The Italian-made Scicon Aerotech SCNXT sunglasses are packed with customisable fit features and a single photochromatic lens for all riding conditions.
Scicon is perhaps most well-known for its innovative bike bags but after nearly four decades in the business, the Italian company branched out into sunglasses and accessories in 2018. The Aerotech SCNXT sits atop the brand’s range and features a multitude of self-fit options in addition to impressive photochromic lens technology.
Scicon Aerotech SCNXT Sunglasses
Amazing level of customisation and comfort
Photochromatic lenses eliminate swapping before rides
Quality frame and outstanding clarity
Fully featured, accessory-packed offering
For those shopping in the top-end of the market only
Not quite as dark as full-time mirrored lenses
Frame and fenders obscure vision slightly
Frame, Lens and Fit Features
The frames of the Aerotechs are made from Grilamid TR90 Polyamide, chosen by Scicon for its light weight, flexibility, hypoallergenic properties and high resistance to chemicals. That means it’ll still look fresh after sweat-drenched rides and runs.
Like all of Scicon’s sunglasses, the one-piece lens comes courtesy of fellow Italian company Essilor Sun Solution. The NXT technology used by Scicon is designed for lightness, high impact resistance and 100% UV protection. The NXT Varia version found in the Aerotech SCNXT also includes fast-activating photochromic changes with a wide tint range.
The glasses come in three lens height options to suit different faces: 50, 55 and 60mm. We had the 55mm XL version on test. The vented lens can also be easily swapped out and Scicon sells a selection of different tints online, though the photochromic tech here should suit all but the most extreme conditions.
When it comes to fitting options, the Scicon team has gone above and beyond to give as much literal and figurative flexibility as possible. There’s a huge amount of customisation on offer, so finding a perfect fit should be easy for the vast majority of athletes.
Flexi Fit temples utilise small, swappable Clip Switch thermoplastic inserts to reduce or increase flexibility at the midpoint of the arms. The tips of the arms are also adjustable to help create a secure fit.
The nose bridge features a double-click system, accommodating a wider or narrower setup. This fit adjustability is furthered by three sets of nose pads: small pads for a large nose, medium pads for a small nose and a bridge pad, which Scicon has designed for an Asian fit.
Finally, there are the lens fenders, which are made of thermoplastic elastomer and they’re shaped to perfectly fit on the bottom edge of the lens.
With the fenders installed, protection in enhanced in case of impact. Or you can choose to ride without them for a slightly larger field of vision. Scicon also has several aftermarket colour options available, so you can customise your look.
Unboxing and Looks
Right from slipping off the outer sleeve, it’s clear the Italian brand has applied its obsessional attention to detail to the whole package.
Inside the handsome hardcase you’ll find additional fenders, nose pieces and Clip Switch inserts as well as a soft pouch with separate lens sleeve, a mini-tool/keyring, a second soft pouch for the accessories and even a small spray bottle of lens cleaner.
Clearly designed to make you feel the Aerotechs are something special, it’s an expansive and neatly packed offering that’ll give a buzz to even the most brand-weary eyewear collector.
To our eyes, the Scicon Aerotechs have a muscular somewhere between the Oakley Radar and Jawbreaker, taking the best of both but with a cleaner aesthetic overall.
The glasses still look great without the fenders too. It’s almost like getting two pairs of sunglasses in one package. Plus the fact that these, along with the Clip Switch inserts, and even the arms’ metal logo plate, can be customised to your style only adds to the appeal.
Out on the roads, the lens offers a wide field of vision without obscuring the periphery. And as you’d expect from a pair of sunglasses at this price point, the clarity is outstanding. Somehow details within deep shadow remains visible while bright light is cut right down.
Even when heading into areas of mixed sun and shade there’s no eye-watering strobing. Once back out into full sunlight, the photochromatic changes are virtually imperceptible though riding partners assured assured us the silvery-blue tint was darkening at speed.
It was only when heading directly towards bright sunlight that we would’ve liked the Aerotechs to get as dark as a pair of full-time tinted sunglasses but for the majority of the conditions they blocked just the right amount of light. Plus, because you know you’re covered for whatever the weather throws at you, there’s no faffing before a ride trying to work out what lens to use.
The fenders are on the bottom of the lens are quite noticeable while wearing the glasses and when in an aero tuck, the top of the frame is visible too. However, the lens’s ample overall height means there are no issues looking at what’s coming up ahead. You’ve also got the option of removing the fenders completely, which does open the bottom of the view up nicely.
As the Aerotechs are fairly wide and tall, the coverage is great with no sunlight streaking in around the edges. The coverage is also particularly impressive while descending, with the eyes protected so that no tears are wrested from them by the barrage of wind no matter the speed.
Whether it’s the venting along the top and bottom of the lens or shaping of the lens itself, we didn’t experience any fogging at all during testing. Even when wearing them for super sweaty hill repeat workouts with pauses at the top or long, hot run-walk sessions, the Scicon’s weren’t phased by extra body heat.
When it comes to longer rides or Ironman competition, comfort is everything. After hours on the bike, pressure from an overtight frame or constant slipping down the bridge of the nose can go from an irritation to a literal headache or nagging mental drain, limiting performance.
Thanks to all of Scicon’s customisation options, there’s no worry of that with the Aerotechs. We didn’t need to change the out-the-box arrangement of the Clip Switch inserts to find a good fit but being able to precisely tweak the tips of the arms meant a close grip with no unwanted pressure.
The same is true of the nose pieces – after settling on the comfiest nosepads there was no additional adjustment needed. In fact, once setup, the glasses just stayed in place perfectly ride after ride.
Things are just as positive when running. The Aerotechs just stay put with no bouncing or slipping even when thundering down steep hills. It’s a remarkable testament to the huge amount of fit adjustability tech the Scicon team has squeezed into the glasses.
The Scicon Aerotech SCNXT’s £219 price tag won’t do anything to change the minds of those who consider all sports sunglasses to be overpriced bits of plastic. But with this level of attention to detail, Scicon is clearly targeting the top-end of the market and looking to outdo Oakley when it comes to adjustability and customisation in the process.
Yes, it’s a lot of money, but the quality shines through in every aspect of the glasses’ design right from the packaging to their feel in your hands and your face performance when on your face.
If you’re looking for a high-end pair of cycling or running glasses that perform superbly in a wide array of conditions and have outstanding fit flexibility and customisation for both cycling and running, the Scicon Aerotech SCNXT should certainly be on your shortlist.
This product was sent to Triathlon Vibe for testing and review.