Back in the summer of Lockdown, Olympic gold medallist and former Team GB track sprinter Callum Skinner went on something of a company launching spree, not only launching Five Rings Coffee alongside Owain Doul and Philip Hindes, Skinner also launched HindSight, an innovation invented by physicist and keen cyclist Alex Macdonald.
Ultra-lightweight and made of high-grade plastics the HindSight Edge Sport glasses use a unique new patented lens technology making it possible to see objects which are behind you with little to no movement of your head.
These glasses come in at a hefty price of £199.99 – there is nothing else really like it on the market at the moment to compare with, but for that price, you could buy a decent pair of cycling sunglasses and some bar end mirrors. So is the extra functionality worth the outlay?
Hindsight Sunglasses: Who are they for?
The glasses were initially launched with the claimed benefits of providing a rear view in traffic, and also a rear view during a race - providing breakaway riders with knowledge of the proximity of a chasing peloton. I would dispute the second benefit.
While these sunglasses carry the name of “Edge Sport,” for me they’re much better suited to riders on bikes designed for commuting, due to the angle of the lenses. They’re less suited to a weekend road bike ride. To see behind you, rather than the sky, your head and body needs to be in a much more upright position, similar to that on a mountain bike or a commuter or hybrid bike. If you’re leaning forwards, like on a drop bar road bike, the chances of seeing what is behind you on the road, opposed to what is behind you in the sky is very little.
From what I understand the team at Hindsight recognise this to be the case and are working on a pair of Sunglasses which will be more suited to drop bar riding. With this in mind, I think it’s only fair to skew the review towards someone who may be commuting in a busy city over someone who would be riding a drop bar bike on the country lanes.
Hindsight sunglasses: Construction and ride experience
The durable lightweight plastics used in construction are simple and robust. The glasses are very light but I didn't feel like I could crush them in my hand, they seem durable enough to throw into a backpack ahead of a day in the office and forget about until the end of the day. With a soft rubber bridge which holds the sunglasses in place, they’re also comfortable to wear.
Whilst aesthetics are a matter of personal preference, I would say that these are not the most stylish pair of shades to wear - the angled part of the lens, which enables you to see behind you, extends the length meaning they stick off your face further than you may want.
The lenses are one-piece flat plane, with the angled section being the bit which is reflective. The non-reflective part of the lenses is extremely clear, offering very good vision but, because they are so flat and sit quite far away from your eyes, I found that they didn't stop all light from getting in and they didn't stop dust and pollen getting into my eyes, either. This did not tend to happen at lower speeds but when going quicker alongside traffic it was an unwelcome distraction.
The mirrored part of the lens works incredibly well, I was clearly able to see what was behind me at a quick side glance and I could get a good judgment of the distance of the object, too.
The lenses are meant to be mirrored in a way that it if gives you a true idea of how far away the vehicle behind you is. Personally, I found that objects and vehicles often seemed a little closer than they actually were, but the view was good enough to get an understanding.
The only drawback, I found on the mirrored lenses is that the rear view is constant. Comparably, if you’re driving in your car, the wing mirrors are far enough away that you need to shift your vision to see what’s in them. Ditto, a bar end bike mirror. With these mirrors being sat right next to your eyes, the reflection is constantly in your peripheral vision, it took me some riding time to get used to filtering out what was important and what was not.
With their rubberised nose bridge and construction, the glasses gripped my face well and did not slide and move about when riding, they were comfortable and extremely lightweight. From this point of view, you can see that a lot of thought has gone into the materials used and the construction of the sunglasses.