Rudy Project was founded by Rudy Barbazza in Treviso, Italy back in 1985 — right at the height of the 80’s sunglasses boom. Oh, the memories… Fast-forward to today and the all-new Tralyx shades have the cycling package nailed — including photochromic lenses to adapt to light conditions.

Rudy Project Tralyx Sunglasses Features:

  • Interchangeable lenses (tested with ImpactX-2 Photochromic clear/black)
  • Adjustable anti-slip temple tips and nose pads
  • RP-D Centered optics
  • PowerFlow air vents
  • MSRP: $274.99

Rudy Project Tralyx Sunglasses Review

Setting the table

Since 1985, Rudy Project has been dedicated to providing eyewear and other accessories for athletes. With a huge following in the triathlon and cycling world, it’s a bit of a surprise that this is my first pair of Rudy’s. First pair or not, these were to be baptized by fire by testing them under all conditions I could throw at them.

When they arrived, it was the middle of winter, so I was able to test them extensively in dark, snowy conditions right out of the gate. Photochromic lenses are awesome in that they change the Visual Light Transmission (VLT) based on the strength of the UV rays present. Well, I dove headlong into trail running and cycling with the Tralyx and they have proven to be outstanding for both disciplines.

The Tralyx really are some top-notch cycling sunnies.

The Tralyx really are some top-notch cycling sunnies.

Definitive cycling sunglasses?

A quick edit to Wikipedia might place the Tralyx as the ultimate example of cycling sunglasses — they are that good. Before getting into that, lets set the table a bit. Rudy Project knows a thing or two about making performance-oriented sunglasses and the latest iteration of the Tralyx has all the right features — full-wrap, vents, optical clarity, adjustability, etc. And it throws in some sweet photochromic goodness to boot.

The foundation of every pair of sunglasses is the frame and these may not appear all that different, but they do have one key feature that’s not always found on all sunglasses and that’s adjustable temple tips. While the rubber ends are not the grippiest I’ve tested, the “Gumby-like” adjustability really helps keep these shades in place. I’ll add that the adjustable temples work in concert with the adjustable nose piece for the trifecta of fit. Be cautious as you make adjustments and do it in small increments for the best longevity.

On the bike and while trail running, that adjustability pays off in spades as these don’t move one bit. Quite honestly, they are among the best glasses I’ve tested as far as staying put. Be it road biking, mountain biking or trail running, I don’t have to worry about these moving around.

Lens ventilation is also excellent here as, like all sunglasses, they do fog up on occasion — notably, on cool, humid mornings after stopping for a mid-ride break. No worries, all it takes is a couple of pedal strokes and everything clears up in a jiffy. Wind protection is excellent on even the highest of high-speed descents.

The Tralyx is perfect for trail running.

The Tralyx are great for trail running too!

Photochromic adds to versatility

The lenses I’ve been testing are the ImpactX 2Black photochromic that transition from clear to black. Again, a fantastic lens for all the types of adventures I do. Quite often I ride early in the morning as the sun is just rising. These lenses start out clear and then darken as UV light increases. The transition is seamless and quick (on par with the Smith PivLock), but in my testing they are a little overly-sensitive to UV rays. Particularly on cloudy, snowy winter trail runs where the lenses simply became too dark and I had to remove them to see where I was going.

You can see in the following photo that the Smith’s photochromic lenses offer more fine-tuned light sensitivity that becomes apparent on cloudy, dark days. Just keep that in mind if you wish to use these for cross-country skiing or extensive winter trail running.

The Smith PivLock lens was noticeably lighter on cloudy, snowy days.

The Smith PivLock lens was noticeably lighter on cloudy, snowy days.

Something that’s important with all cycling-focused sunglasses is how well they interface with a variety of helmets. So far, these have worked perfectly with the Rudy Windmax Fluo, Garneau Course, Garneau Heros, Bontrager Lithos and POC Trabec. That’s quite a variety of helmets, so I’d consider these to be universal and should work with nearly all helmets. Additionally, the temples do have a slight bump out to allow the helmet straps to slide underneath — a nice touch.

Swapping lenses, if needed is also a breeze. All you need to do is pull the top/center of the frame away from the lens and proceed to remove one end at a time. Even if you don’t swap lenses, I’ve found it good to do that every so often to properly clean the lens. Optical quality is excellent with no distortions — even at extreme peripheral angles.

The Good

  • Adjustable temples and nose mean these stay put
  • Ventilation is excellent
  • Wraparound fit offers wide coverage
  • Optical quality
  • Compatible with a wide variety of helmets
  • Lightweight
  • Easy lens changes
  • Good scratch-resistance

The Bad

  • Photochromic turns too dark on cloudy, snowy days
  • Wicked-expensive at full price

The Bottom Line: Rudy Project Tralyx

No product is perfect, but these are some of the finest cycling-specific sunglasses on the market. They are some of the most common sunglasses used by pro cyclists and triathletes and are trusted by amateurs alike. With excellent optical quality and adjustable fit, these are the ones I’m grabbing for every ride.

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In Summary

9.3 The Cycling Sunnies

It's hard to imagine a more well-suited pair of glasses for cycling. I love the photochromic lenses (though they could be a little less sensitive on cloudy days) and most of all the adjustable fit. These things simply stay put on my face no matter how much I'm sweating or how much I'm bouncing around.

  • Fit 10
  • Optics 9
  • Ventilation 9
  • Quality 9

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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