Oh yeah. Big, bold and brash is the order of the day and POC certainly has figured out that game. One of the top sunglasses in their line is the oversize Aspire Sunglasses. With these, you will enjoy supreme protection, a comfortable fit and superb optical clarity on even the longest rides.
POC Aspire Clarity Sunglasses Features:
- Large-shape sun protection for cycling
- Rubberized, adjustable temple tips
- Zeiss Clarity lens for supreme optical clarity and definition
- A wide variety of lens tints available (violet/silver mirror 25% tested)
- Anti-fog treatment
- Lightweight Grilamid frame
- Hydrophilic nose and temples
- Base Curve: 5
- MSRP: $219.95
Pro-level looks and performance
These days, the bigger the lenses the better. POC is no stranger to oversized lenses and the POC Aspire stays true to that shape. While some offer a more aggressive base curve, the Aspire sticks with a little flatter 5 base curve. This allows the lenses to achieve higher optical clarity while still maintaining proper coverage. Certainly, it also aids in airflow since it’s less conforming to your face.
As with any of these large frames, they may not be well-suited for anything off the bike, but they do just fine for running. Of course, my wife looked at me a little funny when I tried to pass he Aspire’s off as “around town sunnies,” so there’s that. If you’re confident off the bike in these, more power to you. But, on the bike, the POC Aspire is hard to beat.
After a few weeks of use on road, dirt and gravel, it was an easy choice to use the Aspire’s for the SBT GRVL Blue Course. At 103 miles with over 6k vert on mostly gravel roads, comfort was a top concern. The constant drone of gravel roads can amplify pressure points on your nose and behind the ears. After 7+ hours in the saddle, I had forgotten I was even wearing them. So, yes, comfort is tops with these.
Both the temple tips and nose feature hydrophilic rubber for added grip. And, the temple tips are adjustable so you can snug them to your face or open them up a little for added comfort. They aren’t quite as adjustable as a Gumby doll, but still offer a wide amount of adjustment. Unfortunately, the nose piece is not adjustable, so keep that in mind if you need an Asian fit or have an otherwise tricky-fitting nose. I had no issues as they sit flat and comfortably.
Fit is certainly most important, but you can’t overlook optical quality. When paying $220 for a pair of sunglasses, they better have Zeiss optics and these do. A few years back, I toured a Zeiss lens facility and there’s no question how impeccable their quality is. With the Zeiss Clarity lenses on the Aspire, you are guaranteed to have crystal-clear vision under all conditions. I can’t see any distortion — even at extreme angles. On top of that, they have been durable so far with cleaning and have never fogged up. As far as lens cleaning goes, I’ve just used a bit of water and a lens cleaning rag or even a paper towel (fine in a pinch, but not ideal).
Changing lenses is a little more tricky than other glasses I’ve tested. You really have to manhandle the lenses way more than is comfortable and getting either end of the lens popped back into the slot where the frame arms attach requires a bit of gumption. If you usually find yourself swapping lenses regularly, there are better choices, but if you swap them a couple of times per year, these are just fine.
Certainly, you can get lighter or darker lenses, if you prefer. I have found the violet/silver mirror with 25% VLT to be great for all but the darkest conditions. Early morning road, gravel or mountain bike rides have been perfect with the POC Aspire. On considerably cloudy mornings, I have gone with another pair of glasses with lighter lenses though.
I’ve worn them primarily with the S-Works Prevail II Vent, Giro Helios Spherical and KASK Valegro helmets. They fit well with each one and don’t interfere with the fit system. And… yes, it’s okay to mix helmet and sunglasses brands — the fashion police won’t pull you over.
- Zeiss lenses are the industry standard
- Excellent field-of vision
- Haven’t fogged yet
- Adjustable temples for improved fit
- Comfortable for all-day rides
- Lens changes require elbow grease and manhandling the lenses
- No adjustable nose pads
- Very pricey
The Bottom Line: POC Aspire Sunglasses
With a huge field-of-vision and all-day comfort, the POC Aspire sunglasses really shine. I put them on and don’t even think about them at all. Even on early morning rides, the 25% VLT lens lets in enough light for clear views of the road, gravel and singletrack. They stay put well on my face and have been durable so far. Just note that if frequent lens changes are your jam, there are better options.
Buy Now: Available from CompetitiveCyclist.com