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Roka expanded from the running and triathlon game into the cycling market quietly but hit the gas hard in 2018 with some impressive sunglasses. The newest addition is the Roka GP-1, which you may have seen on some pro faces, like UAE’s Ben Swift. And like the other Roka sunglasses we’ve tested, the GP-1 glasses offer plenty of impressive features. We like them, but there are a few shortcomings Roka could address to make these a top contender in the category.
One of the coolest things about Roka sunglasses, in general, is the at-home try-on program. You choose which glasses you want to try, Roka sends them to you, and you keep only the ones you like. It’s a great way to ensure you get the right fit and function for your purposes.
A box of various Roka sunglasses arrived at the VeloNews office in that same way. The GP-1 glasses were among the goodies in the box, and these ended up being a light, comfortable pair with enough flex to the frames that they hug the head without pinching. They’re stylish too, with a loud lower frame.
The top part of the lens is frameless, which allows better vision when your head is down in an aggressive riding position. It also prevents the glasses from pressing against your forehead and encourages ventilation.
Out of the box, the temples are too long and straight — they interfered with just about every helmet fit system we tried. To address this, the earpieces feature a titanium core wire that you can bend as necessary. That helps alleviate the problem, but we found it difficult to get the temples bent just right. Bending one arm might get one side of the glasses to sit just perfectly without interfering with your helmet, but then you’d need to get the other earpiece to match. More often than not, that led to the glasses sitting crooked on our faces. It’s a problem that’s not exclusive to Roka, though. Otherwise, the arms hug the head nicely and stay firmly in place, even when you’re sweating in the summer sun.
The lens replacement system is perhaps the most significant ding against the GP-1 glasses. Removing the arms takes some muscling, enough that we worried we might break them. Once they released, getting them back on also took some doing. Fortunately, the arms audibly click into place, which is a nice confirmation that you’re all set.
On the plus side, the GP-1 glasses are incredibly light at 25 grams. The lenses offer unobstructed views and plenty of clarity. In extremely sunny conditions, it was easy to pick out road features even while zipping in and out of shadows. Roka claims the lenses are fingerprint resistant and sweatproof, though they didn’t seem to be any more resistant to such muck than any other lenses we’ve tried. That is to say, we got fingerprints on them. And sweat. Lots of it.
Of course, just about all of these quirks are subjective and may not matter much to you. Fortunately, you can take advantage of Roka’s at-home try-on and find out for yourself.
Once they were dialed in for fit, it was easy to reach for these glasses since they’re so light and comfortable. If you swap lenses frequently, you might end up flummoxed by the GP-1s, but if you’re after super-light glasses with plenty of unobstructed visibility, give Roka’s race glasses a look.