Julbo Renegade Sunglasses - Review

Apr 27, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
Julbo Renegade

Julbo have been in the sunglasses business for over 130 years, ever since the company's founder began creating glasses with tinted lenses for crystal hunters in Chamonix, France. After that, it was a line of glacier glasses that truly put the company on the map, but in more recent years they've expanded into the running and cycling worlds – probably a smart move, considering how fast those glaciers seem to be receding.

The Renegade sunglasses are designed for mountain biking, but they also have a more casual look that won't attract odd glances if you wear them around town. A strip of rubber on each side of the nose piece and on each arm helps keep them in place, and the entire frame is slightly curved to further help prevent them from bouncing around.
Julbo Renegade Details
• Reactiv Zebra Light photochromic lens
• Anti-fog coating
• Gripping material on nose bridge and temples
• VLT: 17% - 75%
• Weight: 27 grams
• Lifetime warranty for photochromic function
• MSRP: $189 USD
www.julbo.com

The lenses aren't interchangeable, but the version reviewed here comes with Julbo's Zebra Light photochromic lens, which changes tint depending on the amount of UV radiation it's exposed to, altering the amount of visible light transmitted from 17% to 75% depending on conditions. That change isn't instant, but it does occur fairly quickly – it takes approximately 20-30 seconds for the tint to adapt. According to Julbo, the photochromic element is actually molded inside the lens, rather than being applied as a coating, in order to ensure the glasses' performance always remains the same. MSRP for the Renegade with the Zebra Light lens is $189 USD.


Julbo Renegade
The Zebra Light photochromic lens adapts its tint depending on the amount of UV radiation it's exposed to.
Julbo Renegade
Rubber inserts on the temples and nose bridge keep the glasses securely in place.


Performance

The Renegades have a low key, casual appearance, which I appreciate. I look goofy enough as it is – I don't need to wear Macho Man Randy Savage's sunglasses to accentuate that fact. They're also very light, which makes them barely noticeable out on the trail. Although the rubberized portion on the nose and arms is fairly minimal, the fit is impressively secure - I never had any trouble with them slipping or bouncing out of place, even on rough, high-speed trails.

I didn't run into any real issues with fogging, either, other than a little bit of haziness that would sometimes develop at the very top of the lens during long, slow grinds on humid days. Once I headed downhill that little bit of fogginess would quickly dissipate -- there might not be any fancy vents, but the Renegades do a good job of keeping unwanted condensation at bay. There was also plenty of coverage to keep mud and other trail debris from making its way into my eyes, and somehow the lenses have remained scratch-free, despite having all that muck flung at them.

Julbo Renegade
Julbo Renegade


The photochromic lens technology is a great feature, making the glasses usable in a wider range of conditions. The lens tint does take a little bit of time to change; it's not fast enough to immediately lighten up if you're going from a brightly lit field into a stand of dark timber, but it's still a better solution to changing light conditions than only having one fixed lens tint, or needing to stop and swap lenses.

The thick tree cover that's prevalent where I live creates relatively dark trail conditions, even on sunny days, so a lightly tinted lens is a must. The Zebra Light lens worked very well in those lower light conditions, with excellent clarity, and absolutely no noticeable distortion. On a recent trip to California, where the sun was out in full force, the darkest lens tint kept my eyeballs comfortable and sheltered from that unfamiliar glowing orb. The glasses don't get completely clear, so I did leave them at home on super dark and dreary days, but the range of conditions they worked for was still impressive.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesJulbo's Renegade sunglasses may not scream “Look at me – I'm doing Extreme™ sports!”, but don't be fooled by their basic appearance. They're light, comfortable, and the photochromic Zebra Light lens is excellent, with a range of tints that are ideally suited for the conditions encountered while mountain biking.

The price will be a deterrent if you typically snag your eyewear from the checkout counter of the nearest gas station, but for riders in search of a well-executed, high performance set of sunglasses, the Renegades make the grade. 
Mike Kazimer









