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Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses review

Rudy Project's Cutline is a stylish yet tailorable cycling sunglasses solution built around performance and comfort

Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Our Verdict

The Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses are an out-and-out performance offering that favours function over form - they're stylish, too

For

  • Comprehensive wraparound fit
  • Photochromic lens properties
  • Refined, unique aesthetics
  • Interchangeable bumpers

Against

  • Only comes with one lens
  • Pricey

Rudy Project is one of the founding proponents of the cycling sunglasses movement, having risen to prominence during the '90s in an effort to thwart Oakley's dominance in the professional rungs. Many iconic models followed, including the radically styled Performance, Extreme and Aggressor - considered by many as the blueprint upon which the Rudy Project brand was built.

The newest edition to Treviso-based firm's ever-growing portfolio of eyewear systems is the Rudy Project Cutline. Unveiled at the 2020 Opti Munich, an international trade show for optics and design, the Cutline slots in above the Defender as the best cycling glasses in the company's 'Performance Eyewear' range. 

As an official partner of Team Bahrain McLaren, Rudy Project continues to use the WorldTour pro peloton as a testbed to continually refine and evolve its product offerings using real-world testing feedback. As such, the Cutline will be used in combination with the team's signature Defender shades and Spectrum helmet.

And while the Cutline has no doubt utilised some of this data during the R&D phase, RP designed it to appeal to a broader audience and can subsequently double up as a running eyewear option too.

Design and aesthetics

Like its predecessors, the new Cutline sunglasses feature a large wraparound lens but contrary to the contemporary design rhetoric currently doing the rounds Rudy Project has elected to forego the goggle-style craze with the Cutline offering a more functional and performance-orientated design approach.

It's far more refined-looking proposition that works more with the contours of the brow rather than providing an oversized flat shield with gaps in your peripheries. And while this wraparound-style shield has cost it when compared to the bold and express designs of its rivals, it's still a stylish pair of shades albeit in a clinical way. 

Still, if it's a bit of flavour you're after the Cutlines can be optioned in a host of colourways - eight to be exact. Our test pair came in stealthy black which is always a winner because its neutrality can be matched to any kit regardless of colour and design. That said - if a dollop of colour is needed later down the line you could always change out the frame bumpers for something a little more flashy.

Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses

The Rudy Project Cutlines play nicely will all helmet brands thank to the tapered arm stems (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Specification

There's no fancy tricks or marketing propaganda here. Instead, the Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses offer a minimalist and intuitive approach that makes life easy when it comes to removing the lens, bumpers and arm stems - no YouTube tutorials here. Simply slide off the bumpers or press the two side buttons on the temples to release the lens. At 35g they're also super-lightweight and appreciably durable.

Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses

Rudy Project describes the Cutline as a frameless model - three individual bumpers can be removed depending on rider preference (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Riding experience

A pair of cycling sunglasses is as much about the fit as it is the lens coverage and design and it's in this regard where the Rudy Project Cutline is ahead of the curve. The Cutlines will play nicely with any helmet thanks to the tapered, slimline arm stems that follow the ear shape and avoid making contact with the helmet's retention system.

The nosepiece and temple tips are adjustable and can be manipulated for a refined and personalised fit - and it's important you set this up before your first ride. If done correctly the glasses shouldn't move while riding, even when looking down at your cycling computer or wrestling with your handlebars up a torturous climb.

The biggest drawcard comes in the form of the ImpactX 2 photochromic lens. Not only does it change tint based on the intensity of the sun and prevailing light conditions, but it also provides an enhanced sense of clarity and field of view - even in rainy weather or on overcast days. It won't fog up either thanks to a system RP calls 'Power Flow', a series of vents on the lens and temples that increase airflow.

The lens is replaceable and, should you require something a little more flashy, can be specced with RP Optics Multilaser lenses which neutralises ultraviolet radiation.

In terms of user preference, the Cutline sunglasses can be worn with or without the interchangeable bumpers. While some people find them distracting and prefer a maximum field of view, they do provide an extra level of protection should you drop them or be involved in a crash. 

Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses

An adjustable nosepiece and temple tips deliver offer enhanced levels of retention and comfort (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Verdict

The Rudy Project Cutline is the ideal eye protection companion for the cyclist who craves performance and favours function over style kudos. That's not to say the Cutlines are devoid of any style - in fact, with eight frame and lens colours to choose from they can be matched with any wardrobe and colour palette. 

It's in the performance stakes where the Cutline edges ahead of its rivals. No matter your riding style or cycling goals - it can do it all thanks to the clever use of strategic venting which nullifies lens fogging, the tailorable fit and the unobstructed visual clarity it provides its wearer.

Yes, there are some more appealing and compelling options available from the likes of Oakley, 100% and POC but none can match the Rudy Project Cutline when it comes to fit and comfort. It's this 'set and forget' quality that has earned them a place in our best sunglasses for cycling buyer's guide.

Tech spec: Rudy Project Cutline sunglasses

  • Price: £168
  • Weight: 35g (actual)
  • Lens technology: ImpactX 2 Photochromic Black
  • Frame type: Rimless, with interchangeable bumpers
  • Lens options: 2 (ImpactX or RP Optics)
  • Frame colours: 8
  • UV protection: Yes

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Aaron Borrill
Aaron Borrill

Aaron was the Tech Editor Cyclingnews between July 2019 and June 2022. He was born and raised in South Africa, where he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. Throughout this career, Aaron has spent almost two decades writing about bikes, cars, and anything else with wheels. Prior to joining the Cyclingnews team, his experience spanned a stint as Gear & Digital editor of Bicycling magazine, as well as a time at TopCar as Associate Editor. 


Now based in the UK's Surrey Hills, Aaron's life revolves around bikes. He's a competitive racer, Stravaholic, and Zwift enthusiast. He’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, completed the Haute Route Alps, and represented South Africa in the 2022 Zwift eSports World Championships.

Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB