There is an inevitability about this review. All premium sports sunglasses get measured against Oakley. That’s not fair but, I guess, if you manage to hit that yardstick then you’re looking at a very good product indeed.
SunGod aren’t a new start up. They’re 4 years old now. Life began, as it has with many new brands nowadays, as a crowdfunding campaign. First came the lifestyle sunglasses range, then came the skiing goggles, such things being quite a natural pairing, (I will be getting some of the goggles for my forthcoming ski holiday) The sports specific sunglasses came later, 4 years is actually quite a long time and, given how good SunGod were with their lenses from the off, it’s perhaps surprising that the Pacebreakers didn’t arrive a bit sooner. But R&D does take a long time and it’s important to get that product right.
I lost my SunGod virginity in the middle of 2016. Just before the Olympics they were selling a limited edition ‘Olympic edition’ of their classic renegade with the moniker ‘Going for Gold LE.’ Some notes here. Generally I shun anything flag related but since the only overt British branding was the glasses case I let that slide. I was drawn to the very reasonable price (£45) and the claim of superior 4KO optics. I didn’t really care that they were limited to 200 pieces, but they are exclusive and it’s nice to have something that you’re unlikely to see on anyone else on your summer hols. SunGod limited editions sell out pretty quickly and I guess I got lucky, saw the Facebook ad before others and got one of the last pairs (191 if you’re interested). And they’ve been bloody superb. They’re comfy, the lenses are outstanding, they handle being chucked in a drawer and generally abused and a year later they’re still as good as new. Above all they’re top quality for a very reasonable price.
But, away from the limited edition stuff, if SunGod has a USP then, aside from the hugely reasonable prices, it’s their customisation option. So from the classic, renegade and aviator styled maverick to the ski googles, you really can go mad with getting something personal to you. That sort of customisation isn’t unique but the sheer speed of the process from order to receipt really is. Order in the morning, get it shipped same day, they’ll be with you the next. That was certainly the case with mine. They were ordered on the bank holiday Saturday and when SunGod opened on the Tuesday morning I already had the despatch email by 9am.
So, onto the unboxing then.
It’s a fairly classy package as a whole. You get a nice microfiber case, a series of leaflets and stickers, a replacement nose bomb (of a different size) and, of course, the glasses themselves.
Let’s start with the lenses because, frankly, that’s the most important part of the package. They’re made from a 2mm polycarbonate core and, naturally, offer 100% UV protection. The frames are impact tested and exceed ISO standards. It’s worth dwelling on that. These are the real deal. None of this brittle plastic nonsense and in that respect SunGod stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best of brands. There’s triple layer scratch resistance and an anti reflective inner coating. In short, it’s all there. Play around with the slider on the website and you’ll get some idea how the lenses will look. You get to preview how the environment looks depending on your lens choice. That goes for the rest of the range too, including the ski goggles.
To save you some time this is the data for each of the lenses that can be ordered with the Pacebreakers. The clear and High-Vis blue are the choice for winter and inclement riding. The rest, well, it depends what kind of tint you’re after.
|LENS||LIGHT TRANSMISSION||POLARISED OPTION|
|4KO Pace Clear||89%||No|
|4KO Pace High-Vis Blue||44%||No|
|4KO Pace Pink||16%||Yes|
|4KO Pace Smoke||14%||Yes|
|4KO Pace Green||12%||Yes|
|4KO Pace Blue||11%||Yes|
|4KO Pace Fire||11%||Yes|
And these are mine. Click on this link to buy.
For me, going for green was a pretty straightforward choice. After all, they need to match my Giro Synthe (predominantly white) and my Cannondale Supersix, the green machine. That was entirely straightforward, just select all the green options, so lens, earsocks and the SunGod logo too. It’s worth pausing at this point to note that you can buy new earsocks if you want, they’re £8. You can’t change the SunGod logo after you buy them but that’s a pretty discreet package. Neither can you buy spare frames but, subject to what I say about the lifetime guarantee a little later, if you wanted a spare frame, spec one up with the clear lenses and you’ve then got a spare frame and lenses for those dark nights. The earsocks are grippy and slide on and off very easily indeed.
In my case I opted for the polarised lens. The total of the package as selected was £85. For a pair of high end custom sports sunglasses that’s really excellent. Drop the polarisation and you’re looking at £60. Which is, frankly, an utter bargain.
