Skip to main content

Red Bull Spect Bow glasses review

Do the Red Bull Spect Bow’s cunning hidden hooks really grab them an advantage when it comes to casual looks with chaos proof security?

Red Bull Spect Bow
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Dark polarised lenses won’t suit every situation but if you want excellent glare-free optics with serious MTB security despite casual style then the Spect Bow glasses are awesome

For

  • Casual looks, chaos stability
  • Excellent optics

Against

  • Polarised lenses don’t work with some screens

Red Bull’s Spect Bow sunglasses look like a standard, high-quality set of polarised sunglasses, but they’ve got a neat ‘hidden’ retro-based feature that keeps them hanging on when most other glasses would be long gone.

Performance

At first glance, the Bows are no different from the standard €69.99 glasses in the extensive range. There’s only one lens option which is fully polarised for excellent glare reduction and cool, clear eye-soothing vision on bright days whether the light is coming in direct or bouncing off snow. It’s on the dark side for wooded use on cloudy or dark days though and the polarising effect can weird out some GPS/watch/eBike displays. There are no soft nose grabbers or arm sleeves but the lightly sprung polycarbonate frames sit pretty securely on your face when just cruising or chilling out. The subtle Red Bull arm logos and less subtly branded zipped case also let people know you’re radder than average wherever you go.

Red Bull Spect Bow

Metal hooks on the legs are the Red Bull Spect Bow's hidden weapon (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

When you decide to prove your raddness physically it’s time to deploy the Bow’s hidden talent. Small metal sliders in each arm push out great grandad-style flexible metal hooks that loop around the back of your ear. They’re lightly ratcheted and adjustable in reach too, so you can properly lock down the fit and stability of the specs whatever your head shape or size. Despite initial scepticism (our default setting) they really work too, with zero movement or loosening of fit even on the longest, roughest descents we’ve tried them on. While the wires feel weird creeping your ears at first, you’ll soon forget them apart from the fact your specs are still on and haven’t slid down your snout or fallen off entirely. 

Obviously they don’t have the full protection of wraparound eyeshades and the frames are visible in the peripherals, but they vent very well because they’re not as close to your face. We’ve been wearing them as often as the sun has allowed and the inevitable mud wiping and branch swiping hasn’t caused a single scratch on the lenses. The frames are still tight and unmarked too, so if you’re after a leisure look these are legit riding specs.  

Red Bull Spect Bow

Secure enough to be worn while riding, casual enough to look good off the the bike as well (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

As long as it’s bright enough to make the dark lenses viable and you can handle some device screen weirdness the Bow’s are a really clever and practical design. The polarised lenses are great for minimum glare vision. They’re properly secure even when we’ve 'MIPS'ed ourselves stupid trying to shake them off and they’re tough enough to play rough too. Good looking off-bike versatility means the value is still good even at twice the price of the standard Spect range.

Tech spec: Red Bull Spect Bow glasses

  • Price: £129 / €139.99
  • Weight: 26g
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He got an archaeology degree out of Exeter University, spent a few years digging about in medieval cattle markets, working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit he’s also coughed out a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too. We trust Guy's opinion and think you should, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel Ltd MTBs, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Di2 Disc road bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg