Switch Lycan Sunglasses

Editor Score: 88.5%
Aesthetics 8.0/10
Protection 9.0/10
Value 8.5/10
Comfort/Fit 9.0/10
Quality/Design 9.0/10
Weight 8.5/10
Options/Selection 9.0/10
Innovation 9.5/10
Weather Suitability 9.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 8.5/10
Overall Score88.5/100

I’m a fan of expensive eyewear, but like Burnsie surmises in his Why We Can’t Have Nice Things article, the more I spend on a pair of sunglasses, the quicker I am to destroy them. Even to complete this review I had to request a second pair of Lycans due to me losing the originals on the first overseas bike launch I attended with the sunglasses in tow. Twenty-dollar vendor-row aviators … got a box of bent and scratched ones, but it’s that I still have the low-rent shades that’s confounding. My New Year’s resolution is to have the Switch Lycans at this time next year.

It’s not just the price tag (which, at $190, is certainly an investment) that’s compelling me to keep the Lycans in use, but the functionality they deliver. Using high-energy magnets, Switch devised a way to make lens swapping efficient. In a matter of a few seconds you can go from True Color Grey to Ski Yellow Low Light to match changing light conditions. The scenario is, your day begins bright and sunny then turns dark and overcast. If you continue wearing the dark sunglasses you’re putting yourself at greater risk by reducing, instead of enhancing, your vision.

Switch lenses snap into place by way of high-energy magnets on either end of each lens. To remove, simply push on the inside left of the lens and it comes right out.

Switch lenses snap into place by way of high-energy magnets on either end of each lens. To remove, simply push on the inside left of the lens and it comes right out.

Yes, the lenses will pop out of the frames when dropped from an elevation of, say, a bike’s fuel tank. This has happened numerous times to me already, and I simply pick them up, snap them back into place. The process is so quick even a whiner like me can’t find the time to complain. What’s even more amazing is that the shatterproof polycarbonate lenses have managed to remain, more or less, scratch-free.

Shatterproof. I’ve considered that term before when riding with my $20 aviators inside my $700 full-face helmet. I’ll survive the accident but be blinded for life, all because I’m A) Too cheap to buy motorcycle-friendly shades with shatterproof lenses, B) Can’t keep a good pair of shatterproof sunglasses in my possession if I did buy them.

Each pair of Switch lenses come in their own “pod.” If I’m wearing the True Color Grey lenses, I’ll bring one or two of these pods with lenses for low-light and/or nighttime riding. They’re small enough to fit into most pockets, and it beats carrying the much larger, $25 optional sunglass semi-hard case.

Each pair of Switch lenses come in their own “pod.” If I’m wearing the True Color Grey lenses, I’ll bring one or two of these pods with lenses for low-light and/or nighttime riding. They’re small enough to fit into most pockets, and it beats carrying the much larger, $25 optional sunglass semi-hard case.

The nylon frame is durable and lightweight. Both frame and lenses weigh in at 1.51 ounces or 42.9 grams. The folding arms are thin and fit over your ear and between head and helmet with no pressure points. The nosepiece is a no-slip soft rubber helping to provide both comfort and security.

In addition to riding motorcycles and bicycles while wearing the Lycans, I also spent part of an afternoon jumping ocean waves on a Sea-Doo, and returned to shore with the sunglasses still in place.

For $190, buyers get a Switch magnetized interchangeable frame, one pair of polarized or non-polarized lenses, a pair of Low-Light Rose Amber lenses, a microfiber cleaning pouch and a lens pod. The carrying case is a $25 option and there’s a variety of lenses from which to choose.

For $190, buyers get a Switch magnetized interchangeable frame, one pair of polarized or non-polarized lenses, a pair of Low-Light Rose Amber lenses, a microfiber cleaning pouch and a lens pod. The carrying case is a $25 option and there’s a variety of lenses from which to choose.

The Lycan frame comes in the Matte Black seen here, as well as Fire Tortoise, Lagoon and Olive. There’s also a variety of other frame choices including semi-rimmed and rimless frames.

Along with the Lycans, Switch included the Pathfinder ($190) and Stormrider ($190) models. Instead of quick-change lenses, these two sunglasses feature high-energy magnets for easily substituting the Activity Guard for the Climate Guard, or vise versa. The Activity Guard is meant for “screening out mild debris and wind,” while the Climate Guard “provides a goggle-like fit for maximum blockage of debris, wind, water and other elements.”

Switch Stormriders with Climate Guard (left) and Activity Guard (right). Neither – at least on my head – maintain a tight seal at the outermost part of the frame. Like the lenses in the Lycans, you can swap one Guard for the other in seconds.

Switch Stormriders with Climate Guard (left) and Activity Guard (right). Neither – at least on my head – maintain a tight seal at the outermost part of the frame. Like the lenses in the Lycans, you can swap one Guard for the other in seconds.

The major problem with these types of glasses (from other manufacturers as well as Switch) is creating a good seal between your face and the frame. I have yet to find a pair that fits my face well enough to keep out sand when riding in the desert. Maybe Switch will consider getting into the moto-goggle business?

Sunglasses rank among the top of the list when it comes compulsory accessories. So, if you’re in the market for a good pair of shades that’ll do more than a regular pair of sunglasses, check out the Lycans or another model from Switch at SwitchVision.com.

  • Max_a1000000

    I could just as easily buy a transitions shield for my Bell full face for the same money and be experiencing the same protection and convenience in regards to day-to-night rideability. Plus I’ll have the added benefit that the only way to lose it is to lose my helmet, which I haven’t managed just yet (knock on wood).

    • Kevin Duke

      I love, love, love the Transitions shield, but it’s uncomfortable to wear after removing your helmet, unlike a nice set of sunglasses. :)

      • Old MOron

        Did someone finally make a transition face shield that works?
        How about if you assign one of your MOronic editors to review that?
        The last one I tried was from Wiki Helmets, and that was mostly a waste of money.

        • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

          Bell has had Transitions face shields for years and they work very well. Shoei has Transitions face shields coming soon. Stay tuned for an official announcement of availability.

          • B.Hoop

            How well do the Transitions shields work at low sun angles such as sunrise and sunset? I have some photo-chromatic sunglasses that work well except at dawn and dusk, when the sun is angled low enough to get directly in my eyes, but the UV rays aren’t strong enough to fully transition the lenses. I’ve been tempted to try a Transitions shield but I’m afraid it would have the same issue. Right now, I prefer a drop down, internal visor, and Arai’s new external visor has my attention.

          • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

            From my experience with the Bell Transitions shields, they have the same defect during low-light hours as your photo-chromatic sunglasses. No technology is perfect, I guess. I have a new Arai with the external visor on order. Should be here soon. Give me a little time and I’ll be reviewing it as well.

  • DickRuble

    I wonder what Roderick did to deserve to be put on this assignment. Any other overpriced useless products being reviewed? Motorcycle specific toothpaste, maybe? Better review some deodorant for motorcycle writers because this write-up stinks badly. Happy New Year!