Roka Matador sunglasses review
The Matador sunglasses offer a unique look certain to divide the style-conscious. But the excellent lens and titanium ear pieces offer killer performance.
V-Core temple prevents interference with helmets and cycling caps; titanium core wires in ear pieces; Geko nose pad and ear pads to keep glasses firmly in place even when sweaty
Titanium wires in arms make adjustment easy; nose pad keeps the glasses planted; lenses are crystal-clear and offer wide coverage
Sort of goofy-looking; expensive
The Matadors offer sharp lens clarity, a comfortable fit, light weight, and a unique aesthetic. Roka’s cycling eyewear continues to impress, though the looks aren’t for everyone.
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I have reviewed a few pairs of Roka sunglasses and have enjoyed riding with each one. So far none has been perfect, but for a relatively new competitor in the cycling space, Roka has done an admirable job packing high-end performance features into its offerings. The Matador is no different, and may be Roka’s finest cycling glasses yet — if you can get past the somewhat goofy looks.
Matador on the inside
You can’t see most of the things I really love about the Matadors. For the most part, they’re hidden, like the titanium wires inside the arms, which bend and hold shape exceptionally well so you can adjust them to your head perfectly. More important than that, the arms hold the shape so you’re not constantly re-adjusting from ride to ride.
The Geko grip pads on both the ear pieces and the nose pad work quite well. Just about every brand out there says its rubber will keep the glasses planted even when you sweat, but Roka actually delivers on this promise. The Matadors never shifted on my face, even as sweat rained down. It was impressive enough to set these glasses apart from others I’ve tried recently.
Roka advertises the Matadors at 28 grams; my test pair weighs 26 grams. They’re plenty light and comfortable, and since they stay firmly in place, it’s nice to forget that they’re there.
Matador on the outside
The Matadors tout a cylindrical lens that Roka says offers the “sharpest optics on the planet.” I have yet to travel the entire planet to find what might be considered the second-sharpest optics on the planet, but let’s say the lens performed well enough to be considered top company with Oakley, Smith, and 100%. The coverage extends to your peripheral and is unobstructed, and I didn’t spot any artifacts or distracting glare in changing light conditions. It was easy enough to pick out road obstacles in changing light conditions, too.
Roka also says the Matador lens is fingerprint-resistant, to which I say nay. It’s like every other lens out there; it was easy enough to smudge the lens with my fingers, especially when I went to remove or install the lens. Nice claim, but just not true. Also not a dealbreaker; The Matadors are no better and certainly no worse than any other lens on the market. I just don’t think fingerprint resistance is actually a thing.
The odd-looking dip where the arms meet the main body of the Matadors looks goofy to me. It’s called the V-Core temple and Roka says it’s intended to prevent interference between the glasses and your helmet or cycling cap. It certainly does just that, so Roka meets its claims here, but there are other glasses out there that also avoid such interference without such a dramatic downturn. This all comes down to aesthetics here. You like the look? Great! These are your shades.
I love the fit of the Matadors, and the Geko grippers keep these glasses planted solidly. The lens is crystal-clear and there are no obstructions, even in your peripheral vision. Swapping the lens is easy enough, though you’ll get plenty of fingerprints on them. As far as I can tell, the Matadors only have two drawbacks: the high price tag and the aesthetics (which, hey, if that’s your thing, you’ve only got one drawback here!). Roka continues to impress with its expanding lineup of cycling eyewear.