Depending on your fashion sense, or maybe lack thereof, you're probably going to think that Pit Viper's glasses either look awesome, stupid, or some combination of the two. Or maybe like something from an early 90s frat fashion show. Thankfully, Pit Viper don't take themselves too seriously, which is at odds with the surprisingly functional design of their $89.00 USD polarized glasses. The product is a bit obscured by the company's humorous take on marketing, but the lighthearted approach is both clever and refreshing, a welcome change from other sunglass companies that seem to believe their bug-shaped eyewear is what Jesus would wear if his second coming happened to fall on a sunny summer day. They're just glasses, people.
The Pit Vipers stand out like a neon green monster truck at a classic car meet.
''If you haven't figured it out yet, we are very serious about not taking ourselves too seriously,'' they say on their website, and watching the company's collection of YouTube commercial videos only confirms this. I usually avoid pointing out a company's propaganda, but their anti-marketing marketing videos are most definitely worth checking out
, if only to see them taking the piss out of everyone who takes themselves too seriously.
Aside from the neon colours and using the Pit Vipers to ''prop your f*ck'n bike up,'' as the company says, these things are probably the most functional eyewear that I've worn.
Pit Viper Details
• Polarized lens
• Open frame design
• Three frame color options
• Three lens color options
• Adjustable arm angle
• Adjustable arm length
• Adjustable nose piece
• Two different arm shapes incl.
• Adjustable neck strap incl.
• MSRP: $89.00 USD
The polarized option is new for Pit Viper, and they're offering it with three different frames and lens colors: the '1993' model with the 'rainbow mirror lens' that's shown here, the 'Merika,' and the 'Gold Standard.' All three feature the same multi-adjustable frame and lens shape but offer varying degrees of in-your-faceness. Most high-end eyewear will have a polarized lens these days, which is said to be ideal for water sports where glare can be more than just annoying, but the lens treatment is also handy for anyone who's outside a lot. Non-polarized Pit Vipers cost $69.00 USD, so it's a $20 upcharge to kill the glare.
The lens also offers quite a bit of coverage, and they almost look a bit goggle-like at first. That extra coverage equals extra protection, of course, but the open design at the bottom should let them breath more than something with a frame that runs completely around the lens. You can adjust both the arm angle and arm length, and also custom shape the nose piece.
While there are plenty of sunglasses out there that feature polarized lenses, few offer up the same adjustability as the Pit Vipers. The arms pivot just behind the hinge, with five different positions on tap that adjust where they sit on your face relative to your ears. Pit Viper has a silly name for this - Turbo Adjustment - but the customization is anything but silly. The arms can also be adjusted in length by about half an inch via four different indexed positions. The arm length adjustment range should be wide enough to fit everyone from a grom to Shaquille O'Neal.
The last adjustment is the 'Nose Bender' that's pretty self-explanatory. Rather than including different nose pieces that would be swapped out, the Pit Vipers come with a wire core formable nose piece that, you guessed it, can be bent to fit anyone's schnoz. And on top of all that, there's a set of arms with much more pronounced hooks to their ends that should up the Pit Viper's sticking powers, as well as an adjustable neck band and the usual storage and cleaning bag.
I've said it before, but for the most part I can't stand wearing glasses while riding. I know, I know, we only have one spare eyeball, so I should be protecting both while on my bike, but everything I put on my face either fogs up, has some ass-backwards lens tint, fits oddly, makes me look like an idiot, or manages to do some combo of those four at the same time. The Pit Vipers are only guilty on the last count, however, which makes them pretty good in my books. Full-time bike tester, part-time douche pickle?
Nothing fits on my face as well as these obnoxious glasses. The adjustments make them so functional that I'm pretty sure they'll stick to anyone's head, and if they don't it's because you haven't tinkered with the fit enough. For instance, at first I didn't realize that the nose piece could be shaped to fit better, and they were riding a bit low for my taste. But, after squeezing the nose piece together, and tilting the arms down by a few clicks, they stayed put so well that I'm pretty sure an epileptic fit wouldn't shake them loose. They're definitely the only seizure-proof glasses that I'm aware of.
They're nearly fog-proof as well, likely due to the open frame that promotes airflow. I also adjusted the nose piece so they sat a bit farther away from my face - we're talking millimeters here - which probably helped matters. They'll still fog, especially when you're toiling up some slow ass climb in soggy weather, but they're better at keeping the haze away than other eyewear I've tried. I also sat on the Pit Vipers, on purpose, which, besides feeling strange, proved to me that I probably won't break them anytime soon. They might look silly, but the mega-adjustable Pit Vipers have a lot going for them.
Lens tints are very condition-specific, obviously, but I do think that most riders who don't live in Southern California or some other bright dustbowl are going to find the 'rainbow mirror lens' a bit too dark for forest work. I'm a big fan of a light yellow tint that evens out dark spots and bright spots, and this won't do that. I also like clear lenses, even if they make me look like I just got out of grade 10 science class.
Okay, surprisingly great glasses, but they look bloody stupid, don't they? Of course they do. Even the more subdued color options still scream "Hey, everyone, look at how big of a douche pickle I am,'' which is the last thing I need complete strangers knowing about me. When I'm wearing them, I feel like it looks as though I'm trying really, really hard to show people that I just don't give a damn, brah, and that's just not me. I've written before about how functionality should trump everything, and the Pit Vipers are extremely functional, but they're also just not 'me.'
Subjective feelings aside, I could also just make out the Pit Viper logo on each corner of the lens while wearing them. I'd always find it a bit distracting for the first few minutes of a ride, and then I'd stop noticing it. Pinkbike’s Take:
|Honestly, I wanted to hate the Pit Vipers when they first showed up. They're flashy purely for the sake of flashiness, and I'm generally not a fan of looking like a drunk '90s frat kid. On a jet ski. In Lake Havasu. During spring break. But damn, they actually work really, really well. To my admittedly undiscerning eyes, the lens optics seems to be as good as anything from Oakley that costs more than twice as much, and they're way more adjustable to boot. They've replaced the glasses in my riding bag for those reasons, even though every time I put them on I suddenly have the urge to shotgun a beer. - Mike Levy|
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