Smith Pivlock V90 Review

July 1, 2012
Smith Pivlock V90
Lens Clarity
Helmet Compatability
Coverage / Wind Resistance
Fit / Comfort
Overall Performance

The Good

  • Lightweight and comfortable, even under a helmet.
  • Wrap design with an open visual field and solid coverage.
  • Excellent optics.
  • Convenient lens-changing technology.
  • Excellent value with three lens colors included in package.

The Bad

  • The bronze mirror lens tested became easily smudged.
  • The nosepad piece in the Pearl color tested caused some visual disturbance.

Supremely comfortable, even when worn under a helmet, this lightweight performance wrap sunglass is spot-on for cycling. It offers excellent optics with a wide-open field of vision and good depth perception. To avoid lens-smudging issues, buyers might consider choosing one of Smith’s non-mirrored lenses.


In Smith’s lineup since 2009, the Pivlock V90 is a good-looking, go-to sunglass for cyclists that want a truly lightweight performance frame with an interchangeable lens system. Its minimal wrap design offers a wide-open field of view as well as good peripheral vision. The V90 is designed with a smaller silhouette than its big brother, the V90 Max, which is made for larger face shapes. With a small to medium fit, it is perfect for women and their small- to medium-sized male counterparts.

The V90 package is pretty well packed with features, which sweeten the $159 price tag. An easy-to-operate interchangeable lens system comes with three lenses and a case with a designated spot for the sets you aren’t using. The Pivlock system, which removes the temple quickly with a tilting-up motion, is simple and easy to maneuver for quick, no-fuss lens changes. We tested the Pearl frame color, which comes with the Bronze Mirror (for sunny bright light conditions), Ignitor (great for low light), and Clear (perfect for darker days and night riding) lenses.

Smith’s Carbonic TLT lenses delivered great optical clarity, epseciallywhen using the Bronze Mirror lenses, which afforded excellent definition in varying light conditions, ranging from super bright, blue-sky days in Moab to cloudy days in Durango. We did find that smudges and dirt were more noticeable (from the inside and the outside) on the mirrored lenses tested.

Unlike some of Smith’s other sunglasses, the V90 does not offer nosepad adjustability—or the opportunity for a more custom fit. Additionally, we experienced some visual disturbance from the white nosepad piece on the Pearl frame.

However, the Megol material nosepad did provide good grip when sweat came into the picture. And Smith also gets props for its green efforts—the Pivlock V90 is made of Evolve, the company’s proprietary 53-percent bio-based material derived from castor plants.


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