The front on profile is nicely curved. They sit well at your eyebrows and, in my case, say very well on my nose without changing the nose bomb. Field of vision is good with nothing showing up on the periphery. There is a very slight, miniscule gap in the nose bridge/lens interface area. I mention this as a very minor nit pick. In any event it almost certainly aids with the interchangeability of the lens. More of that in a bit.
There’s no adjustability in the arm length here, they come out at 125mm. They play perfectly with each of my current helmets, so the Synthe, Foray and Lumos. I’ve not tested them with a troublesome Kask but I hope to find one to check out whether they play nicely together. My impression of the plastic material in the frame, so far, is that it’s unlikely to pick up dirt or get grubby. Ditto the earsocks which are wipe clean.
The lenses are, of course, replaceable. I hunted in vain for instructions to carry this out. But, actually, it was pretty easy to figure out how it worked even without any. So, flip the nose piece back, pull the lens straight down. Slip the new one in, pop the nosepiece back into place. It’s slightly fiddly, needs both hands, but nothing all that tricky.
I have to say, I wondered why the instructions to change weren’t in the box. But, if you buy a spare lens, the instructions come with them and, it seems to me, that makes perfect sense. Why have instructions before buying that lens? And replacement lenses are really well priced, £20 for clear, £30 for all of the other options (including the High-Vis blue) and rising to £55 for each of the polarised options.
As you can see the rear of the nose bridge is all in one moulded rather than being floating or hinged. I stuck with the nose bomb that was already attached, the replacement being slightly larger and pushing the lenses off my cheek a little more. The hinges are snap lock so there’s absolutely no sloppiness to the fit. The overall weight of the glasses is a mere 27g. Essentially you won’t feel them in use. Coverage is good without being the full face mask of larger competitors. I have them for cycling but I think these are the perfect running sunglasses too. And they don’t look ridiculous without a helmet or cap either. I’d not wear them to the pub, the other SunGod’s in the range take care of that. But you can get by.
Fit is excellent. The overall construction is uniform and consistent so there’s no variation in the geometry across the arms. Place them on a table and both arms touch the table and the glasses sit level, good news for getting them to sit straight on your face, unless you have one ear lower than the other of course! The quality is superb. And it’s worth noting that they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. If they break (which is highly unlikely) or you break them, then they’ll be replaced. That doesn’t cover scratches, general wear, loss or theft. That’s a pretty clear endorsement of Sungod’s confidence in its own product.
But it’s the lenses that you came to hear about. And, on that score, they’re superb. As I said above I opted for the 12% light transmission green polarised lenses. Again, I don’t think polarisation is necessary for everyday riding but, if you ride near a lot of water, for example, it might be a nice thing to have. I’ve been swapping back and fro constantly with my existing Oakley Jawbreaker to see if I could perceive any difference in quality. Bear in mind that’s Oakley’s latest Prizm lens too. It’s hard to draw a direct comparison as the tint (red) on those is different and they’re a shade lighter (20%). The 4KO pink would probably be better to compare directly. But the main point is that the optics are crystal clear, there’s no distortion and the field of view is undisturbed. In due course I’m going to be investing in the clear lens for my winter commute and the High Vis Blue for winter training and those dark, inclement days. I may even end up with another frame too. At these prices, why not…..
In terms of ventilation you’ll note that there are no holes on the lens. Nevertheless ventilation is still excellent. They sit on the eyebrow but off the cheek, airflow is therefore very good. Indeed, my first use was on a misty, damp and cool morning. I stopped at the traffic lights 10 miles into the ride, there was no fogging at all. The previous day, same conditions, same place, my Jawbreaker were all fogged up. Nothing all that surprising perhaps, the Jawbreaker are like a facemask, but the Pacebreakers were exemplary. They also coped extremely well, when the sun came out, with taking the edge of the road glare from the wet surfaces. And on the full on sun out rides in the dry they’re superb. The field of vision is excellent and you can’t feel that you’re wearing them. If you go absolutely boss eyed and look towards the nose bridge you can make out its presence. But, well, don’t. Keep those eyes on the road.
In short, this is a very worthy entry into the premium sports sunglasses market. At £60 for something you can customise to your heart’s content I think they’re absolutely brilliant. I’ve generated a few designs that you might like to have a look at but click on the links and have a play around, find something that suits your taste. And, obviously, get some of their lifestyle glasses while you’re at it. All hail the SunGod……..