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Adidas Evil Eye Evo

Southern France, November 2014. After torrential rainfalls, the sky has turned a deep blue, while temperatures remain relatively cool. The sun is low above the foothills of the Monts de Vaucluse and flashes it’s late autumnal rays into our faces at an almost right angle - ideal conditions to test sunglasses. Our cheeks are glowing in a healthy, rosy color; after all, we have already mastered several meters of moderately uphill asphalt roads. Now it seems that the time has come to work up a sweat: to the left there's a gravel road that soon transforms into a narrow path - crippled trees, loose rubble and several boulders, all on a steep ascent. We spin until we can't spin anymore. Then we push.

  • More than 30 journalists from all around had been invited to Southern France...More than 30 journalists from all around had been invited to Southern France...
    More than 30 journalists from all around had been invited to Southern France...
    More than 30 journalists from all around had been invited to Southern France...
  • ... and were accompanied by several pros from the Adidas teams:... and were accompanied by several pros from the Adidas teams:
    ... and were accompanied by several pros from the Adidas teams:
    ... and were accompanied by several pros from the Adidas teams:
  • Justin Leov...Justin Leov...Justin Leov...
    Justin Leov...
    Justin Leov...
  • Steffie Marth...Steffie Marth...Steffie Marth...
    Steffie Marth...
    Steffie Marth...
  • René Wildhaber...René Wildhaber...René Wildhaber...
    René Wildhaber...
    René Wildhaber...
  • ... and Pierre Edouard Ferry.
    ... and Pierre Edouard Ferry.
    ... and Pierre Edouard Ferry.

At the assembly point, where everyone gathered to prepare for the downhill, it's the same wherever you look: sweating riders breathing heavily, taking off their sunglasses and waving them to and fro as if they wanted to share some cool air with them.
"ClimaCool Technology", "integrated ventilation", "vacuum effect", and now this - fogged lenses all around us. Has all technology failed? Did Adidas lie to us? Not at all.
"Fogging is a problem that you can never completely stop", said Ben Ashlin at the presentation the night before - refreshingly honest words. Of course you could give it your best to reduce it. However, when single-digit temperatures are faced with a three-digit heart rate, things obviously get serious.

The full rim shades come in an aggressive design, and with ingenious ventilation, which is made evident by the multitude of slits and openings. However, ventilation was not the only topic Adidas' global marketing manager focused on. After all, Evil Eye's newest offspring combines all technologies that made this product line one of the most successful line-ups on the bicycle eyewear sector - and adds several more.

The 10base Vision Advantage lenses are probably among the most obvious innovations - not necessarily because of the trendy, red mirror coating, but rather because of their size and shape. Thanks to their curvature, they perfectly wrap around the eye, thus granting a wide field of vision that would even cause envy in chameleons. In addition, they're light stabilized, polarized, and hydrophobic. Adidas Eyewear is the only producer of sports glasses worldwide who offers filters with these quality features.
Regarding optical corrections: the lenses are bent too strongly for direct in-frame glazing. However, Adidas' RXO concept offers three options for optical corrections (as seen at the bottom-left corner of the overview image below).

 "When I look up, I can see the edge of my helmet, but no frame." 

Pierre Edouard Ferry, Rampage finalist and Nine Knights winner

The frame, crafted from lightweight, flexible and temperature resistant SPX material, is in perfect tune with the design of the lenses. Its edge has been moved further up, down and out than ever before. The result is a field of vision which is usually only provided by rimless shades - at least according to Adidas' claims. In fact, a slight hint of the polyamide construct remains visible on the lower edge; to the sides and above, nothing can be seen of the frame when you've settled in bike position.

Another notably improved feature is the adjustable nose bridge, which now offers twice as many adjustment settings as before. Besides the possibility to adjust the width by simply pushing in or out, the asymmetrically designed bridge is removable and can be put back in reversed, creating two additional adjustment options.