79 Comments

  • + 9
 Don't laugh... as soon as Nino shows up rocking some, the entire XC world will be wearing them.
  • + 4
 @Thustlewhumber: Sad, but true.
  • + 0
 1. Grow full on mullet. 2. Move to France. 3. Buy $200 plastic sunglasses. 4. Official renegade status!
  • + 0
 pit vipers are the only sunglasses there are. all others do not compete
  • + 10
 I own 2 pair of Julbo's Zebra glasses for mtb. Coating is really resistant and the photochromic effect is perfect. I have the Zebra light, and wear it all year long, even on cloudy winter ride.
  • + 0
 Your are from France. Do you have any affiliation with Julbo?
  • + 44
 @indotrails: Every French is a Julbo ambassador don't you know. Just like all americans are oakley representatives
  • - 26
flag utley06 (Apr 27, 2018 at 4:14) (Below Threshold)
 American d-bags wear Oakley... Smith Optics are where it’s at!
  • + 2
 Love my pair too for the same reasons. I've had mine for a number of years and held up great. Might be time to upgrade however Smile and that's coming from an american @utley06
  • + 1
 I had the julbo dirt's and they fogged up bad when moving slw or stopped. The coating also started to deteriorate. For the money, I would not chance it again.
  • + 2
 @h-beck83: solution: go faster
  • + 3
 Love my Julbo’s. I got rid of all my smith and oakley glass once i discovered how good this brand is. The lens almost never fog and the clearity is like none other. I ride the zebra light at night with no issues. It's so nice not to have to change lens anymore. I own 5 pairs and have had no issues. If your looking for a riding lens i’d highly recommend this brand. This price is not bad compared to other brands and the lens quality is way better.
  • + 3
 i like Julbo, i used to have a pair of glacier shades back 20 years ago as a young climber. It was my first expensive pair bought from cracked piggy-bank. Still got them but the plastic and rubber deteriorated and feels sticky, which is fair play they are 20 y old.
  • + 70
 @ekho, we'll warranty those glacier sunnies for you regardless of how old they are. When you buy a pair of our eyewear they come with a lifetime warranty. We've fixed sunglasses for customers still using them 30-40 years later. If we can't fix them we'll replace them altogether.
  • + 1
 @JulboEyewear: Looked at buying a pair and it doesn't appear at this time any are available. Bummer
  • + 5
 @JulboEyewear: That's pretty cool offering warranty on such old gear. Great to see that kind of service still around.

If I'm ever in a position to purchase flash sunnies, I'll get some of yours for sure haha.
  • + 2
 @Longtravel: we'll have more Renegade in next week. Looks like we sold out of both Renegades with our REACTIV lenses today! If you backorder a pair they'll ship as soon as they come back into stock.
  • + 1
 @JulboEyewear: it doesn't allow you to choose a frame that isn't available thus it won't let me choose a lens option other than the 3 Cf.
  • + 2
 I have julbo zebra ( running / biking) and octopus ( for Fishing, boating...) they are pricey but they last.
My first zebra was bought 15 years ago for mtb, ride in all conditions since and still works.... the frame is just not as new of course.
The lens technology is real... Not marketing bullshit.
For same price of other brands, you have more useful lens features ! (lenses made of nxt and especially octopus lens: photochromic 2-4, polarized, floating frames, water repellent ...)
  • + 5
 I'm sorry, but 189,- for a pair of sunglasses? Come on!
Ik got mine (20%-40%) photochromic sunglasses for €39,-
  • - 2
 Insane, there's probably $1 of materials and a less than a decent spec nomads value in the tooling.
  • + 3
 There are really big differences between high end lenses and generic chinese stuff. Cheap photochromic lenses will turn yellow or won't change color with time.
  • - 2
 I long after the good old days when Oakley owners were like Hope or carbon rim owners... ganging up and dissing the hell out of anyone who put the sense of owning such stuff in question. So well, I currently wear Oakley Jawbones which went for something like 200+ with two pairs of extra lenses? I bought them second hand for 70. 189$ mark wouldn’t impress me that much if you could change lens on these, which apparently, you can’t. If Julbo at least could sell spare lenses that could be replaced at a shop I would consider these at some pointif they were sitting well against my cheeks. I bought Oakleys only because I knew they do, there’s no point in wearing eyewear that will let mud from the front tyre into my eyes.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: the whole point of photochromic lenses is NOT to have to change lenses, just saying.
  • + 8
 @WAKIdesigns: We do sell replacement lenses. If you need a replacement just hit us up (info@julbo.com) and we'll take care of you.
  • + 2
 Like for bike parts, these glasses are widely available online for a lower price than msrp.
  • + 2
 @JulboEyewear: sounds great then! Can any well equipped shop with eyewear change them or do I need to send them in?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: The Oakley Bros have become less enthusiastic since Luxottica bought Oakley and moved production to China. There's not much to differentiate Oakleys from anything else nowadays, although Revant Optics are about to start selling their own US made sunglasses soon, so maybe the Oakley horde will migrate to them.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: they still wear "Make Oakley American Again" T-shirts made in China.
  • + 3
 I own Julbo Dirt 2.0 Zebra Light Fire and darker spare lenses. Changing is easy, glasses are excellent on street, trail, changing environment, also for running.
  • + 1
 @ismasan: yes but all lenses get scratched sooner or later, guess what no ClearOpticsTM then
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Revant has glasses available on Kickstarter just ordered some!

No I don’t work for Revant but like their products
  • + 1
 @Krimp: Yup, they've nearly quadrupled their goal, safe to say there was a market for them.
  • + 2
 I can not say enough nice things about Julbo and SportRX.com

I need prescription sunglasses and finding prescription sunglasses that are good for mountain biking, can take lenses and look good is harder than it should be. My Julbo Blasts ticked off all three boxes. I was able to get them thru SportRX for a relatively decent price.

Not sure if I would spend $189 if I didn't need the prescription aspect, but my Blasts have been bombproof so far.
  • + 2
 My wife picked up some Julbo glasses for riding and running last year, she really likes them a ton. They seem to be holding up well and the optics are clear. Plus they don't look super dorky.
  • + 1
 I own a pair of Juhlbo glasses. I really like them...

