100% have a fine reputation in motocross and off-road circles, but if I’m honest their first stab at road cycling glasses left me a little cold. The fit wasn’t great and the quality didn’t really impress, They weren’t terrible but the original Speedcraft model from 2015 just didn’t feel like it merited a £140 price tag in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Oakley, Rudy Project, Tifosi and more.
It looks like 100% have done some serious work developing their glasses however and these Speedcraft SLs certainly show the fruits of their labours. Yes, they still have that divisively retro shaping, just like the Albas I’ve been wearing recently – my neighbours and riders who see me out on the roads of Wiltshire must think I’m in an 80s throwback phase!
The SLs have much more sweep to the lens compared to the original model, and the frames have a tenacious grip, bolstered by the sticky textured inserts on the arms (which are well blended into the crystal clear frames with an airbrushed white fade). The lens itself is beautifully finished, its clarity is impressive and the rounded smooth edges of the lens add quality too.
The frame has a step-up over the brow and the swept lens fills that gap, at first glance I thought the extra bit of lens would be only be useful if you had an extra eye at the top of your nose… In practice it means that when you’re riding head down and looking up you don’t see the frame in your field of vision. It’s a small thing but it justifies the shape too.
I’m also impressed by the SL’s resistance to fogging and the fit is tight and bounce free even when riding over rough stuff (as I’m sure Peter Sagan could attest to as he was wearing 100% shades when he won Paris-Roubaix recently).
The SLs aren’t cheap at £179.99, but our Aurora-Ice blue mirror lens model with crystal/white frames come with a hard case, soft bag/cleaner, a second clear lens and a spare soft nose bridge, so it’s not a bad package and matches what you get from the more established market leaders.
I like the SLs – in terms of riding performance these are up with the best, and a vast improvement over earlier attempts, the quality is superb (they are Italian made like most top-grade shades). Yes, the styling is a little challenging but then again, I don’t have to look at myself when I’m riding.