If you are into custom eyewear then you will have no doubt already heard of the brand SunGod. The brand has built a name for itself offering a fully customizable eyewear experience to everyday riders, as well as sponsoring the World Tour team Ineos Grenadiers. SunGod’s Pace Series consists of four riding glasses aimed at mountain biking, gravel, and road. The range consists of the Vulcans, smaller Velans, Airas I’m testing here, and the elusive GTs.
The Airas was added alongside the Vulcan and Velan as a frameless or bottom half frame specifically for cycling and feature a large lens aimed at giving an uninterrupted field of view and wide protection. As with all SunGod eyewear, they are unmatched in custom options but how does the Airas performance stack up against the best MTB sunglasses?
Design and specification
Straight from the off, there are a lot of options when it comes to designing your perfect pair of SunGods. I chose the Matte Black and Gold color scheme from the 10 preset designs which includes a couple of signature limited edition designs too.
It's all about the customization options though and there are eleven color options for the arms and lower frame, nine colors for the icon, and eight colors for the ear socks. There are also ten lenses to choose from too. The website is easy to use and the process is quite fun as you get an accurate render of your prospective sunglasses as you flick through color schemes. It would be nice to see a little more variety in colors as the options are mostly monotone with the exception of the Navy, Mint, or Pink colors.
The $170 / £140 base cost puts the Airas in the low premium bracket and competitive with a lot of other premium eyewear on the market. The costs begin to rise once you start customizing things, I chose to add a base frame which increases the price by $20 / £20 and if you want the option to switch between the two it's an additional $20 / £20. While all the frame and detail colors don’t increase the cost, changing the lenses does. Choosing any lens that inst the two base lenses (clear and 8KO HV Blue) bumps the price by $25 / £20, and opting for a Photochromatic lens doubles that.
The Airas share a lot of similarities with the Vulcan’s I have already tested. The lens shape is very similar with the same pointed lower frame and width but there is an extra 5mm extra height on the Airas. The arms look to be the same shape as well although they have a svelter hollowed-out design and a different hinge and lens fixture. The lower frame and nose piece look to be identical though.
Like the Vulcan’s, the arms have a pronounced curve to them which could be an issue with some deep-fitting MTB helmets. They worked with my Smith Forefront 2 and POC Axion but more enduro-focused helmets like the POC Kortal Race will require arms that sit flatter to the head. I would recommend looking at the Julbo Fury, Smith Optics Wildcat, or POC Devour.
Losing the upper frame saves around 7g and gives the glasses a light flexy quality and makes them feel very light when worn. I didn’t have any problems with them slipping down my face when riding over bumpy stuff and there are four interchangeable nose pieces to fine-tune face fit. By removing the top frame you get an excellent field of view too especially if you frequently find yourself peeking up from a tucked aero position on a gravel or road bike.
I have the 8KO Gold lens which gives a bluish tint and a contrasty finish that's great when riding in open and direct sunlight. I have also previously used both SunGod’s photochromatic lenses on the Vulcans and would recommend the 8KO Iris Smoke rather than the 8KO Iris HV Blue for changeable light conditions or dawn till dusk bikepacking rides. There is also a clear lens option too if like me your local trails snake through very dense woodland. Len’s fogging hasn’t been an issue either as there is no top frame to trap heat and the ventilation is good without being too breezy when I was riding fast.
I noted in my Vulcan review that I had some durability issues, particularly around the ear socks. So far the Airas have been fine but I will report back if they start to show signs of premature wear. Now is a good time to mention that SunGod offers a lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects.
The SunGod Airas are an excellent pair of riding specs with a very light, secure, and comfortable fit and great lens performance. Custom options are going to be a big draw for those who want to stand out a little and it's a fun process choosing your own design. They are big, but the huge lenses and frameless top means gave me a completely uninterrupted field of view, plenty of protection, and I didn't have any issues with fogging either.
The SunGod’s are expensive though and the premium for bespoke customization can really add up, especially when there are discounts floating around on the off-the-shelf main competitors. Although you don’t get quite the same level of control, there are other brands that offer customizable riding eyewear for less too. Melon’s Kingpin for example gives you a modicum of creative freedom, Photochromatic lenses, and a hard case for $184 / £145.
Tech specs: SunGod Airas sunglasses
- Price: Starting at $145 / £120 ($192 / £162 as tested)
- Lenses available: 8KO Clear, 8KO HV Blue, 8KO Smoked, 8KO Silver Blue, 8KO Fire, 8KO Green, 8KO Purple, 8KO Gold (tested), 8KO Iris HV Blue, 8KO Iris Smoke
- Weight: 31g