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I never realized the sunglasses I had been using for the last 10 years were not a proper fit for my face. I knew what “too big” looked like, and I definitely had my share of stunna’ shades that boasted aesthetics over function, but even standard sized frames? Perfect fit, I thought.
I became accustomed to a sunglass fitting like so: the frame sits out a smidge too wide, maybe 5 mm out from my temples as the arms curve inward and past my ears, lenses contacting my upper cheeks where sweat and debris hang out. I was experiencing fogging much more than my riding companions. Why was I always having to shake my fogged glasses in the air like I was trying to develop a Polaroid picture while everyone else got to enjoy a mid-ride snack?
100%’s new Speedcraft XS model has made things clear.
If you weren’t familiar with 100% through motocross or downhill/mountain biking, then it’s likely you first saw 100% on a pair of branded motocross goggles hanging around Peter Sagan’s neck on a podium. Their partnership began in 2017 and Sagan became a major face for the San Diego-based company. While some found his use of podium goggles heavy-handed, they 100% grabbed people’s attention.
The Speedcraft XS is the newest model in the popular 100% Speedcraft series. In 2018, they released a model that is claimed to enhance nasal breathing called the Speedcraft Air. Similar to a breathing strip, they use magnetic nose pads that are claimed to open up the nostrils by pulling them apart. In 2019, 100% released their next extension with the Speedcraft SL, standing for “shorter lens”. This, combined with a compact nose bridge, allowed for a lower-profile fit unlike the larger, flashier, Speedcrafts.
Earlier this summer, 100% released the Speedcraft XS, which is exactly how it sounds. A smaller version of the Speedcraft designed to better fit smaller faces so we, too, can get the most out of their design.
I didn’t think I ever fell into that “smaller face” category. I felt I was pretty standard and always went for a model like Oakley Radars. They never looked too big, but I now see that the lens isn’t supposed to be touching my cheeks, and the arms shouldn’t push out that far from my temples and way past my ears. It’s like when you have food stuck in your teeth: someone please tell me!
The new Speedcraft XS is available in five different colours including coral with smoke + clear lenses, matte white with HiPER silver mirror + clear lenses, matte white with blue mirror + clear lenses, and finally, black with HiPER red + clear lenses. Prices start at US$135.
What are the differences?
The XS sunglasses are noticeably smaller, and can fit easily inside the original Speedcrafts, so I did a little bit of quick measuring to see what is actually different. Note: these are not exact numbers, but I found that the XS frame and lens were roughly 15% smaller than those of the Speedcraft.
The outermost point of the lenses were over 20 mm shorter, and over 12 mm shorter at the highest points. Since the frame itself was also around 15 mm narrower, this also brought the ends of the arms inward by about 5 mm on each side. The actual arm attachment length appears to be the same length on both models, but the change in frame size changes the way they sit on the face. By reducing the lengths on some of these pieces, along with a smaller lens size, the XS weighs in at 27 g compared to the full-size Speedcrafts at 35 g.
The overall shape of the Speedcraft XS is similar to its flashy predecessor’s, featuring 100%’s HiPER lens. The HiPER lenses use a proprietary high-contrast technology that makes for a clearer, more vibrant viewing. They also claim to use a bunch of other technology for UV protection and further clarity.
I used the HiPER red multilayer mirror lens which I found to have the sharpness and colour contrast to rival Oakley’s Prizm technology. The frames I tested were “soft tact black”, a lightweight TR90 plastic that makes the frame grippy and lightly flexible in a way that prevents easy breakage.
In addition, 100% claims that by using a hydrophobic and oleophobic treatment, water, oil and dirt should simply “pearl off your lenses,” which also prevents smudging. The lens is finished off with a hard protective finish.
I was able to give the lens a little test. I found myself frustrated, holding my glasses in hand as I swatted away mosquitos from my face. While I was dancing around, the glasses flung out of my hand and into the wet dirt and rocks. Ugh. I tried to decide which of my lycra clothing I would use to wipe my newly scratched glasses with the acceptance that the remainder of my ride would be a smudged mess. I huffed and puffed while wiping the glasses only to realize very little needed to be done to get them ride-ready again. It was impressive to see the lens unscathed.
The larger, moto-inspired lens gives a wide field of vision, plenty of coverage, and all the sass. And I didn’t have any issues with distortion from the lens curvature. Since the XS lens has a slightly smaller shape, it does not include the additional frame that extends beyond the nose piece like the original Speedcrafts. This means there is no need for the vent slots you may be accustomed to seeing that help prevent fogging.
Since you asked, let’s talk about fogging. With no vented slots, the XS lenses make up for it with their smaller size, and slightly altered shape. 100% nailed this design as the glasses leave plenty of space between my cheeks where a lot of moisture and fogging would occur with other brands I’ve ridden in. This was giving plenty of airflow through, no matter how slow I was climbing. I did experience a small amount of fogging toward the top of the sunglasses where the frame begins to meet the top of the helmet, but the extra airflow helped keep it at a minimum.
It was easy to see that technologies from the Speedcrafts carried over into the XS design, but simply in a size that better suits smaller-profile faces. The larger Speedcraft model didn’t allow airflow as well as the XS did, and the frames sat out much wider than I preferred. I can see myself still rocking the Speedcrafts, but my go-to riding glasses on the dirt and on the road are now the Speedcraft XS.
Speedcraft XS w/ Smoke Lens: US$135 / €140 / £119.99 / AU$229
Speedcraft XS w/ Mirror Lens: US$155 / €160 / £139.99 / AU$259
Speedcraft XS w/ HiPer Lens: $US$175 / €180 / £159.99 / AU$279