Julbo Motion Review

by Brian Mullin on June 14, 2009


Julbo Motion w/ unique ear loops

UPDATE: I Just found out that Julbo has currently discontinued this model, it is unknown if the model will later return into their sunglasses line?

I have been wearing and testing the new Julbo Motion sunglasses for a couple of months while mountain biking in all sorts of terrain and weather conditions. They have been in rain, snow, dense fog, and bright sunshine while on terrain varying from smooth singletrack to rough and tumble rock gardens. They offer incredible clarity, comfort and a panoramic field of vision.

Julbo History
Julbo was founded in 1888 by Jules Baud in a little town close to Morez France, which resides in the Jura Mountains . The company has 70 employees, and is wholly owned by the Baud family, and is currently run by the brothers Christophe and Matthew. They originally started out making optical (corrective) lenses, but they evolved into sunglasses and action sports wear. In 1950 Julbo was the first company to produce true mountaineering glasses (the Vermont Round), so they have a rich history in high altitude optics.

Julbo Motion
The Julbo Motions are quite a departure from normal sunglasses, they are really a category unto themselves. Instead of the normal temples (arms) that go over your ears, they use an elastic ear loop that goes around the back of your ears to hold the sunglasses in place.


Ear Loops

The sunglasses are then supported on your nose with a bridge that pushes directly towards your face instead of the more typical set of pads that cradles itself on the top of the nose. The ear loops are connected to the glasses with short metal arms that swivel easily, and this allows the glasses to move, and conform to your face. The nose bridge keeps the lens away from your face, so they vent well, but not so much that your eyes water.

Unique Nose Bridge

The ear loops do need to be the right length to stop them from slipping down the nose or pulling to one side, meaning that they need to fit somewhat snugly to pull the lens and nose piece against your face. I was fortunate at first, and they fit me perfect, but over time the elastic stretched, and I needed to tighten them.

The elastic is bound into two small plastic holders on either end, which are then held onto the metal arms with small eyeglass screws. There are two positions on the upper portion of the metal arms and one on the lower, so it does allow you an easier method for some adjustment without altering the physical length of the elastic.

Loops – showing screws and plastic holders

To alter the length of the ear loops:
1) loosen the upper small screw (use an eyeglass screwdriver).
2) pull the elastic knot out of the plastic holder.
3) tie a tight knot at the length you want.
4) cut off the excess.
5) push the new knot back into the slot of the plastic holder, no excess should stick out.
6) screw the plastic holder into the more forward of the two upper positions.
7) repeat 1-6 on the other arm.
8) if either side is too tight, move the plastic holder to the rearward position.

It is a pain to do the alteration since the screws are tiny, and it can be difficult to get the screw to mesh into the plastic holders. I did have a report that the plastic holders (screw lugs?) can be damaged when tightening them down snugly. I did it several times and outside of the difficulties I mentioned, I had no issues. The elastic can only be shortened so there is no going back after cutting them! I would suggest that Julbo offers an extra set of the elastic, holders and screws, and in addition adds another adjustment hole. Spare elastic can most likely be obtained at a fabric store.

Julbo Motion Measured Specs:
Weight: 20 grams (.7 ounces)
Lens size: 138mm x 46mm (5 7/16 x 1 13/16 inches)
Arm Length: 71mm (2 3/4 inches)
Adjustment distance between upper holes on arm: 6 mm (1/4 inch)
Nose Piece size: 19 mm wide x 9mm tall x 5 mm thick (3/4 x 3/8 x 3/16 inches)

Sun/Sunlight 101
Our Sun, is a yellow dwarf, and specifically a G2V star, which means it’s a spectral type G2 (based on color and surface temp) and luminosity class V (based on surface area).

Surface temp: 5800 ºK or 9980 ºF
Core temp: 15.6 million ºK or 28.1 million ºF
Mass: 4.38 x 10^30 lbs.
Diameter: 864,000 miles
Age: 4.57 billion years
Composition: 74% Hydrogen/24% Helium/2% other
Color: White (appears yellow due to refraction)

The Sun generates its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium, with a net output of 383 yottawatts (10^24). The Sun lays approximately 93 mullion miles from us, and its light travels that distance in 8 minutes and 19 seconds, which is about my average speed while mountain biking. Sunlight is the total spectrum of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun, and its wavelengths vary from 100 nanometers to 1 millimeter, and are divided into five regions:

Ultraviolet C or UVC: spans 100 to 280 nm
Greatly absorbed by the atmosphere, it has germicidal properties, and is more powerful than UVA and UVB, but they can be fatal to an organism.

Ultraviolet B or UVB: spans 280 to 315 nm
Mostly absorbed by the atmosphere, overexposure can cause sunburn and some forms of skin cancer, and they cause irritation to the cornea.

Ultraviolet A or UVA: spans 315 to 400 nm
Less damaging to the DNA, but are responsible for premature aging of the eye.

Visible light: spans 400 to 700 nm.
It is this range that is visible to the naked eye, and it represents 45% of Sunlight.
Bright and intense light, can lead to fatigue, temporary reduction of sight, and eye pain over prolonged exposure, and even with brief exposure the retina may be damaged and suffer vision impairment.

Infrared light: spans 700 nm to 1 mm
It is largely responsible for the warmth or heat that the sunlight carries, and it represents 48% of Sunlight. They heat the tissues, dry out tears reducing their protective qualities and can cause eye disorders.

Human Eyes 101
The human eye is a significant human sense organ. It allows humans conscious light perception, vision, which includes color differentiation and the perception of depth. The human eye has a 200° viewing angle and can see 10 million colors.

Eye Parts
Cornea: transparent protective envelope, 300 times more sensitive to sunlight than the skin.
Iris: colored membrane surrounding the pupil, determines eye color.
Pupil: central part of the eye varying according to brightness.
Crystalline lens: a transparent positive lens which adapts itself to object distance, reflects light.
Vitreous body: gelatinous liquid located between the crystalline lens and the retina.
Retina: a plate which is hypersensitive to light, transmits information to the optic nerve and to the brain.
Optic nerve: it transforms the images perceived by the retina into nerve impulses.

Zebra Photochromic Lens
The Motions use Julbos Zebra photochromic lens made from the unbreakable, light and very transparent NXT material. They quickly darken with a light brownish tint or lighten with an amber tint depending on light intensity, and have an anti-fog coating that has been laser etched into them. Per Julbo fodder “adapts to varying light conditions from Category 2 (59-percent visible light coverage) in low light conditions to Category 4 (95-percent visible light coverage) in powerful light in as little as 30 seconds”.

NXT Lens
The NXT polymer technology was born of the successful efforts to develop advanced transparent armor for U.S. Army helicopters. Commercial applications for the new transparent polymer material led to the production of lenses and shields for sunglasses and sport eye wear.

The NXT lens is manufactured by pouring resin into low-temperature glass molds. This reduces the tension in the material and gives better optical quality, excellent transparency and improved long-term stability.

The NXT lens meets the ANSI Z87.1 standard for industrial application impacts, meaning it must withstand a pointed 17.6 ounce projectile dropped from a height of 50 inches, and 1/4 inch steel ball traveling at 150 ft/sec! I did not test either compliance, but I am glad it can take a wallop.

Julbo lenses offer 100% protection against UVs: UVAs, UVBs, and UVCs.

The ear loops work nicely, just a simple tuck of the loop behind the ear and the sunglasses stay put no matter how bumpy the terrain is. The ear loop is still up in the air for me, and needs some more long term testing, since on some rare occasions the back of my ear lobe was sore from the elastic loop slightly rubbing it. The nose bridge works great, and I honestly would not have thought it would work, but it works very synergistically with the ear loops and keeps everything in place. It would be nice if the nose piece was made of just a tad softer and more rubbery material, since it can dig in if the ear loops are tight.

The photochromic works great in changing light, and the tint has been especially nice on the cloudy and foggy days. Sometimes buzzing in and out of trees in the bright afternoon sunlight the lens did not change fast enough for those conditions, but it is a very minor issue. If I was doing a lot of desert riding, or was going to be constantly out in bright sunlight, I might prefer a somewhat darker lens. I usually ride in places in which I am going in and out of the shade, into wooded areas, and I also ride a lot in the late afternoon, so I appreciated the photochromic lens. I had the Motions out on some very damp and drizzly days, and they had a minute amount of fogging, most anything else would have fogged over, so the anti-fog coating works amazingly well.

The lens has a high degree of clarity, and the shape offers a nice panoramic field of view. The Motions are very light weight, and sit so comfortably on your face that you forgot that you are wearing any sunglasses. On occasion I noticed the metal arms of the ear loops in my field of vision, but then I forgot that they were there. I had to really look for the clear rubber nose piece, and it was only the small black plate that holds the nose piece to the lens that would stand out. It is a bit weird when you need to scratch your eye; such as when they water; since they get in the way and are not easy to move due to the elastic ear loops holding them tightly in place. You do need to be careful if you ever lay them down since they don’t have arms to hold them up, so I usually just don’t take them off, or I hang the loop on my handlebars for safety. It is also a chore to clean them since you don’t have arms or a frame to hold onto while cleaning them.

Bottom Line
I really like the Julbo Motions, they are comfortable, stay put, are lightweight, have exceptional clarity, offer a great panoramic view and the photochromic are nice in varying conditions. The photochromic and anti-fog are 2 fantastic highlights of the lens. The ear loops and the nose bridge are unique and innovative, and only time will tell how they will keep functioning. I sometimes forget that I am wearing them, which is a sure sign of a great pair of sunglasses (or any apparel product). Outside of the difficulty of altering the length of the elastic ear loop, all the other issues were very minor quibbles.

-Anti-Fog coating
-Panoramic view
-Forget you are wearing sunglasses

-Elastic loops may cause ear irritation
-Nose piece may cause irritation
-Elastic loops are difficult to adjust

Value Rating: 3.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

MSRP: $120.00

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I've tried to order these from 2 different stores this week and both say they are no longer available from the manufacturer. Where did you get them?


Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet July 1, 2009 at 10:37 pm

UPDATE: I Just found out that Julbo has currently discontinued this model, it is unknown if the model will later return into their sunglasses line?


Mendel Potok December 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm

you can find them at recreation outlet stores, they have plenty of ones with minor cosmetic flaws for pretty cheap.


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