February 2017 Product Picks: Effetto Mariposa, skingrowsback, Pedalit, Dual Eyewear

by Matt Wikstrom

February 22, 2017

In the second edition of Product Picks for February 2017, Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom takes a look at some helmet padding from Effetto Mariposa, bifocal sunglasses from Dual Eyewear, laundry bags from skingrowsback, and body care products from Pedalit.

Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:

Effetto Mariposa Octoplus kit
Skingrowsback laundry bags
Dual Eyewear bifocal sunglasses
Pedalit laundry detergent, sunscreen and chamois cream

Dual Eyewear bifocal sunglasses

by Matt Wikstrom

While most will talk about death and taxes, there are other inevitabilities in life, such as presbyopia (a.k.a. age-related farsightedness). The condition is the by-product of aging that results in a loss of elasticity for the lens of the eye. Typically arising during the fifth decade of life, it becomes difficult for most people to focus on nearby objects, such as the text in a book or the display on a bike computer.

Some kind of corrective lens is typically all that is required to rectify presbyopia. Sufferers can visit an optometrist for a pair of prescription glasses for a custom-built solution; alternatively, they can spend less money on a pair of off-the-rack reading glasses.

Dual Eyewear was founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2011 with the goal of creating affordable sunglasses that can also serve as reading glasses. Adopting the same strategy as that used to create bifocals, Dual’s sunglasses have a discrete magnification zone in the lower third of the lens that makes it possible for the wearer to read the display on their smartphone or bike computer without removing their sunglasses.

There are several different models in Dual’s current catalogue of cycling/sport-specific sunglasses. Each one makes use of Grilamid TR-90 plastic for the frame, while the lenses are made from shatterproof and scratch-resistant polycarbonate. Buyers have a choice of three diopters (+1.5, +2.0 and +2.5) with Dual recommending that buyers select a slightly weaker magnification compared to their normal reading glasses.

Our take:

For this review, Dual Eyewear’s Australian distributor supplied three samples from its catalogue of cycling sunglasses: the G5, TX, and the SL2 Pro PhotoPolar. At face value, there isn’t a lot to distinguish one model from another, however one look at the specifications for each will reveal that there are discrete differences in the dimensions of each. According to Dual, the G5 provides a small fit, the TX medium-large, while the SL2 is suited to all sizes.

Colour choices for the frames are limited to black only in most instances, though there are a couple of models, like the G5, where white is an option. Similarly, lens colour is largely limited to smoke, though brown is possible for some models.

All of the samples proved to be light and easy to wear. The nosepiece of each was adjustable to improve the fit of the frames, while the temple tips on the more expensive models (TX and SL2) could also be adjusted.

I’m in my mid-40s and noticed the onset of very mild presbyopia a few years ago. I don’t have any trouble reading the display on a bike computer, and smartphones are easy to read until the text gets tiny. Be that as it may, +1.5 diopter improved my focus on tiny text, so there was no doubting the effectiveness of the magnification zone.

Out on the bike, the magnification zone was small enough that it rarely interfered with my vision. The one exception was when I was peeking under my arm at the traffic behind me, and then there was no avoiding the magnification zone and the blurriness that came with it. Otherwise, the lenses offered a crisp view on the world without any distortion.

One quick look at the market for bifocal sunglasses is all that is needed to appreciate how well priced Dual’s glasses are. While it is possible to find cheaper options, they typically lack many of the features that Dual has incorporated into its products. In this regard, the G5 and SL2 standout as perhaps the best buys due to the range of options available, including accessory and replacement lenses.

In this regard, the PhotoPolar lenses supplied with the SL2 Pro frames worked very nicely. I’ve found that photochromic lenses typically allow more light transmission than conventional tints, so while they work well in the morning or the afternoon, a darker tint is a better choice for the middle of the day. Be that as it may, the addition of polarisation does a lot to extend the capabilities of the PhotoPolar lens by noticeably reducing the amount of glare, so its possible to keep using the lenses without sacrificing too much comfort as the sun climbs high in the sky.

Ultimately, Dual Eyewear’s bifocal sunglasses are all about helping the wearer contend with their farsightedness while on the bike, proving that there is no need for a set of reading glasses when you reach for your sunglasses.

Price: G5, AUD$90/US$55; TX, AUD$110/US$70; SL2 Pro PhotoPolar, AUD$150/US$100.