For all of you out there who’ve been thinking “man, I wish the same people who made my grandma’s bike saddle would make sunglasses,” Serfas Optics has arrived. Eyeware from the famous Tawainese manufacturer brings a variety of styles to a pricepoint (MSRP $50) somewhat less obscene than bigger name brands. But how does the product compare?
Style: 3. Why else does anyone really wear sunglasses? The model I picked, the Hunters, was decently stylish. At anything other than close inspection, they looked like an expensive bit of performance eyeware. Of course, once you tell people Serfas makes them, they laugh at you, but the style is undistinctive enough that few people ask. Good range of frame/lens colors to coordinate with your outfit. So 3, right dead in the middle of the road.
Performance: 4. Not bad. In fact, quite good. The glasses, which have the standard rubber pads on the nose and ear pieces, stay put extremely well. I never had trouble with sliding down even while riding a rigid MTB fixed-gear through a rock garden in 90% humidity. Yeah, they collect sweat and occasionally fog, but no worse than any other sunglasses out there. Plus, they’re very lightweight and don’t make the tops of your ears ache. Lens changing was tricky to figure out, but simple after the first time.
Lenses: 3. The Hunters (and I believe all the other interchangable Serfas shades) come with 4 polycarbonate lenses – gray, red, yellow and clear. Red is a darn good multi-condition lens for anything from bright and sunny to moderately overcast. The grey lens would be decent for sunny days if it didn’t diffuse direct sunlight in the AM and evening all throughout your field of vision, making it seem like you’re riding in fog. Clear is for rain (duh) and performs adequately, while yellow is a good twilight lens, but it made me nauseous* in any sort of direct sunshine. Moving distortion is minimal, but a single bright source of light, such as a headlight or reflective piece of metal shows up as a double-image. Good scratch resistance.
Durability: 2. My frames broke at the nose piece after about two weeks of wear. I was quite cautious about changing lenses, so the break could have happened in my crash at GMSR, but even then, I don’t feel like there was enough impact that they should have broken. Still, they remain functional and it’s not all that noticable, so I’m less ticked off about it. Traditional weak spots such as the hinges are still like new after a month of serious usage. Rubber on nose and earpieces seems not to be rotting, which is a plus.
Price: 4. When compared with the $125 tag on a new pair or Smiths or Oakleys, these look pretty good. And they’re certainly a step up from what you’d find on the $12 rack at the department store, or even at Nashbar or Performance. But other mid-range brands, like Tifosi might offer a little more bling (if not performance) for your buck, without the “comfort seat” connotations of the Serfas name.
Final Thoughts: I’ve gotta say, first off, that I hate all eyewear. If it weren’t for the immense discomfort of picking gnats from the previous night’s ride out from under my eyelids each morning, I wouldn’t wear glasses at all. That having been said, these shades are all right. They annoy me no more while riding than eyewear costing twice as much. You, however, if you’re the sort that generally likes glasses, might have higher standards. So if you’re a slave to brand names, or a performance opitics coinisseur, these may not be for you. But if you’re a working sap looking for a passable pair of shades that won’t make you look like a total Joey, these’ll do fine.
*You’re gonna tell me this should be “nauseated,” not “nauseous,” right? Well, tough. I like the way “nauseous” sounds, so suck it up and deal.
thoughts on “Serfas Optics – Review”
Wow, that’s one heck of a review. I wanted to add a few things. I am a huge Oakley fan and have only purchased Oakley’s over the last ten years or so. I was on my way into my local bike shop picking up my new Seven (Aerios) from being serviced. I had a few minutes to kill and happened to notice what looked like a very presentable wood display full of sunnies. I tried several pairs on to notice that the fit was fantastic and all were fairly light weight. I asked the service guy when he wheeled out my bike about the eyewear. His response to me is that it was a new brand of eyewear that Serfas had just introduced. He seemed to know a lot about Serfas and that it was a California based company, not Taiwanese. He had said they had only had them a few weeks, and they were getting ready to place another order as they had been selling very well, and had sold a few pairs to women cyclists as well. He convinced me that I needed to give them a shot, and decided to purchase a pair of the Sike’s. The first thing that I noticed was that they came in a very nice ballistic type case with a micro fiber bag, and three additional sets of lenses. I did pay more than the $50.00 US retail, but heck mate for everything I was getting it looked like a good deal. I have been using these sunnies know for several weeks, and I must say I don’t think I will purchase Oakley eyewear any longer. I will say this, none of my mate’s have laughed at me, and just want to know where they can get these sunnies.
These are great glasses, I have had mine for almost a year. The red lenses are my favorite. As for durablilty. Mine went through the snowblower and the lenses were trashed but the frames only had a nick on them. I just put another pair of lenses in them and away I went.
I have recently taken to running to get fit!! and my sunglasses are pathetic! sliding about my face, will check these out!
It’s funny that you guys write this about Serfas Optics. I know a few of the employees at Serfas, and am famliar with some of the history about Serfas. It’s founders were at one time the number #1 sales reps for Oakley, and were long time sales reps for the company. Where did Greg Arnet and Dragon Optics come from? Just so you know they too were ex Oakley employees. From what I know the brand Serfas is a great value added brand without all of the marketing. The sad part is if you look at the glasses and the way that the fit, in most cases they are the same and or better for cycling than most Oakley product. Remember, Oakley is 90 markeing about XYZ Optics, Plutoninte lenses, X-Metal, etc. Yes, if your a brand snob, Serfas Optics aren’t for you. If you want a performance level of eyewear that won’t let you down, than Serfas is your brand. I came back from a trip to Europe and can’t tell you how powerful that brand is in the Tri market, and if it’s a hot brand in that market (especaially in Europe), than that more than validates the brand! Just goes to show you the guy that started this blog doesn’t really know much about the brand, and he should really do his research about a brand before he comments.