I’m old enough to remember watching Mario Cipollini rocket across the finish line first in countless bunch sprints but still young enough to have thought the guy looked absolutely ridiculous wearing those bizarre bug-eye goggles. That being said, now that everything 90s seems to be coming full circle, I found myself oddly attracted to the classic ski-goggle lens style of the Briko Shot Evoluzione. Briko was to Europe what Oakley was to North America in the 90s and I’m happy to see them finally trying to make their way back into the American market. And it seems the time is just right. Now that North American cycling has apparently managed to get past its rebellious stage when it rejected all things ‘euro’ back in the late 80s and 90s, at least in the cycling world, it seems that ‘euro’ is now the new thing. And the fact that Briko has decided to bring its lines to the American market is a clear indicator. And while I’m still not fond of ridiculously high socks and some of the other Euro trends to make their way to America, the extravagance of the Briko goggles is something I for one welcome.
As I quickly learned after trying out my first pair of Shot Evoluziones, the giant lens made for an incredibly wide angle of viewing. Up, down, left, right all I see is lens. No bleed from the sun, no looking past the frame in my peripheral, just all lens all the time. This made riding much less distracting and I found myself turning my head to keep my eyes in the frame less often, which inevitably results in smoother riding. Beyond the design, which isn’t necessarily unique to Briko, there were significant features that made the Briko glasses in particular a pleasure to wear.
First of all, these glasses don’t have standard folding arms. Instead of the pivot point of the arms being on the vertical plane, as they are with nearly every other pair of glasses, the arms on the Brikos folded downward and up perfectly hugging the curve of the frame. When the glasses are in the ‘closed’ position, they just look like a set of lenses that have been popped out of a set of ski-goggles. This makes for storing the glasses much easier and keeps the arms of the glasses safe. It also means that each arm can be independently adjusted up or down, which is great for someone like me with lopsided ears. Briko clearly had the cyclist in mind when they designed these glasses because the arms are also relatively short meaning they don’t come in contact with your helmet even when the arms are adjusted to steep angles. As a side note, those of you who want to go full Euro and wear your Brikos with a Coppi cycling cap off the bike, won’t have to pull the arms over the hat to make them fit nicely.
The lenses themselves are wonderful to look through. They aren’t too dark but they block enough light even in the brightest conditions. The clarity was on par with a pair of glasses in much higher price points. The pair I ordered came with two different lenses, one for bright conditions and one that increased contrast and clarity in low light conditions. It also came with an oversized sleeve to house the glasses and a hardshell zipper case that will not only store the glasses but a few different pairs of lenses should I decide to order one of the several different lenses Briko has to offer.
Finally we get to comfort. These glasses, for how big they actually are on your face, don’t feel bulky at all. The contact points are well designed and the glasses balance their weight well between the nose and the arms. They’re very light for their size and keep to themselves while you’re riding. After a few minutes of riding you start to forget you’re even wearing glasses due to their lack of perceived weight, the size of the viewing area, and clarity of the lens.
I still feel a little ridiculous wearing them but every once in awhile I catch a reflection of myself in a store window or passing car and feel a bit like a gangsta –albeit a gangly spandex gangsta. They look damn fast and they perform well. I can’t wait until I get my Briko Gass aero road helmet to go with my glasses. I’ll be fast and flow like Mario. ..or something like that. I need to stop trying to be cool. I’m not. But at least my glasses are.
You can pick up your own pair from Logica Sport