Heroes Under the Sun – Giro Filters It Out

The Real Spartacus Rides for Saxo Bank; but this guy is pretty good too

First the housekeeping. I got up at the crack of dawn Sunday to watch Spartacus ride away from a snacking (read inattentive) Tom Boonen at Paris Roubaix. The reaction of Dutch commentators summed up the winning move better than the images..."Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom" (2:25) one exclaimed in recognition that Cancellara was gone and Tom was hung out to dry. That makes two incredible race moves in as many weeks for the Swiss dynamo. And kudos to Specialized for notching a classic win on the Project Black Roubaix. I spent a whole day three weeks ago photographing prototypes of that frame ;-)

I can't mention Spartacus without saying how much I'm enjoying the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I don't know how the series will fare when it tries to capture major battle scenes, but while the focus rests in the intimate confines of the gladitorial school rife with plotting, murder and mayhem (did I mention sex) it's fantastic. Great performances by a stellar cast of veterans and newcomers. Might be a cameo role for the real Spartacus in season two if he slays a couple more opponents like he did in Flanders and PR.

After a brief intermission, I returned to the Spring traditions of the Masters where a sullen Tiger Woods was doing a bad Ray Charles impression with those ridiculous sun glasses, and hitting several un-Tiger-like shots that I imagine Ray Charles might hit had he played golf. Always a fan, he has diminished significantly in my eyes and unless he starts getting some good advice I fear he may go off the deep end like a certain Michael Jackson. He's already wearing one glove afterall.

Let's dispense with the strange glasses and look at some cool ones from Giro.

Giro Filter Sunglasses

Giro Filters have a great compact shape

First the basics. The Filter is Giro's newest model with a beautifully sculpted compact frame. I like the fit at the temples on this big head; secure but not too tight. The rubber nose bridge is firmer than its spongy counterpart on my Oakley Radars. I've had to purchase a replacement nose piece for the Oakleys in just under two years of use. I can't see that happening with the Filters.

Lenses are superb optics by Zeiss, known for legendary glass and by the way some beautiful manual primes that will eventually find their way into my camera bag. The Filters come with two sets of lenses. The Silver/Titanium frames pictured are outfitted with Rose Silver and Orange Selector lenses. Interesting story behind the development of the tints. Giro tasked Zeiss to come up with formulations that were relaxing to the eye while increasing contrast and depth perception. Performance, not cosmetics determined the eventual choices. All lenses filter the full spectrum of UVA, UVB and UVC light.

What really distinguishes the Filters from every other sun-glass system with replaceable lenses is what Giro calls their Pop-Top retention technology. I struggle to squeeze the nose piece on my Oakley Radars to release the single lens, worry about breaking the frame and end up with fingerprints all over them. As you can see from the four-picture sequence below, the Filters employ a unique cam to lock and release the lenses. It couldn't be easier and there's zero chance of damaging the glasses in the process. Really a clever piece of engineering that increases the likelihood you'll actually change lens tints under different conditions.

Since wearing the Filters those Oakley Radars have been riding in the team car.

Giro Filters have a great compact shape
Pop: turn the cam upwards Remove Lense
Giro Filters Pop Top featureGiro Filters Pop Top featureGiro Filters Pop Top featureGiro Filters Pop Top feature
Slide lense into frame Rotate cam to secure lense

Giro Havik II Sunglasses

Giro Havic Compact

Giro's Havik II sunglasses come in full and compact models to fit different faces and rider preferences. Personally I prefer the compact style, there's more than adequate coverage and a little more airflow behind the glasses (on my face) which is always good to avoid fogging. The Havik II feels a little more open and a shade lighter than the Filter. Having just said that I quickly weighed them confirming the Filter is 28g and the Havik II 26g. The sensitivity borne of years of club feeling. "That face is 2 degrees open" lives on. Wish some other sensitivities still worked as well.

Giro Havic Compact

Having experienced the sheer brilliance of the Filters when it comes to changing lenses I have to say it's hard to go back to the system employed by the Havik. You compress the nose bridge between thumb and forefinger on one hand and push it out of the frame with the thumb on your other hand. From there I still find it a struggle to apply the right force to disengage the single wrapping lens from the frame. I can't do it without plenty of fingerprints. Advantage Filters.