  • Overview: all functions and colors of the pro model. ? 199,-Overview: all functions and colors of the pro model. ? 199,-Overview: all functions and colors of the pro model. ? 199,-
    Overview: all functions and colors of the pro model. € 199,-
    Overview: all functions and colors of the pro model. € 199,-
  • Overview: all functions and colors of the standard model. ? 169,-Overview: all functions and colors of the standard model. ? 169,-Overview: all functions and colors of the standard model. ? 169,-
    Overview: all functions and colors of the standard model. € 169,-
    Overview: all functions and colors of the standard model. € 169,-

Immediately after we put our test shades back on and moved our bikes towards the downhill, the lenses were once more crystal clear. Or rather, orange, or blue - depending on the choice of lenses. Some of us actually swapped these during the ride, in spite of wearing cycling gloves and our rapid pulse; we were all too curious about the rumors of LSD-like colorfulness. It was so easy! Fold temples, push release hinge, remove lenses, insert other lenses, re-lock via hinge and temple. Sounds tricky, but be assured - it isn't.

 "Swapping lenses is quick and easy enough to even do it during races." 

René Wildhaber, enduro pioneer and Megavalanche serial winner

The downhill started off smoothly, and so we had time to consciously enjoy the fantastic view through our polycarbonate lenses: razor-sharp contrasts, minimal blinding by the low autumn sun. What fascinated me the most is: as we rode through sparse forests at a respectable speed, light, and shadow changed faster than my brain could think. Usually these are conditions that make me bomb down the track in blind flight, especially since I was blessed with a severe form of astigmatism. However, through these red mirror lenses I could actually see the rocks over which I was subsequently about to jolt. More than once I believed that had I been wearing other shades, I would probably have tumbled instead.

In this context, I remember Ben Ashlin's words on the topic of the Evil Eye Evo's development objective: "Giving riders more confidence; allowing them to ride at their best."

 "I like the look, and looking good is important too, right?" 

Steffi Marth, Trek Gravity Girl and 4X champion

Evil Eye's history begins in the year 2000. Being designed and manufactured in Linz (Upper Austria) like all other Adidas glasses under license by Silhouette International. These revolutionary sports glasses blazed the trail that lead Adidas into the world of the "wild ones": a freeride/downhill team as well as Evil Eye trails and lines in bike and dirt parks accompanied the market launch.
More products followed over the years (milestones of which were the 2002 Explorer model, the 2006 ClimaCool model, and the 2011 Halfrim model), some of which increasingly appealed to road bikers so that the Evil Eye eventually became everybody's choice of sunglasses. The most recent development, however mostly targets the MTB sector.

Full rim shades are in vogue; Enduro is in vogue. Hence, it was obvious to bring these two subjects together and create something new, as the "old" Evil Eye restricted the team riders’ field of view too much.
How successful these glasses are, is proven by the fact that the Adidas team riders, like Justin Leov, René Wildhaber, Pierre Edouard Ferry and Steffi Marth – all of whom were present at the presentation - are planning on ditching the goggles and going with the Evil Eye Evo on future enduro competitions. What’s impressive is the balance that is achieved during a fully packed day on the mountain and a competition day, which can vary between uphill and downhill, transfers and stages.

 "The fit is amazing thanks to all the adjustment options." 

Justin Leov, enduro pro and Trek World Racing coach

Therefore, the shades definitely weren't to blame for my ungainly performance on the following key points.
However, even with a poor riding technique, it's obvious that, no matter how rough the track, how high the edges, how sudden the slipping on the rubble - the shades remain in place and would never even consider to slip off your nose.
In short: the Evil Eye Evo is a perfect fit, which is remarkable considering its large frame and my tiny head (for example, my Halfrim's size is XS).

Conclusion

Adidas' newest shades can't turn noobs into freeriders - or turn NoMan into Steffi Marth, but it can give sight to the blind, and make mountainbikers very, very happy - especially those who enjoy downhill dashes.

The Evil Eye Evo hit the stores on February 1st, 2015 - shades for pretty much every adventure playground in the world. Either off-road (where it excels thanks to it’s enormous field of vision, secure, snug fit, and perfect performance) or in the urban jungle (where it'll make sure you'll stand out between bearded hipsters and guys in suits): Adidas' newcomer is a great choice.