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Roka Matador

A fresh design that plays nice with modern helmets.

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Sunglasses have long served as an important piece of cycling equipment, not just for protection from the elements, but to stand out from the pack and make a statement. ROKA’s latest performance eyewear, the Matador, offers a unique, bold aesthetic. But it isn’t different just to be different.

PELOTON

As helmets have evolved over time, they have increasingly become low profile, which leads to fit problems with many sports sunglasses out there. The Matador is a direct response to requests from pro athletes encountering these fit issues. By opting for upside-down looking temple arms, ROKA has been able to create a more comfortable fit for today’s helmets. We have had sunglass-helmet fit problems in the past, but the Matadors seem to have solved them for us across a range of brands. We had one test ride where the temple arms were bothering us around the top of our ears, but we just readjusted, putting the arms a little higher, and the fit became very comfortable. The brand’s rubberized touchpoints, made of a material called Geko, keep the temple arms and nosepiece comfortably in place even in sweaty conditions. And at just 28 grams, these featherweight sunglasses don’t fall down your face. Once they are on, they stay put and get out of your way.

The Matador plays nice with low profile helmets, both on face and when stowed in a helmet.

The Matador is packed with innovative designs we would expect from high-end cycling sunglasses retailing for $195. ROKA intends the Matador to be cycling-specific eyewear, so the brand developed a new 7-base cylindrical lens that is optically optimized for the tucked cycling position. The lens features a tighter wrap than other cycling lenses, which apparently leads to better clarity. We think the Austin, Texas-based brand is on to something. The HC Fusion Mirror lens in our sample provides a very clear and distortion-free ride hour after hour. And despite the Matador having a frame on top, when you are in the cycling position it disappears, making it feel like you’re wearing a borderless frame.

Despite the border around the entire lens, lens changes are easy, and can be completed in a matter of seconds. And there are ten lens options, each fingerprint and fog resistant, available through ROKA’s custom program.

As with anything featuring a novel design, the Matador won’t be for everyone. But these optically-outstanding sunglasses should be high on the list for anyone needing eyewear that plays nice with low-profile helmets.

$195; 28g; roka.com