At A Glance
The Arise from Julbo may be marketed as an all-rounder, but it sits more than happily in the mountain bike zone. With adjustable legs, wide vision and venting around the lens the Arise ticks all the boxes for good cycling eyewear. The style is pretty neutral, definitely sporty, but not futuristic, and casual enough to have a coffee in without feeling like an extra from Battlestar Galactica.Buy Glasses on
The Arise we have on test features Julbo’s REACTIV Performance lens and changes between CAT 0 and CAT 3 depending on light levels. This means they go from fully clear to dark. The lenses are constructed from NXT which is a cast plastic rather than injected and mimics glass as best as is currently possible. It's also lightweight and won't shatter like glass would, which is a bonus in a crash. The Reactiv dye is mixed throughout the lens, which means it cannot be worn off as is the case with coating on the surface of the lens. Anti-fog and water repellancy coatings are added to the lens to help keep them crystal clear. In the UK, they hit the shops at £120.
On The Trail
Initially, I needed to do some leg bending to get my wonky ears lined up with the legs of the frame. This is pretty easy, but required more force than I was comfortable with to get the legs in the right shape. Despite the bending, they held their shape well and offer lots of adjustment for any facial asymmetries you may be sporting. Without an adjustable nose bridge, they sit where they sit, but fortunately this was comfy for me, however I do usually prefer glasses with some adjustment here as that can help the fit on some faces.
On the bike, the vision is exceptionally clear with the lens adapting rapidly to changing light levels. The Reactiv lens is the fastest adjusting lens I have ever used, and as they go all the way to clear, I never felt scared dropping into the woods. In fact, at no point during testing did I even notice them change, or ever be anything other than the correct tint for the light conditions, which was exceptional. Usually I would expect a noticeable lag for change, but not with these lenses.
Fit is secure, with a firm grip around my head, the legs again adjustable to avoid any helmet straps or cradles. This was a real bonus switching between helmets and avoiding any awkward eyewear-helmet arguments.
In very hot conditions they coped well, but I found where the lens frame made contact with my perhaps overly Neanderthal-like eyebrows, things got sweaty and foggy, but only in a small area. If I could have tightened the nose bridge a little to raise them away from my face just a touch I think this would have stopped the issue. That being said, it could be an occurrence unique to my face.
Despite plenty of mud and washing of the lenses, they have remained scratch free, and the intrinsic nature of the photochromic lens means there is no loss in performance over time. The anti-fog coating started well, but I've yet to find any lenses from any sport where the anti-fog coating lasts particularly long.
They are obviously not cheap, but they offer a set of glasses that cover you for all conditions and will always have the best tint for the prevailing light conditions. As such they are probably the only eyewear you may need.
The fastest changing photochromic lenses I've ever used. With great style and performance, the Arise glasses are probably happy in any application, but prove themselves to be perfect for mountain biking.Buy Glasses on
This review was in Issue 59 of IMB.For more information visit Julbo Eyewear
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.