Hydrophobic–that’s me! Many years ago, when I chose to serve, there’s a reason I walked into the Air Force recruiter office and not the Navy recruiter. Fact is, I don’t like any body of water deeper than I am tall. Really, my name, German for “fish,” is a horrible misnomer. I swim like an anchor tied to a cement block. I live in Colorado, over 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean, and I’m good with that. I’d rather vacation in Mongolia or the Ukraine than Hawaii or Fiji.
So when Endura suggested I test some shades with “hydrophobic” lenses, I thought I’d get along with them just fine, us both being hydrophobic and all. Actually, “hydrophobic” doesn’t just mean afraid of water. In the world of chemistry, “hydrophobic” means “lacking an affinity for water, tending to repel and not absorb water, tending not to dissolve or mix with water or be wetted by water.” Which is good–I don’t actually want glasses that are literally afraid of water–but water repellent? Yeah, that sounds good. And how cool is it for a Fisch to ride with a Guppy?
Guppy Specs, According to Endura
- “Sculpted Race Fit” frames
- 3 sets of high definition, low distortion, interchangeable polycarbonate lenses (smoke, clear and persimmon)
- UV filtration categories 0 (clear) through 3 (smoke: Cat 3 allows penetration of only 8-18% of UV rays)
- Anti fog finish to prevent misting on the interior of the lenses
- Hydrophobic finish to repel water on the outside of the lenses
- Superhydrophobic finish on the clear lenses
- Hard shell case with foam cutouts for each set of lenses plus a soft cloth carry bag.
Hydrophobia aside, there are a few things I look for in any pair of riding glasses.
- Fit. This is absolutely number one for me. The glasses must be comfortable for all day rides without putting pressure on any contact points (nose, ears), but still snug and secure enough to endure long stretches of intense gnar without shaking loose.
- Multiple, interchangeable lenses. I don’t want to maintain multiple pairs of shades, but I do want the proper shades for day, night, or variable light.
- Open frames. There’s nothing worse that a drop of sweat falling onto the interior of a pair of glasses and just sitting there when it reaches the bottom of the frame. It need to be able to roll off unhindered.
- Reasonable price. Shades are easy to lose or break.
Over a period of two months I would ride with the Guppies through every conceivable light and weather condition short of heavy snow, and on every possible type of trail to see how how the Guppy stood up to my criteria, as well as Endura’s claims.
Guppy on the Trail
When I first donned the the Guppy I could tell immediately the fit would be good. They were snug without exerting unnecessary pressure. The soft rubber ear and nose pieces molded to my head comfortably and gave no indication they would slip when the going got rough. From the constant gnar of Palmer Park, where they never shook, to the 5 1/2 hour epic ride on the South Boundary Trail where they never became uncomfortable, the Guppy exceeded my expectations for fit.
The Guppy does indeed come with an open frame as well as the standard trio of lenses, which I found easier to swap than most interchangeable lens glasses. In fact, they were so easy to change, I feared they would wear quickly from repeated swaps and become loose when fitted in place. After two months, I have yet to see anything to validate those fears. The quick and easy change, while not essential, is a very nice and unexpected touch. The smoke lenses are perfect for bright light and, despite not being polarized, do a good job of cutting glare. The “persimmon” (orange) lenses have a surprisingly-wide performance envelope, providing good visibility in dark, cloudy conditions, but still being able to handle a good deal of sunlight without discomfort.
So, what about that “Hydrophobia?” I rode the Guppy through some torrential downpours, and was quite impressed. While water droplets didn’t magically disappear like in some dishwasher detergent commercial, the ones that remained were small and well enough dispersed that my visibility was never degraded. As a bonus, the treatment on the inside of the lenses not only helped keep them from fogging, but also assisted in repelling those random sweat droplets.
Given the combination of performance and features, I found the $74.99 MSRP to be an outstanding value. Overall, these are the best value shades–and one of the best shades overall–I’ve owned in my 40 years of outdoor activity. Nothing is perfect, but I’m hard-pressed to find even the most minor flaw with the Guppy. If I had to quibble, I’d say the hard shell case takes up too much room in the hydration pack, necessitating moving spare lenses somewhere else if you feel the need to carry them. Oh, yeah, I wasn’t too keen on the white frames they sent me. I would have rather had the basic black–then everything would have been absolutely perfect. If you’re not into black and white, and really want to get noticed, they also come in a very bright, vibrant lime green as well.
Thanks to Endura for shipping the great Guppy to the Fisch for review!