They are also Zebra photochromic lenses.... the outer coating now looks like shit, they are scratched to all hell, but they still do their job. I just wish I could buy new lenses for them, but so far unsuccessful.

Anyone know where you would get replacement lenses?
  • + 1
 Great sunglasses! I honestly picked these up just to wear as my everyday sunglasses. After a couple rides with them, I haven't touched my Smith PivLock V2's. They are that good.... especially in and out of the trees.
  • + 0
 I have 2 pairs of julbo with corrective lenses, I find them a bit heavy (because of the correction), not terribly comfortable and they dig up really easily. Not particularly impressed by high end glasses after these, better to get cheap/mid tier glasses and replace them when they inevitably scratch...
  • + 2
 do these pair better with a hydration pack or a bottle? are there cage mounts?
  • + 1
 I found the craziest Julbo Renegade Sunglasses made by Zappos brickandportal.com/shop?query=Julbo+Renegade+Sunglasses just look at the colouring.
  • + 1
 FYI- you can get Bobster photchromic glasses, which are great and have goggle-like padding to stay in place and keep dirt out when you crash, for like $30.
  • + 2
 The lenses work great. However those dorky macho man glasses definitely have better peripheral vision.
  • + 0
 Turns out my first name is Julbo, stoked about that 50% off if you have the same name as the brand discount. Hit me up.

- Julbo Bendalbo
  • + 1
 has anyone actually ever had a pair of riding glasses/sunglasses that don't fog with sweat?
  • + 2
 Gotta love Julbo showing up in the comments. They are legit.
  • + 1
 That's a lot of money. But, the lens tech seems pretty useful. Can you get prescription lenses?
  • + 1
 @pinhead907 we do offer prescription with our REACTIV photochromic lens technology or our non-photochromic Spectron lens. Shoot us an e-mail at info@julbo.com if you have any questions.
  • + 2
 Love me some of the Julbo Reactiv Photochromic goodness nom nom nom
  • + 0
 I have had julbo in the past, they used to be decent, well priced glasses. $189!?!
For that much you can get top of the line rudy projects or oakleys...
  • + 2
 Yea and Oakley and Rudy Project and crap compared to the Julbo lenses. Had them both and they don’t even compare to Julbo’s quality. $189 is not bad for one glass lense that does it all and outperforms the competition. Don’t you think?
  • + 1
 you could check if a tint is contrast enhancing (like Trail Prizm, other red/rose colours etc.) or not...
  • + 1
 Hardware store construction glasses=perfection!
  • + 1
 I’m all about my $8 safety glasses from Home Depot
  • + 1
 Riding free, clear safety glasses from the construction site at dawn here!
  • + 1
 Are they 50$
There just sunglasses.
  • + 1
 It would be nice if there were MTB glasses with optic lenses.
  • + 1
 They do it with optic lenses !
Find a julbo rxtrem dealer Wink
  • + 1
 @Andycom: their web www.julbo.com/en_gb/sunglasses/mtb is broken :/ and there's no dealer in PL :/
  • + 1
 Damn! I can't wait to find an occasion not to wear them!
  • + 1
 They should be 1800, too cheap like that is no good
  • + 1
 I love my julbo glasses.
  • + 1
 More Than $100 no thanks
  • - 3
 190 f*cking dollars, there is no justification whatsoever for that price, complete and utter joke, some dumb c*nt will buy them though, and probably reply to this message to defend his/her/ dumb c*ntyness.
  • - 1
 could not agree more ,how many rides before the lens gets scratched ??? To buy these you are a poser not a biker
  • + 2
 A pair of bolle safety glasses for under a tenner does the job for me
  • + 5
 Doesn't seem to bad. Just wish I hadn't blown my wad on ti cranks to pose with.
  • + 4
 see above where the manufacturer offered to repair or replace another user's 20 year old pair.
  • + 1
 @km79: same - dewalt saftey glasses from screwfix - £2.99.

Almost like tearoffs!!!
  • + 2
 @tylenoljones: but there's no replacement if you lose them. My DeWalts cost ten bucks to replace. During races I'll swap pairs when I get a full water bottle. 19 pairs of DeWalt or Scott safety glasses are better than one pair of these.
  • - 1
 @Richt2000: pfff. I get a hunk of birch bark from the woods behind my house, cut slits to look through like the Inuit did in bone and carve holes in the ends to go around my ears because free.
  • - 1
 just a reminder, thanks Luxottica for the abusive practices:

youtu.be/voUiWOGv8ec
  • + 23
 @ismasan Just a heads up, Julbo isn't owned by Luxottica or any other large sunglasses conglomerate. It's owned by brothers Christophe and Mathieu Beaud and its employees. The shop doors are open both in France and the US, anyone can come in and chat with them and anyone else in the company.
  • + 1
 @JulboEyewear: oh crap, such a noob troll mistake from me, sorry (not ironic).

The audience deserve to know more about Luxottica anyway, and the video is pretty illustrative, everyone should watch it. You'll agree they're the worst for everyone.
  • + 1
 189 USD Eek
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