Rapha’s previous shades have been orientated towards performance, whereas these new City Glasses have much more of a casual, retro feel to them. Rapha says that they’re can “move effortlessly between life on and off the bike”. I’ve been putting that to the test…
They’re available in two designs, a round lens and the square design I’ve been ‘modelling’ They’re available in five colours – black, brown, grey, silver and LA (a sort of light gold metal work with tortoiseshell parts) all with different lens tints. The design is inspired by the sixties peloton apparently and the City glasses really wouldn’t have looked out of place perched on the noses of legends like Fausto Coppi or Michele Bartoli.
It’s not all just style though – the lens come from renowned glass manufacturer Carl Zeiss, and are scratch resistant, hydrophobic (water repelling) and oleophobic (oil repelling). With full UV protection and superb clarity these will protect your eyes from harmful rays when your hanging out at the coffee shop or relaxing poolside in St Tropez (you have seen the price right?).
The frames are made of a combination of Italian Mazzucchelli acetate bonded to spoke thin galvanized steel arms (you’ve probably guessed by now that Rapha have their shades made in Italy).
The enclosed metal hinges lock at both open and closed position with a satisfying clunk and there is more than enough spring in the arms to offer great grip when riding. The retro styling would lend themselves to rides like the Tweed Run or L’Eroica and for both around town and on the bike cruising these are way better than your average fashion glasses.
I’ve been wearing and riding in the City shades for a while now and they’ve fast become my favourite non-performance-performance shades. If you know what I mean?
They are pricey, but no more so than a pair of Ray Bans or myriad worse looking fashion shades, and these are just as well made and – obviously – work better on the bike. The retro look leather zipped pouch is a nice touch, as is the cleaning cloth. I’m not going to recommend these as a replacement for Oakleys or Rudy Projects for serious riding in, but they are very, very cool.
For the first time Rapha also offer these in a prescription ready version too so you can get the stylish frames for £110 and have your own lens specification fitted.