Crossover Appeal: Rapha Classic Sunglasses Debut

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Rapha, the British maker of road cycling apparel and accessories, has introduced eye wear to its collection.

Like all the company’s offerings, Rapha Classic Sunglasses draw upon the grand traditions of road cycling. But in blending performance characteristics with contemporary design, the new eye wear strives for seamless crossover between the paceline chase and everyday travel around town.

“I believe we have created a timeless style with a sense of speed on the bike and the looks to be worn easily off the bike,” says Miles Gibbons, who designs and develops “hard goods” for the company.

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The acetate frames, which come in (from top) grey, brown and black, are handmade in Italy by Mazzucchelli. Like shield-style road cycling glasses, the Rapha models are slightly curved. This enhances coverage and also helps promote airflow over the lenses to help prevent misting up. The shades weigh in at a feathery 30 grams; rubber grips at the temple tips help them stay put.

Each frame color is fitted with a different shade of polyamide lens by Carl Zeiss. All offer 100 percent protection from UV rays. The brown and green lenses are polarized to reduce glare and blinding reflections; the rose lenses, meant for low-light conditions, are not.

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Rapha Classic Sunglasses represent the latest refinement in a history of cycling eye wear that stretches back to the ’20s and ’30s. Then, leather goggles fitted with smoked glass lenses were the only defense against wind and dust. No crossover appeal there.

Rapha Classic Glasses, $295 (comes with case and lens wipe)

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Photos: Rapha


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