French optics brand Julbo has been stopping people from squinting on sunny days in the Alps for over a century. While the lightweight, yet secure frames, excellent optic options and keen pricing would make its Fury glasses an impressive MTB intro amongst the best mountain bike sunglasses, it’s their toughness that makes them genuinely outstanding. Read on for a full breakdown of what makes them so good.
Design and performance
To put that into perspective while I’m never deliberately clumsy or careless with glasses, I have a horrible habit of finding they’ve got so scratched they’re barely unusable after a month of testing. In fact, in some cases, I’ve written off seriously expensive and well-regarded brands in a single ride without even knowing how. In contrast, I’ve been wearing three sets of Fury sunnies in pretty much constant rotation since spring and they’re still virtually unscathed apart from a couple of slight 1.5-2mm scars. Depending on the model, the lens uses an anti-fog and oil-repellent coating to resist steaming, water blurring and greasy finger marks. There are prescription options, too.
The Class 1 optical quality is excellent with various fixed tints available from the darker oil/mirror 13-percent light transmission Spectron 1, to the more temperate climate suited, light boosting 49-percent light transmission Spectron 3 Hi Contrast lenses that have been my go-to option. Alternatively, you can invest in the ‘Reactiv’ lenses that change from almost clear to smoke tint depending on the ambient light levels. With light transmission down to 87 per cent (‘Clear’ is 90 percent), these are great go-to specs for everything that’ll even work at night. The transition isn’t instant though so if you’re diving into dark woods off a sunny hilltop expect to be fumbling for a few seconds. They’re not oil-repellent coated either so they need cleaning more frequently.
All Fury models use the same lightweight full coverage frame which holds the lenses in the center only to stop distortion and make switching optics super easy. Ventilation gaps right across the top and sides and a lower edge cut-out keep steaming up to a minimum, too. You can see the frames themselves all around your peripheral which might annoy some but it's not enough to significantly reduce the field of vision. The soft shock-absorbing fixed nose pieces and cunning ‘violin bow’ elastomer ear grips keep the Fury secure even on the most furious descents apparently without sticking to hair (I can’t confirm or deny that). The locking hinges are still firm on all three sets even after months of heavy use and there are €54.95 Fury S glasses for smaller heads. You get a cleaning/carry bag and a soft case with every pair and considering the quality and durability, the pricing is excellent compared to other premium brands.
I normally temper my excitement at getting fancy new specs as I know they’ll somehow be ruined within a few weeks. Not only does the Julbo Fury offer zero distortion, steam-free clarity, secure comfortable fit and full coverage protection in a variety of easy switch optics and frame colors, it's also outstandingly tough which boosts its already good value right up to a wise investment rating. Expect to clean the Reactivs a bit more though, and be ready to buffer a bit in savage strobing conditions.
Tech Specs: Julbo Fury sunglasses
- Colors: Black/pink, Dark grey/orange, Black/green, Dark blue/green, Black/red, White/blue
- Lenses: Spectron 1, Spectron 3, Reactiv
- Weight: 26g
- Price: Spectron $129.95 / £80.00, Reactiv $219.95 / £155.00
Five Ten Freeriders have been around for many years in one form or another. Along with their chunkier stablemate, the Impact, Freeriders were one of the first models from the climbing shoe specialists to cause a stir amongst flat pedal mountain bikers.
With soles that provide fantastic pedal grip and feel, combined with casual looks and foot protection features, Freeriders are the most popular flat shoes around for good reason. The Pro model featured here costs a fair bit more than the standard Freeriders, but for our money, the added benefits are well worth the extra outlay and help to make the Freerider Pro one of the best flat pedal shoes on the market.