Uvex SGL 202 Vario sunglasses ReviewMay 28, 2012
- Amazingly light—just 0.8 ounces
- Frameless design provides a large, clear field of view
- Photochromic lenses obviate the need for switching lenses to match light
- Super-flexible frames don't grip as well as some burlier glasses
Well-designed, super-light glasses with excellent, photochromic lenses that are the right choice for almost any daylight conditions.
Cycling-specific, frameless sunglasses with photochromic lenses
For years I’ve ridden with interchangeable lens glasses, switching out the lenses for the day’s conditions. The more you do that, the more fingerprints and scratches you’ll get on the lenses, and the more likely it is you’ll lose one. And odds are, you’ll still find that the chosen lenses were wrong for the conditions at some point during the ride.
Photochromic lenses vary their tint as the light conditions change. You need never handle the lenses and they are (almost) always the right tint for the conditions. Uvex’s entry in this category, the oddly-named SGL 202 Vario glasses, feature their “Variomatic lenses” in an amazingly light, rimless package that excelled in nearly every condition they were subjected to.
As it should, the lens is what makes the SGL 202s so good. The distortion-free lens offers a full, obstruction-free field of view. It also features an outer coating that repels dirt and grease and an inner one that resists fogging. I was able to test that feature during a trail ride in utterly swampy conditions following a rain storm. Though I was moving slowly on that hot, humid and windless day, the SGLs remained clear. Upon stopping to check the map, they did fog up but miraculously cleared almost instantly once I started moving again. The coatings also kept the lenses clear after being drenched by another rider’s wheel spray and remarkably free from spots of dried sweat. After long, hot rides, I’ve had plenty of other glasses that resembled the windshield of a car following a salt truck in a snowstorm. I was amazed at how clean the SGL’s lenses remained in challenging conditions.
Lens: Changing Light
The tint of the lens worked as promised. I never noticed them getting darker or lighter–they were always just right, even when alternating between full sun and shade. The only time I found the tint lacking was on a sunny cross-country ski day at 10,000 feet. They were simply overpowered then, which admittedly exceeded the conditions that Uvex states these glasses will perform in.
The frame, what little there is of it, performed nearly as well as the lenses. The arms integrated well with most helmets I tried, but it’s always a good idea to check compatibility. Initially I faulted the lightweight arms for being too noodley to keep the glasses in place. However after aggressively reshaping them, I found they hold reasonably well. On the pavement, the SGLs usually stayed put but descending a water-bar-littered trail caused them to creep down my nose.
On virtually every ride, Uvex’s SGL 202s simply performed superbly and without distraction, to the point that they disappeared. While rough, off-road rides and high altitude winter excursions were a bit beyond their abilities, the SGL’s performance at all other times make them an excellent choice for riders seeking a feather-light sunglass for variable light conditions.