While cycling glasses have converged somewhat into variations on a large singular lens, there is still room for a few different schools of thought in terms of design and functionality. The 100% Hypercraft fall into the category of ‘make it look space age and really, really light’, along with a few others from our guide to the best cycling glasses, such as the Poc Elicit.
To see how they compare to the competition I’ve been testing them out in the sunshine of a heatwave, and the perennial grey skies that the north of England offers too, on both road and gravel. Read on to see how the lenses are, whether they’re comfortable and stay on, and whether they represent value for money too.
Design and aesthetics
I’ve never sat in on a meeting of designers. I imagine it’s much like any other meeting, with one poor soul up front with a flipboard of terrible quality paper and some coloured pens that are a little too dry for the task at hand. Fortunately, the designated scribe in this case will have only had to write one word: Angles.
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Other than the curve of the lens and the arms in order to wrap around the face I’ve been unable to find a single organic line on these cycling glasses. It’s all angles; the lens is a complex polygon with lower tabs jutting above the cheekbones, arm tabs that extend out from the upper reaches, and triangular cutouts above and below the eyes. In order to negate the usually delicate arch at the top of the lens, there is a central plateau, beset on both sides by triangular ramps too.
The arms, protruding as they do from the top corners, haven’t been spared either. They are sculpted and shaped to match, with hollowed-out front sections and slightly wider rears with grippy pads. It all adds up to produce a striking, rather waspish package that sits at the polar opposite end of the spectrum to something like the POC Aspire in terms of aesthetics.
In this model, I’ve been treated to a purple-tinted lens, with a black/purple/neon yellow fade on the arms and a neon yellow nose gripper. There’s a tiny 100% logo, also in neon green on the arms, but given how spindly they are, there isn’t much real estate for large logos.
All things considered, I quite like how they look. They’re striking, but not overly so with this purple lens which to all intents and purposes looks black. Also, when compared to something like the Oakley Kato they’re pretty understated.
Field of view
The lens shape starts to make sense here beyond the realm of design and aesthetics. The way the lower of the lens angles outwards looks like they’d leave you with a cutout in your field of vision, but this isn’t the case. The lower lateral protrusions actually sit right where you need them, keeping the field of view excellent, but allowing the glasses to shed a few grams of unnecessary material.
The position of the arms too, high up out of the way without unnecessary material encroaching onto the lens themselves, couples with the arms themselves being insectile in their narrowness means they rarely feature in the eyeline.
From my experience, the field of view is up there with the best, if not the best outright in this regard. They’re not quite as good in the peripherals as the Katos, but the lens height and the arms mean the overall field of view is almost totally unobstructed. The neon yellow nosepiece did occasionally drift from my unconscious into being noticeable, but it’s low profile enough that this was a rarity, and with models that have black grippers I’d wager you’ll never give it a second thought. The only noticeable aspect of the lens is when riding in an aero position. The cut-outs at the top of the lens are positioned in such a position that I often find myself looking through them, which can be marginally distracting.
Lenses can make or break a set of cycling glasses. Too dark and they’re useless if a cloud rolls over, but too transmissive and you’ll end up squinting at sunset. They need to shield your eyes from the wind too, especially on high-speed descents. The lenses on the 100% Hypercraft, these ‘Dark Purple’ varieties, were clear and free from any perceptible distortion. They aren’t as contrasty as the HiPER models from the brand, but for general use, they’re acceptable and keep the sun out.
They’re not brilliant in low light, or in woodland, but they’re also noticeably cheaper than the HiPER varieties too. If you can spend more for the better lenses it’s going to be a noticeable difference (in my experience having used them with other models), but you’re not going to have a bad time with these in the summer. What’s more, they ship with a clear lens, so you’re covered for low light and night riding regardless, even if it’s not always the ideal choice.
Thanks to how they sit on the face – noticeably far out from the eyes – they do suffer from internal reflections with the sun behind or beside you, which can be distracting at times. It’s not a fatal flaw, but given that it’s noticeable in high summer I suspect it’d be even more prevalent in the shoulder seasons and winter when the sun is lower.
Where the 100% Hypercraft really shine is how they deal with heat. The large vents certainly aid the airflow, but from what I can tell the same lens position that leads to internal reflections is what allows a good airflow in behind. They’re not as breezy as the Kato, which had a genuine issue in this regard, but if you like to feel totally shielded from the wind then maybe look elsewhere.
Conversely, if you ride in hot, humid conditions then these will not only help keep the fog away but also keep your face cooler. In very hot conditions I usually take my glasses off while climbing as I feel stuffy, but it’s not necessary with these.
Comfort and retention
You might not think a few grams makes the difference, and you probably wouldn’t notice it on a wheel, but on your face, when it’s resting on your nose and ears you can feel the difference. The 100% Hypercraft were the lightest glasses in our best cycling glasses group test by a single gram over the POC Elicit, and while they’re not noticeably lighter than those they are appreciably light compared to the majority of the competition.
For such a light pair they do stay in one place very well. Frameless cycling glasses, with the exception of the Kato and Oakley Encoder, are far more flexible and so don’t grip the temples as well, particularly if you have a small head. It’s a feature with the POC Elicit, the Oakley EV Zero and here, but of the flexi-frameless crew, the Hypercraft clings on the best. What’s more, the very skinny arms don’t interfere with helmet cradles either.
If you’re a small-headed person and using them off-road, you may still get a bit of slippage on bumpy ground, but they hold up pretty well there too. The only issue I found in terms of comfort and fit was that thanks to the height of the lens low-browed helmets can sometimes rest on the upper plateau of the lens, weighing them down on the nose.
These are a very good pair of cycling glasses. Not the best overall, but specifically for riding in very hot conditions I think they may be top of the tree. The airflow is perfect, the fit is sublime thanks to the low weight, and the field of view is excellent. The lenses aren’t the best in low light, but if you can upgrade to the models with HiPER lenses that’ll cover that base a lot better.
|Design and aesthetics||All angles won’t be to everyone’s taste but I think they’re a good looking set of glasses||8/10|
|Field of vision||Almost totally unobstructed in every direction||9/10|
|Lens performance||Not the best in low light, but in sun and in hot weather they perform excellently||8/10|
|Comfort and retention||They don’t hug like a vice, but they stay put and have sublime airflow too, plus a barely-there weight helps||9/10|
|Value for money||This performance for this price is excellent, even more so if you find them reduced||8/10|