Sungod is relatively new to the sports sunglasses arena, the brand's Pace Series features four sets of glasses that are aimed at cycling. Sungod seeks to stand out from the best mountain bike sunglasses by offering levels of customization that the big players aren’t able to match. Customers are able to completely tailor the look and feel of the glasses from lenses, frames, and loads of color options, perfect for those that are looking for a really unique or custom look.
Looks aren’t everything though and the Sungod needs to compete on performance, fit and durability, too. We have covered a lot of miles to see how the Sungod Vulcans compete with the best out there.
Design and performance
You can really get stuck into the customization and it's a pretty fun process as you cycle through the different possibilities. The Vulcans come in either top-frame, full-frame, or with both the nose piece and lower frame which are interchangeable. Then there are 10 different frame colors, 12 lens options, nine Icon colors (the logos), and nine sock colors (the rubber sections on the end of the legs).
With the lenses being the most important part of any pair of sunglasses the 12 options available all offer different tints and colors, there are also two photochromatic options as well.
We opted for the Top and Full combo with a frosted clear frame with a contrasting black base, icon, and socks. We chose the Iris Smoke photochromatic lenses as well. That meant while the starting price for the Vulcans is $170/£125, adding full-frame or colored lenses all adds costs and our order ended up considerably more expensive at $280 / £210.
In the box, you get four different nose pieces and a micro-fiber pouch. Considering the price, it would have been nice to see a hard case as well to protect the glasses and keep spare lenses when being transported.
The Vulcan’s are a big set of glasses, something which I like as it adds more coverage and therefore protection from debris and weather. The lenses themselves measure 145mm across and 55mm deep. That puts them on the upper end of the sunglasses size spectrum and, although they look small against behemoths such as POC’s Devour, the Vulcans are noticeably bigger than the POC's Aim and Rapha’s Pro Teams. Big shades aren’t for everyone and those with smaller faces may be better off with the Velans which are the same in terms of spec and features, just with smaller lenses.
I found the Vulcans to be very comfortable and decently stable when battering over rough terrain thanks to the soft nose piece and bowed arm shape which helps grip your head. The wider shape of the arms does mean that the Vulcans (and likely any of the other Sungod Pace Series sunglasses) aren’t compatible with all helmets though. They worked fine with every road, gravel, or XC-style helmet I tried, however, they are not compatible with the trail or enduro helmets that extend down over the temples. If your helmet does have a deeper fit, you will want to look for a set of glasses with straight arms, such as the Julbo Fury, Smith Wildcat, or POC Aim.
As mentioned, we opted for the Photochromatic lenses which really impressed us. The clarity is as good as any other top-performing glasses we have used and transitioning between light to dark is reasonably quick, I'm not at all convinced by Sungod's claimed 25-second transition time though. The tint can go low enough to continue to be ridden into the night, a real bonus if you're into big mileage or bikepacking. The upper ends cover a good range of bright conditions although if you ride in very bright conditions it could be worth investing in a darker tint.
The Vulcans do a good job of resisting steaming, only clouding up if you come to a quick stop after particularly hot and bothering riding. It doesn’t take more than a couple of pedal strokes before they are completely clear again though. The lenses have a 'hydroleophobic' coating but you'll still need to give them an odd wipe to help clear moisture. The lens finish has proven to be very durable though and after a full winter of dirt and grime, there are no notable scratches.
There have been zero issues with the screwless hinges and the frames are still in great condition. The socks (rubber sections on the end of the legs) quickly become loose which has resulted in the legs poking holes in them. We also had two separate quality control issues with our order, the first set of Vulcans was missing the Icon logos and the second involved a bad batch of frames and lenses which meant the tolerance fit was too tight to be dismantled. To Sungod’s credit, these issues were fixed without question under the lifetime guarantee but it's something that must be mentioned.
It's been a real love/hate experience with the Vulcans. On one hand, the quality control and durability of the rubber legs have been a bit disappointing, especially considering the price point. Sungod might back you up with a lifetime guarantee to cover against any defects, but it doesn’t really get around the inconvenience of having to send them back and has thus been reflected in the score.
On the flip side though, the quality of the lenses has meant the Vulcans have been my go-to glasses, whether it's trail MTB, gravel, or road riding. The lens quality and polarization are superb across a huge range of conditions from dark woods to glaring sun. Amazingly the lenses have remained almost scratch-free despite frequently getting covered in dirt, grit, and tree branches, too.
Of course, it's the customization that is the real selling point for these glasses, and tailoring the colors to your helmet, kit, or bike is a really nice finishing touch for looking your best on the trail. Just be very sure to check that your helmet doesn’t extend down over your temples as the arms won’t sit right and Sungod offers no returns.
Sungod Vulcans are only available directly through Sungod.co.
Tech Specs: Sungod Vulcan sunglasses
- Price: Starting at $170/£125
- Colors: 10 customizable options
- Weight: 38g