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We've come a long way since the days of the massive Oakley Eyeshade, made famous by Andy Hampsten as he triumphed over Mother Nature's frightful wrath during the 1988 Giro d'Italia. Granted, his fateful trip over the Gavia Pass couldn't have been done with much less than a full goggle like the Eyeshade. But under more palatable riding conditions, the Eyeshades fogged too easily, and weren't compatible with then-evolving helmet technology. The same necessity for maximum coverage with minimum interference still exists today in the sunglasses we wear, but luckily, our modern shield lenses have advanced a great deal since '88. The Pivlock V2 Max from Smith is one such evolutionary leap.
At first glance, the biggest difference between the new V2 and the first-generation V90, is the absence of the split arms. The V2 features slightly chunkier, albeit still fantastically lightweight (the V2 Max only adds a gram or two from the V90 Max), and expertly branded arms that create slightly better leverage when swapping out the lenses. A closer inspection reveals several other subtle design changes giving the V2 a clear advantage over its predecessor. The first is the adjustable nose piece. Rather than simply flexing, the piece has three distinct set widths, allowing you to ratchet the pads open or closed depending on how low or high you prefer your frames to fit. A small detail to be sure, but it thankfully removes a lot of the ambiguity or imbalance found in nose pieces whose pads adjust independently of each other. Smith also went with a new slide-on Megol temple tip that terminates several millimeters from the end of each arm to keep the tips gripping only the sides of your head, without hanging up on the sides of your ear. Again, a very subtle detail, but a comfort-enhancing improvement. Aside from the arms, the new V2 also boasts a dramatically different lens. Granted, it follows the same dramatic horizontal sweep and tight pantoscopic angle of the V90, but the old lens' soft lines are now significantly more aggressive and angular. This ensures maximum coverage in both sizes of the V2, a better overall helmet fit, and an even wider peripheral range. Plus, it's hard to deny how it also looks exponentially more awesome.
The lens on the Pivlock V90 series is what Smith calls their Carbonic TLT. The TLT stands for Tapered Lens Technology, and this means that the thickness of the lens tapers from the optical center to the edges. This thinning allows for less refraction, and therefore less distortion for the light waves passing through the lens. To mitigate any additional lens distortion while being worn, the frame arms are extra flexible to prevent the shield lens from flexing outward and changing the optical quality. The Carbonic lens houses a deep 8-base curvature to hug your face and protect it from impact. This is a great thing to know when you think about the myriad of projectiles that could threaten your eyes on a bike ride -- gravel from car tires, tree limbs, or wayward insects on a mach 3 descent. They exceed ANSI Z80.3 specifications, and they protect your eyes from 100% of the UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
The entire sunglass is essentially three separate pieces that effortlessly snap on to the lens. The arms quickly affix by aligning the temple slots on the lens, and vertically pivoting into specialized slots on the lens where the temple/hinge inserts and pivots into a locked position. The nose piece also snaps in with little effort. The Pivlock system is at once intuitive, quick, and secure, and thankfully, doesn't require a flowchart to understand. More importantly, it allows for swift lens changing without risking fingerprinted or scratched lenses. Standard for Smith Optics, the V2 is constructed from a tough Grilamid TR90 frame for maximum comfort, flexibility, and resistance to corrosion or fading from sweat and sunscreen. And the hydrophilic Megol nose and temple pads keep the frame confidently locked in place on your face, even as you traverse rough cobblestone sectors or jarring downhill trails at high speeds.
The Smith Pivlock V2 Max is available in Black, Blue, Orange, or White. Each frame ships with the standard Platinum lens for maximum glare reduction on really sunny rides. You'll also get two extra lenses: an Ignitor lens which increases definition and depth perception in low light or on overcast days, and a Clear lens for night riding or in exceptionally bad weather. If you'd like to ride with a larger lens (sold separately), the lenses are all interchangeable with the arms and nose pad from the current-generation Pivlock V2, as the only difference between the two is the lens size -- not the attachment points. The Pivlock V2 Max offers extra-large coverage (not unlike Oakley's Radar "Range" lens), and a highly flexible medium fit in terms of temple sizing.