and the Elicits do not disappoint in this regard. They're best paired with POC's ultra-lightweight Ventral Lite helmet but are compatible with other brands, too. A big reason for this compatibility is the flexibility of the arms, which are non-obtrusive and do little to interfere with helmet cradles and the like.
To help tailor the fit, there's an interchangeable nosepiece (available in two sizes) which clips onto the lens. When compared to other options in the segment as well as POC's current line-up, the ergonomics are close to the best in the business. At 23g, they're so light you honestly feel nothing and that's a real bonus. This, combined with the superb field of view, gives the illusion that you're riding sans eye protection.
During my test period, I used the Elicits on road, gravel and mountain biking expeditions and, while I relentlessly tried to find any glaring faults, I couldn't. The only issue - and I'm nit-picking here - are a couple of fine scratches on the lens, which may have transpired while wiping the lens in the rain. The gold tint might also be exacerbating things a bit but this is something I can't ignore completely.
Over the past three months, they've held up impressively well despite the somewhat minimalist and 'flimsy' construction. There are no signs of prodigious wear and tear and apart from the hinges squeaking and lens twisting ever so slightly when folding the arms way, the POC Elicit Clarity sunglasses continue to deliver in spades.
POC is changing the game when it comes to safety and innovation within the cycling discipline. Its products are on point - both from a visual and functional point of view - and the brand keeps pushing the boundaries, and executing things in a precise and non-conformist fashion. As it stands, POC is at the forefront and the Elicits pictured here are some of the best cycling sunglasses I've sampled in recent years. Yes, they are not as sturdy as some of its rivals, not to mention stablemates, but who ever said sunglasses need to be particularly heavy or super-robust?
The POC Elicit Clarity sunnies have turned the cycling sunglasses concept on its head. Not only are they super-light, comfortable and superb when it comes to stability and fit - the lens is just brilliant providing its wearer with a crisp and unobstructed view ahead. While the lens has picked up a few scratches over the past few months - and that's more a case of riding outside in grim conditions - it's done well to stave off debris, grit and other foreign particles.
Of course, the question of robustness will ultimately be asked but so far so good. That said, we will report back on this again in the coming months. Owing to that reservation alone, the POC Elicit Clarity sunglasses just lose out to a perfect score but that might change by the end of summer.
At £180 / $250 / €240, they're positioned in the upper echelons of the segment but they're certainly worth the money if you want to keep your vision as natural as possible.
Tech Specs: POC Elicit Clarity sunglasses
- Price: £180 / $250 / €240
- Weight: 23g
- Lens: Clarity lens
- Frame type: Frameless
- Colours: 6 frame colours
- UV protection: UV400
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Aaron is Cyclingnews' tech editor. Born and raised in South Africa he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. As the former gear and digital editor of Bicycling magazine and associate editor of TopCar, he's been writing about bikes and anything with wheels for the past 16 years. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic and completed the Haute Route Alps. When not riding, racing or testing bicycles in and around the UK's Surrey Hills where he now lives, he's writing about them for Cyclingnews and Bike Perfect.
Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB