You know those carpet shops that are ALWAYS closing down, I think that the Spanish sports eyewear brand Siroko have the same approach, they appear to be running permanent discounts on their K3 tech cycling sunnies. This is good news as the K3’s are cycling sunnies with super large lenses which I think are cool.
For the K3 Reidberg model with a dark blue frame and grey ear socks and nose I paid just over $40 (Australian dollars), down from their regular $135. They come with a polarised wrap around lens that have a mirror finish. I also purchased an extra yellow lens named ‘Clear Fog’ for $25 (down from $40) so all up, the glasses and extra lens were $65 plus shipping (which costs $22 to Australia). The ‘regular’ price would have been an extra $100 so if the quality and fit is good, it is a pretty good buy.
Options and Variations
There are enough frame colours and lens type to choose from to match your style and preferences, the frames are all named after classic riding peaks, locations or types of riding so you get the Tourmalet, Sierre Nevada and Criterium just to name a few styles.
For my riding a darker (grey) lens for bright conditions and a yellow lens for low light conditions tend to be the perfect combination and the K3 Riedberg with dark blue frame was not too loud and should easily match the rest of my gear.
There is another model called the K3S (also pictured above) which has a narrower lens and sharper corners rather than the big rounded corners of the K3 however the lens/frames do not appear to be interchangeable between the two models.
Packaging and Quality
The Siroko K3’s are nicely packaged in a box which contains a generous sized sunglass case as well as a soft pouch. The zippable sunglasses case has space for the glasses and two extra lenses plus it comes with a spare rubber nose piece and spare rubber ear socks so it is already off to a flying start.
The build quality appears to be good and appropriate even if you are paying full retail. Everything is nice and clean and there are no obvious defects. The lenses do creak a little inside the frame if you are handling them and some of the details are not precise as an Oakley frame. For example, one arm moves a little more easily than the other and while this has zero impact while cycling, on Oakley sunnies (which cost a lot more) you wouldn’t expect this.
One detail to highlight is that the lenses are generally a bit thinner than Oakley lenses however are cleanly rounded on the edges. I have see a lot of cheap cycling sunnies and even some expensive ones that have very sharp or rough edges where you can feel where they were machined (cut). The attention to detail by Siroko to cleanly ‘finish’ the lenses deserves recognition.
A bit of patience is required as there are no elegant hinges or latches that automatically release the lens. Instead, you patiently ease the nose piece off and then squeeze and bend until you can ease the lens out. Do you get that feeling that if you press or squeeze too much the lens or the frame will snap… yes… so be patient.
Swapping lenses does however work but you will have to polish the lenses to remove all of the finger prints.
One thing you should know is that Siroko attract poor ratings for swapping lenses in independent customer reviews and that this appears to impact the longevity so you may want to consider not swapping lenses at all.
I have a number of pairs of cycling sunnies in different shapes and styles and in my collection but only one pair with super large lenses (an original from the eighties… but also with crappy lens quality).
When I first tried the K3’s I was concerned with the fit as I am used to the frame and lens much closer to my face. The nose piece was in the way and I even removed the rubber covers to try it. Though the fit was better, the plastic frame dug into my nose so I even considered cutting of the plastic tabs.
Common sense prevailed and after a bit of concern that it was bad purchase, I tried the sunnies with them positioned a bit further forward and found it was acceptable. To be honest, it is not a perfect fit like my Oakleys, but even with that brand, some models fit well and some poorly. Although the nose piece is not as snug on my face, I can get a good position with good visibility.
The other part of a comfortable sunglasses fit are the arms and on the K3’s they are slightly tight as they should be and if you have a larger head this could be an issue. I was fairly happy with the fit while wearing and helmet and for long rides.
K3’s on the bike
The real test is riding.. and not posing for camera’s. I have a few key criteria that make a good pair of cycling sunnies.
If wind is reaching your eyes when you ride, you start to tear-up and this is distracting. The K3’s were great, I could position my head up or down and didn’t get any rush of wind from the sides or below. Full points for wind protection.
The positioning of the sunnies on my face create a gap between the top of the frame and my forehead plus the lens has air vents. My riding temperatures were mild or hot (so no winter riding) and I didn’t experience any fogging or moisture buildup. Even when I had a short stop at traffic light, the sunnies were clear. I haven’t tested in winter conditions but it feels very promising.
Lens Clarity (distortion free)
A poor lens can manifest itself over time and cause eye strain. I have a few pairs of sunnies that strain my eyes and would judge the Siroko’s to be good. There was no distracting lens distortion in the polarised Siroko lens.
Producing a distortion free lens is a feat that a lot of eyewear brands, particularly the cheaper ones, still struggle with. To provide an ideas about how the Siroko lenses stack up, if I rate non-prescription Oakley lenses as a 10 and Bunnings safety googles as a 1 for clarity, the polarised Siroko lens would be an 8/10 and the yellow ClearFog lens a 7/10.
The overall clarity is very good, I am satisfied with this while riding but also recognise that there is still a little more room for improvement. For the price, it would be fair to say that you get a good pair of glasses without obvious flaws.
There are however two issues with the lenses, the polarised makes it hard to see digital displays. If you are riding with a cycle computer you need to consider this, some newer bike computers minimise this.
The most noticeable issue however was that the yellow “ClearFog” lens displayed birefringence. It didn’t just tint, rather on all shiny surfaces like polished windows and glossy car panels, the white reflections became bold yellow reflections. The following animated shows an example and while riding, it is fairly distracting.
Communication with Siroko about the tinting effect was a case of lost in translation. They suggest that these glasses are ONLY for foggy conditions and should NOT be used to view any reflective surfaces at all. The reality is that even when riding in fog, you may pass parked cars or see an automobile or two while riding.
For some riders, this is an effect that you can get use to however I have a few different glasses with yellow lenses that don’t distort the colour in this way (and are great for fog). For this reason, if you are looking for a yellow tinted lens that behaves as a yellow tinted lens normally would… then you are not getting this with the Siroko yellow lens. In my case, the ClearFog is not a good option for low-light conditions unless I am riding off-road.
It’s a Wrap
Siroko solve a lot of the problems that plague cycling sunglasses such as clarity, anti-fogging and wind protection and although there is some room to improve even further, they are doing most things right.
Customer Service is an issue as you can spend a lot time getting nowhere, there are only so many ways a simple question can be reformulated.
At the cost of around $40 for the Siroko K3 Reidberg sunglasses with the single lens (and $22 in shipping to Australia) these are extremely good value. If you paid the regular retail price, the glasses would still be competitively priced.
Info and purchasing: