- High quality lens with no distortion
- Hydroleophobic coating keep moisture from sticking on the lens
- Frameless top prevent brow sweat from dripping on lens
- Wide field of vision
- Available in standard or larger lens sizes
- Light weight at 26 grams
- Comes standard with 3 nose pads for optimal fit options
- Custom color at minimal upcharge
- No slippage even with heavy perspiration
- Temple fits rear view mirror
- Lens lock tab difficult to use
Price: $230 std; $235 customized
Colors Std: Black/White, Black/Torch (orange), Cyan/White, White, Matte Black, Matte Silver (lens color varies with frame)
Colors Custom: Wide range
Source: Company website, online
How obtained: Sample from company
RBR Sponsor: No
Coating: Hydroleophobic, anti-reflective, anti-scratch anti-fog ri-pel
Fit: GP-1 (smaller faces & 53 mm tall lens); GP-1X (57mm tall lens)
Half-Frame Style with Loads of Features
This was my first experience with ROKA products, so I thought I’d share their company background. ROKA started in 2011 in an Austin, Texas garage by two swimmers looking to build the world’s fastest wetsuit. Today they have expanded beyond technical apparel to performance eyewear and storage solutions.
Recently ROKA sent me a pair of their GP-1 half frame sunglasses. They were the only sunglasses I took on a trip to Tucson for a week of testing. I was very impressed with the light weight, fit and lens quality.
There are two versions of the GP series sunglasses; GP-1 and GP-1x. The GP-1 is designed for smaller faces and has a 53 mm tall lens, while the GP-1x has a 57mm tall lens which provides 7% more viewing area. Having a narrow face, the GP-1 fit just right. It also provided excellent field of vision and with no top frame there was no obstructed view even in the drops.
No Slip Fit
ROKA ships 3 nosepiece options with the GP-1 to ensure a custom fit. But out of the box the nose pad that came on the sunglasses fit perfectly. If I had to change the nosepiece, swapping out is simple.
ROKA uses GEKO™ technology to provide a no slip surface for the nosepiece and temple, even when perspiring. The larger lens GP-1x version comes fitted with Titanium core wires that allow the wearer to adjust the temple pieces for a custom fit. Wrapped in GEKO™, the core wire fit system provides retention and comfort.
Lens Coatings for Improved Performance
The GP-1 sample I tested had a dark carbon lens with a transmission of 11% and a category 3 rating. I found the lens high quality and there was no distortion. Even going from light to shaded at high speeds, I could easily see the changes in the road conditions.
The lens is treated with several coatings to improve performance.
- Hydorleophobic coating is applied to the front and back-side to keep moisture from sticking on the lens
- Anti-scratch protection is applied to front and back
- Anti-reflective coating is applied in multi-layers to the back-side
- Anti-fog ri-pel coating applied to the back of the lens to prevent fogging
- Depending on the lens, a multi-layer mirror coating or polarization film. The model I tested had a black mirror coating.
The hydroleophobic coating really helped to keep rain and perspiration from sticking to the lens. It was rare I needed to clean the lens after a ride. Also, by only having a frame on the bottom half, sweat did not drip down the lens and it helped with ventilation. Most of the time, the anti-fog coating worked well, but there were a few instances I had to move the glasses down my nose slightly to clear the fog.
ROKA uses a lens lock tab for replacement or swapping of lenses. The lock tab provides a guide for lens placement and confirmation it is securely seated in the frame. I found the tab lock difficult to use and worried I might break the frame.
Besides 3 different nose pads, the GP series comes with a hard zipper case and soft bag that doubles as a lens cleaner. The sunglasses are available in a variety of standard colors and for an upcharge of $5 you can customize the frame, lens, rocker (bottom frame) and GEKO temple grips in a host of color combinations. The custom option is nice if you want to match your helmet/bike. Or pick colors that are loud or as subtle as you want.
As a contact lens wear, I was pleased with the coverage and had no issue with debris getting into my eyes or dryness from the wind.
If you use a rear-view mirror on your glasses, the temple of the GP series is narrow enough to accommodate a mirror.
ROKA’s GP series sunglasses offer a lightweight, stylish and quality option for cyclists. Select from one of their standard colors or get creative and customize your look. The different lens coatings improve performance and visibility on your rides. Just put them on and forget about them. Just enjoy the ride.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.