By Colin Dennis
From the land of sunshine and plenty comes the world’s first Photochromatic Bi-focal sunnies – the BZ Optics PHO. And boy, are they brilliant!
Photochromatic glasses change in relation to the brightness of the sun and are fully protective against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB)
But from the inside, and this is an important safety factor for cyclists, you don’t get the darkening and loss of vision you’d normally associate with non-Photochromatic sun glasses.
This is great news for when you ride into the darkness of a wood or overhanging trees on a bright day when everything suddenly goes dark - no more worrying about disappearing potholes or puddles.
Born out of necessity
They might be new to this country, but in Australia BZ Optics are almost the default setting when it comes to sports glasses. Created from outdoor and cycle enthusiasts: Scott Birdsall and Kevin Barr, as we all know necessity is the mother of invention.
So it makes sense that our far-off cousins should gift us their expert knowledge and experience in the art of eye protection. This also compensates somewhat for giving us Neighbours and Home and Away!
At a meagre 27g the PHO Bi-optic glasses hardly register in the weight department as they sit gossamer-like in place on the bridge of your nose. The non-slip nose piece is fully adjustable and therefore should adapt easily to any shape or size of nose.
I found that the small, tear-drop lens at the bottom of each eye piece didn't need any getting used to. They are there when you glance down to bring the cockpit area and associated tech clearly into focus. The rest of the time they perform perfectly well, if not better than any other sports, or cycle specific sun glasses that I’ve ever used.
Breaking the rules
Lens strengths are available in: 1.5 2.0 and 2.5 magnification. Always worth having an eye test to get things checked out first. My annual eye test thankfully revealed no worsening due to using non-prescription eyewear.
The PHO Bi-optics are nice and wide too. They provide a fully rounded width fitting across the eyes ensuring any glare from the sun doesn’t creep in from the sides. This is also helped by the fact that they sit nice and close to the face so the sun is kept at bay from above and below.
Sitting this close to the face you might think that the PHO’s might steam up on warm, muggy days, but there has been little to almost no interference from that quarter.
The PHO Bi-optics are pliable and comfortable when fitting inside or outside your helmet straps (possibly ignoring rule #37 of Velominati. And what are rules for, if not for breaking? Great book to read by the way)
Clunk-click every trip
The BZ Bi-focals never once slid annoyingly down my nose, nor even felt like they might regardless of how rough and bouncy the terrain - whether inside the straps or not. Possibly the above mentioned rule was written before the introduction of compact helmets however? Form over function? No way!
The hinges are sturdy and have remained reassuringly snug in their movement over the last few months that we’ve been putting them to the test.
Should you need to replace or clean the lenses, the removal of said lenses couldn’t be simpler as the frames are pliable yet strong and with just a little persuasion the lenses pull out without any fuss. There’s a definite and audible click when you put them back in so you know you’ve located them properly in a click-and-forget kind of way.
In summary: Lightweight, secure and comfortable Photochromatic Bi-focal sunglasses that knock the spots off the competition to ease eye strain when trying to focus on your tech down on the bars.
The BZ Optic PHO sunnies are just what riders of a certain age have been looking for.