It’s fair to say that Bollé hasn’t established itself yet as a staple name in the world of cycling sunglasses. It’s for this reason that I was interested and eager to try out the brand’s new C-Shifter offering, said to be “everything you need for peak performance in the most demanding of sports and conditions.”
Cycling is a sport which certainly falls under the description of “demanding”, be that due to the extreme effort it takes when riding up climbs or over long distances, but also due to the conditions that riders can face while out on a bike ride. Be it wind, rain, snow or extreme heat, it all has adverse effects on the eyes, making sunglasses one of the most important pieces of kit in a cyclist’s armoury. A good pair of glasses should protect you against the elements while also looking stylish and sleek.
The attritional nature of cycling also means that glasses need to be robust enough to go the distance – there’s every chance of them being thrown in a kit bag without a case or falling off the top of your helmet while at speed. A high-performance pair of sunglasses that don’t cost upward of £100 are hard to find, so it’s a purchase that you don’t want to have to repeat often if avoidable.
The quality of the Bollé C-Shifter sunglasses was apparent to me as soon as I took them out of the hard case they arrived in. As I opened the arms to place the glasses on my head, they felt stiff and secure, more than some Oakley equivalents I have owned. The joining between the arms of the sunglasses and the rest of the frame and lens is incredibly sturdy, and these are a pair of glasses that I think could last me season after season to really go the distance.
There is nothing worse than glasses sliding down your face when riding, and I felt like there was no risk of this with the C-Shifters. Bollé’s patented Thermogrip temple tips really led to a strong grip. For testing purposes, I really moved my head around to see if I could shift the glasses, and they stayed firmly in place. The adjustable nose piece was also a big help here to ensure I could get my perfect fit, and when on the bike, the glasses were un-moveable, even while hitting speed bumps at speed while descending.
I tested the C-Shifters with Bollé’s new Volt+ lens, said to be “the first sunglass lens ever created using Artificial Intelligence.” This means that all colours are enhanced when wearing the glasses, making the grey London landscape I cycled through all the more appealing. From a performance perspective, the lens was an asset too: it improved my depth perception meaning I could see more while out on the road and reduced glare. The glasses didn’t steam up when stationary at traffic lights thanks to the vented lens, something that has caused me to remove other sunglasses when stopped in the past.
The Bollé C-Shifters have maintained a lightweight feel despite the sturdiness of the frames. This, combined with the tight fit that can be created with the nose piece, means that the C-Shifters have an impressive, barely-there feel. The cylindrical lens shape helped with this too – I didn’t have the frame of the glasses in my field of vision at all while riding.In terms of the style of the C-Shifters, this will always come down to personal preference, but I was happy with how the glasses looked when on. They have a similar shape to the Oakley Sutro glasses, but are a little less intense as the frame doesn’t extend to the bottom of the lens. The Bollé logo is small and understated, and I liked the combination of the dark grey frame and the purple tinted colour of the Volt+ lens. If you prefer glasses which are a little more eye-catching, the C-Shifters come in six different combinations of frame colour and lens.
The Bollé C-Shifter glasses with the polarised Volt+ lens are priced at £145, while the Classic version retails at £115. They’re not at the cheapest end of the spectrum when it comes to cycling sunglasses, but the performance of these glasses does justify the price. They are an innovative, high-tech piece of kit and the Volt+ lens is a real step forward in technology. If you are someone who doesn’t ride regularly or expect to face challenging weather conditions, the Classic version of the Bollé C-Shifters keeps all the benefits of the fit and shape of the glasses, but comes at a lower price without the polarised lens.
Worn by the likes of Groupama-FDJ and B&B Hotels, it’s clear that the professional teams already trust Bollé glasses to perform at the highest level. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the brand rocketing in popularity among the masses they continue to introduce cutting-edge technology to an element of cycling kit that is one of the most crucial to a bike rider.
Shop the Bollé C-Shifter glasses here