So there you have it. The Filters are available in 6 frame colorways (matte black, gloss black, silver/ti, gloss red, white/blue, striped tort*) and 5 lens tints. The Havik II Full: 3 frame colors (red, matte black and matte silver) and 5 lens tints. The Havik II Compact: 5 frame colors (matte black, gloss black, matte silver, pearl white, pearl red) and 5 lens tints. *not sure on availability

The Filters retail for $200 (2 tone frames are $220) while the Havik IIs range from $140 to $200 (most colorway/lens combinations are $170). If a compact frame size suits your face, I think the Pop Top feature on the Filters is well worth the extra cost.

If you've not tuned into Spartacus: Blood and Sand yet you might try watching the show wearing a pair of Giros with Orange Selector lenses. You get enhanced slave girl contrast and protection from all the blood splatter. I'm off to Sea Otter for four days, expect lots of imagery next week.

17 Responses to Heroes Under the Sun – Giro Filters It Out

  1. Todd says:

    Great post. Those filters look like a great pair of glasses; I’ll consider them next time I’m in the market for new shades. Currently I’m content with my Jawbones (I know, I fell under the influence of all those riders in the pro peloton).
    Ride strong,

  2. pope says:

    Big fan of both Spartaci.

  3. mark says:

    Tiger did phenomenal given the layoff. The glasses weren’t working for him though.

    Any chance you can review the new Rapha stowaway jacket? I need help with whether to go pink or not.

  4. BR says:

    That move was Bjarne Riis’ call literally – better enjoy those radios while you can boys! Fabian did fade a bit at the end which is certainly understandable. I really enjoyed the Flanders move better but I am happy for Fabian.

  5. Bin says:

    First things first. Boonen commented that he felt a little bit cheated due to the fact that Fabian made his move when he had moved to the back of the peloton to take a breather. Having watched the footage, I’d have to agree with him. It does look like Fabian attacked when Boonen wasn’t paying attention. Not saying Boonen would have been able to stay on Fabian’s wheel or even win, but it would nice to see these two fight it out in the velodrome.

    Second, I really like the way the Giro Havik II looks. However, being of asian decent, my nose bridge is such that normal sunglasses made for Caucasians will often slide down and won’t stay in place. That’s why I have a pair of Oakley’s asian-fit radars. Would love to see Giro offer a similar option, I’d be all up for a pair of Havik II’s.

  6. The fact it appears to have been Riis’ call makes sense because Fabian didn’t seem to have been actively looking back to see where Boonen was. Boonen had actually closed up on Cancellara after his snack and drink. He just didn’t react when that little surge started, Cancellara followed those wheels and then had a little look, no one was there and he just drilled it. I don’t think any of them had Cancellara’s legs, but I was surprised that there was no organized chase and everyone but Boonen seemed to accept second place.

    Hopefully Eric from Giro is tuning in and can comment on the possibility of an asian-fit model.

    • At this time we don’t have a specific option for broader faces and/or shallow nasal profiles that, together, are commonly referred to as “Asian fit”. We’re still a relatively small brand, and we’d need to tool a unique lens and nosepad. Perhaps with enough growth, it’s something we can offer in the future…:)


  7. kurt says:

    I like the reflection of the circuit board in the lense.

    I am sporting the Giro Instigators. Rather than switch lenses, I switch glasses. I have one pair with the rose lense and one with the grey. I really like the clarity of the lense of the Giro and prefer them to my Oakley Mad Dogs (although the Mad Dogs are a little badass).

    The Filter looks good but I prefer a full frame. I never could go the way of Lemond.

    Getting ready for the MS 150 this weekend. 75 miles to Key Largo and back over two days. I will be in a group of Latino boys that like to go fast. Hope I don’t loose a lung or blow an artery.

    The wind has been blowing pretty hard down here.

    Ride on.

  8. BR says:

    Those GIRO shades are nice but I can’t justify the expense these days. Until a time comes where I can drop that kind of money I will have stick with my $6 safety glasses from Home Depot. I have a clear pair that I use to commute in. Part of my route goes by a river that is home to waves of bugs and these work really well. I have to put my bike dollars in basic essentials these days and glasses are #76 at the moment.

