Rudy Project debuts new Windmax helmet, sport shades and more.
By Larry Grossman
So who in the world is Rudy?
Rudy is actually Rudy Barbazza, a name I would imagine not one of you reading this review have ever heard before. If you’re an athlete in virtually any discipline, from cycling to golf, water sports to shooting disciplines, I guarantee you that you have seen Mr. Barbazza’s products donning competitor’s faces, torsos and also evident in some of the gear they carry along with them.
Barbazza is the founding father of a company called Rudy Project, which began producing sport sunglasses in 1985 with a fairly limited line of product. Rudy Project labeled themselves the makers of “technically cool eyewear.” Let me tell you this right up front, their product line is as functional and stylish as any out there. Whatever your flavor, Rudy Project has you covered, and they have multiple options for those of you that need prescription and shatter-proof lenses in just about every tint and color you can think of. Let’s start with the glasses.
“Technically cool” indeed
With sunglasses designed to help protect your eyes in style, Rudy Project lists 16 sports and literally thousands of frame, lens color, lens material and prescription options to choose from. The glasses are crafted and designed in Italy, ooo la la!
Nearly all of their designs come with an adjustable and comfortable nosepiece, which you can shape to fit your face and nose as needed. The temple portions are also all adjustable. There are countless options for replaceable lens kits for different light conditions as well. Perhaps the most desirable lens option for many athletes is the RX Interchangeable lens that is both impact resistant (ImpactX) and has the ability to get darker in brighter sun conditions (photochromic).
I got my hands on a pair of their Rydons with this exact lens in the red tint -- I like to call it a rose-colored lens, being a John Conlee fan. They have performed flawlessly for three seasons now and are the most durable pair of glasses I’ve ever owned, without a scratch on them, in part due to the plastic hard shell case and cleaning cloth that come with the glasses for storage.
Just out this year is the Revenge, which has a lower profile than the Rydon and many of the other Rudy Project models. They would be a perfect choice for women, but I actually have taken to the lower profile on days when there is not as much wind. While on the bike, I find I barely notice I’ve got the glasses on, which is perfect. The plastics that Rudy Project uses in its designs are incredibly durable, and the customer service, should you need any assistance with any product, is quick and precise. They take care of their customers and back the product like no other.
Protecting your noggin
A couple of years ago, Rudy Project came out with what was a revolutionary helmet for the company, the Sterling. The Sterling ($229.99) had some incredibly well-thought out features, like sunglass docks in the air vents, a mesh bug guard insert held in place with Velcro, which stayed in place and evenly distributed pressure across the top of your head, and an easy-to-adjust internal strap to help the helmet fit on your own dome. The large helmet weighed in at 374 grams and a medium weighed 349 grams.
This year, the next generation of lightweight cycling helmet arrived from Rudy Project, and you will see a good number of the pro peloton riders wearing it this year. The Windmax ($299.99) weighs in at a miniscule 270 grams in a large, making it virtually feel like you have nothing more than a pile of feathers on your head -- it’s ridiculously light. I ride both mountain and road bikes, and the interchangeable visors literally snap on and off in a second. This is the lightest and most comfortable helmet from Rudy Project yet. The color selections leave an option for everyone.
Even a bag for business
The large majority of us these days find it important to be able to carry our laptop computers with us wherever we travel, whether it be locally or traveling to remote destinations. The Rudy Project Biz Case 3 meets this need in a very stylish, functional and affordable way ($79.99).
The bag is designed properly with layered and zippered compartments that make it very easy to find and reach whatever you choose to organize. It’s got internal padding for a large interior pocket that will protect your laptop. I placed laptop with a 17-inch screen in the bag with no problem, and it is easy to remove. The bag is tough, and I tested the shoulder strap connection by mistake when the bag got hung up in an elevator door while I was carrying an assortment of bike gear, and it easily took the brunt of my 180-pound frame at full force with no tearing of seams or stitching. The security video of that incident at the Evergreen Lodge is probably very worthy of a good old belly laugh session, I would imagine.
There are cleverly placed slots for pens, keys and all of your other accessories including cameras and cords. It’s a very smart looking product that performs better than you would expect – everything fits snug into place but is still easy to access. It’s a big thumbs-up. Rudy also carries a full line of traveling bags and packs. I’ve used the Rudy Project Cycling gear bag for 10 years, and the zippers are all still functioning perfectly, and minus some stink and dirt, still as good as the day I purchased it.
Time for cycling kits
With cycling and triathlon season now getting into full swing, be sure to check out the E-Rudy store online (www.e-rudy.com) where they often have some great deals. Currently, they have a two-for-one offer that is hard to beat. If you are in the market for high-quality cycling or triathlon clothing, Rudy Project offers a full line of product that is both bomber quality and great looking at the same time. I especially like the simple, but stylish offerings in black and white. Rudy even offers a couple of super high-end, Italian-designed and manufactured watches -- it’s time for Rudy Project!