Happiness, as we know, is an elusive concept; wise people have long been telling us that, as a steady state of being, it’s unattainable. Only by living in the moment, enjoying the journey, and letting go of unnecessary desires can we attain something close to happy.
This is all well and good, and for most people would be excellent advice.
I, on the other hand, can describe to you the exact conditions required for my personal happiness, and if it weren’t for such inconveniences as work, mortgages, and meteorology, I could live it.
The fact is that I am a solar-powered cyclist
I am also a man whose sense of self-worth is underpinned by cycling, and I’m perfectly calibrated to attain a zen-like state by means of a consistent pedal-stroke of 90rpm and delivery of 90% of my functional threshold power.
Bouncing between zones two and three, on an alpine gradient, under hot sunshine, with a slight breeze, as the sweat drips down onto my top-tube, is my (admittedly not very catchy) definition of happiness.
To sum this up more succinctly: all I’ve ever wanted is to be a SunGod.
Like Helios, in Greek mythology, or perhaps mahogany hued pro-cyclist Alejandro Valverde (minus the dubious back-story).
Which leads me neatly on to these rather impressive shades from the people at SunGod.
Let me set the scene
We all know that it’s possible to spend a frankly astonishing amount of money on a pair of shades. For something stylish, durable, well fitting, and with top class lenses, well north of £100 is standard.
This is fine.
No problem with that.
Except that shades get trodden on, ridden over, and left in cafés more than any other item of expensive cycling kit. To want to save yourself a few quid is perfectly understandable.
The PaceBreakers, from SunGod, with their best polarised lenses, come in at £85. With the non-polarised lenses, £60. This is the first reason for giving them a look.
Second, is the customising tool.
Pick a lens type/colour, and colours for the frame, ear socks, and SunGod logos. It’s great. You can play around with combinations and see how they look on screen. Match them to you kit, your bike, your eye-colour – or why not knock yerself out and mis-match them.
Click next-day delivery if you like, et voila!
The clincher, of course, is whether they’re any good
The lenses, surely, are the most important bit.
My other set of shades are of the uber-expensive variety, and are made by a super-stylish Swedish brand. I bet you can guess who. These are a natural comparator for my SunGods.
Good lenses enhance the light and the precision of what you can see. They help you pick out the road, the background, potholes, or gravel, and make each ride a fundamentally more secure and comfortable experience.
I am not an optics expert, but I can’t find a significant difference between the lenses on my two pairs of shades.
The SunGod lenses are excellent (I’m referring to the polarized ones – the slightly more expensive of their range). Take them off, then put them back on again, and the improvement in clarity is very obvious. On the bike, with the scenery flashing past at speed, they work beautifully.
I have no problem recommending them.
Style-wise – it’s about personal taste, isn’t it?
They are not over-fussy, or styled to within an inch of their life. Depending on the colour scheme you go for they are basically pretty understated. They bear some resemblance to other cycling shades out on the market, without shamelessly ape-ing then.
Make your own mind up.
They are light, and comfortable.
The nose piece has slightly grippy feel to it, as do the ear socks, and they stay where you put them. They don’t quite have that don’t-even-know-you’re-wearing-them quality that the most comfortable shades offer, but they’re very wearable.
For a dozen rides, in all conditions, they haven’t fogged-up once. This is very important. Cheap and nasty shades fog-up (even when they say they won’t) and decent, well designed shades don’t.
Big tick in the box for that one.
And what else?
Lifetime guarantee. I will quote them directly here: “If they break (or you break them) we will repair your Pacebreakers™ free of charge.”
Can’t say fairer than that.
In the sweet spot
I like my uber-expensive Swedish shades, but they are not for the faint of heart. Sometimes I don’t want to look like that and I’m delighted to wear my SunGods instead.
The best way I can sum them up is to say they’re right, smack bang in the sweet spot: Style-price-quality.
You can’t go wrong.