    I am guessing that Tiger was sporting a set of glasses that provide a measure of perceived privacy. I always think that guys in casual or dressy attire look silly in a sporty sun glass. Ever see a guy walking his dog wearing some orange iridium white framed glasses? OY!

    Kurt – Sport a pair of the glasses I wear when off of the bikes….your Latin buddies will soon be calling you OG. I have ridden with these and love to look at myself in the reflection of my shoes :-) I actually got these for free by working few car shows with a buddy that is a dealer. I showed up to help him once in my $6 dark glasses and he said….”yea right DORK..please put these on”

    Here is a link http://store.crowndeluxe.com/PhotoGallery.asp?ProductCode=LG_shinyblackgreen

  9. Eric says:

    Call from the team car or not, I don’t know that anyone could have duked it out with Cancellara last Sunday – he’s really been in a class all his own so far this season. That attack on the Mur in the Tour of Flanders left my legs hurting just watching it . Fabian can certainly inflict punishment in true gladiatorial fashion. I too will be watching the Starz Originals series’ season finale this evening. I’m happy to see that some other folks enjoy it as well.

    Thanks for the reviews – the lens change feature on the Filter is pretty trick. I’m with BR on the cheapo glasses though – I have a bag full of sunglasses that I’ve acquired over the years, some for $0.99 and some for more than I’m willing to admit to my wife. Still, I’ve found that my all-time favourites are a pair of Pepper’s frames with clear lenses that I picked up for $2.99 at a closeout store. They appear to have the same nosepad as the Havik II. Since I wear a cap under my helmet year round I’ve yet to find a time where the brim doesn’t provide enough shade for my eyes and the glasses have the UV angle covered. That said, I’m in Ohio rather than California and, for me, glasses are more important as protection from flying debris resulting from disintegrating roads than protection from the brightness of the sun.

    • BR says:

      Dude don’t get me started – oh too late.

      I was in the bike shop and spied some cool Pearl Izumi full fingered gloves called ELITE Gel Vent FF Glove
      and I paid $42.00 They are good gloves, a bit small as I have large hands, they wash up nicely, etc. They are vented, have a mesh pad for the palm. I like them very much. Weeks later I am at Home Depot and stop dead in my tracks as I pass the gloves. Is that a fake leather vented $9 glove with a velcro closure that looks really REALLY like my super sexy envy of the pack makes me faster $42 PI’s? As Slim Pickens once said…..What In the Wide Wide World of Sports is a’goin on here? It gets worse – the XL fits better? I could have bought 3 pair plus a Slim Jim & a Coke for the same price? If these two gloves were not made on the same assembly line they were certainly made in the same factory…by cousins. Sure the PI’s are nicer but not not 344% better. I paid attention in ECON101…I get the cost over quantity deal but palleeze.

      I do also realize that a $6 sunglass does not have the lense value of a high quality GIRO, Rudy, Oakley but they do a nice job for what I need. Rant over.

    • interesting that the nosepad appears similar on another pair of glasses…but we did design and tool our own for the Havik.


  10. Malk says:

    I’m Spartacus.

  11. Dan R says:

    Michael: How does the Giro Filter rate in terms of fogging? That is my one occasional complaint with my long-in-the-tooth Project Rudy Rydons, which are otherwise a great fit for me. Your helmet series, by the way, has been great. On Spartacus, trust you have seen the two seasons of “Rome” that aired on HBO a few years ago; if not, the DVDs are definitely worth it.

    • Dan,

      The Filters seem to fog less than the Oakley Radars on my face, but since I had a pair of Giro Havik IIs with the yellow selector lenses at the same time I think I’ve worn them more in the cool morning conditions that tend to produce fogging. The compact lenses on the Filters leaves a bit more room for air to circulate behind the glasses (again on me).

      Glad the helmet series has been helpful. I believe I’ll have one or two more helmets for comparison before the summer is up.

      For whatever reason I never caught that series… I’ll look for it. Between Spartacus and the soundtrack for Clash of the Titans on iTunes (haven’t seen the film but like the music) I’m in a real “sandal” mood at the moment.