Review – Smith Optics Pivlock V2 Max

by Brian Mullin on December 17, 2014

The Smith Optics PivLock V2 Max is a great pair of sunglasses, and the frameless design has superb peripheral visibility and a panoramic field of view, and lens offer excellent optical clarity. The PivLock V2 Max is comfortable, durable and lightweight, and utilizes tough Carbonic lenses. The PivLock name comes from their interchangeable lens release mechanism in which the arms easily pivot upwards and detach from the lens.

Features

The PivLock temple arms are constructed with the Evolve frame material and utilize Hydrophilic Megol nose and temple pads. The nose pads have a three-position adjustability, and the temple tips can be slid off. The one-piece Carbonic lenses offer enhanced impact resistance and are injection molded with TLT for optical precision and a high level of protection. The TLT or Tapered Lens Technology means that the thickness of the lens tapers from the center towards the edges, providing decreased refraction and distortion. The lenses have a hydroleophobic coating to decrease fogging, and repel moisture, grease, and grime.

The PivLock comes in a multitude of frame colors and lens options and includes three interchangeable lenses in a padded carrying case. The normal PivLock V2 Max retails for $159 while the upgraded NXT Photochromic lens model is $239, and replacement lenses cost $40. Most versions come with three lens colors, the Super Platinum (light-gray) with a 15% VLT (visual light transmission), the Ignitor (rose) with a 35% VLT and the Clear with a VLT of 92%.

PivLock System

The systems consist of the two temple arms with inward facing lug keys and lenses which have two keyholes, and finally a detachable nosepiece. The system works by rotating the arm upwards about 45┬░ from its locked position and then extracting the lug key from the lens hole. The nosepiece pops off by gentle pushing inward on its retainer. Swap out the lens and reverse the process to complete everything. The PivLock system is easy, quick, and secure. I do worry about the durability of the lug key and the side lock down portions of the temple arms, but so far I haven’t experienced any problems.

Impressions

The Ignitor tint offered good contrast, sharpness, reduced glare and increased depth perception, which was beneficial in technical terrain, and when you rolled directly into the sun. In extremely bright light and late dusk, they were outside of their comfort zone, though it was easy to swap out to Clear for low-light conditions. The Super Platinum were nice when I was fully out in the sunshine during the middle of the day, but I tend to ride in the woods and later in the evening, so I preferred the Ignitor.

The lens coating properties and how their shape bows out away from the face helped alleviate fogging, but in cold, wet and humid conditions it didn’t always work properly. The lens has a high degree of clarity, and the shape and frameless design offered a superb panoramic field of view, without any edges or obstructions. On occasion, I did find the etched Smith logo in the upper left corner to be annoying. The lens was wide and tall, so they provided good wind blockage and sun protection.

The spaciousness and bendability of the lens, along with the temples flexibility and padding, and the comfortable nosepiece made the sunglasses disappear on your face. The temple arms are flexible and conform easily to the side of one’s head, and the nosepiece has three indexed positions for great fitting adjustment. The arms were pretty long, so on some helmets you might have an interference issue with the helmets back retention system. They fit snugly and had sticky temple pads, so even when thrashing and bashing through the most extreme conditions and terrain, they stayed firmly planted.

Weights:

  • Lens, arms, nosepiece – 27 grams
  • Lens – 16 grams

Bottom Line

The Smith Optics PivLock V2 Max is a great pair of sunglasses, which is comfortable, lightweight and stays put, and the frameless design provides an incredible panoramic view. The Carbonic lenses have exceptional clarity, and I especially enjoyed the Ignitor tint, which offers excellent contrast, sharpness, reduces glare and increases depth perception. The synergy of the comfort, flexible lens, and temples, and frameless and spaciousness of the design meant I forget that I was wearing them. The PivLock changing system made for easy and quick lens swap outs, though I question the long term durability of the arms.

The┬áSmith Optics PivLock V2 Max isn’t cheap, but their PivLock system, extreme comfort, and frameless design make for an exceptional pair of sunglasses.

Strengths

  • PivLock system – easy and quick lens changes
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Superb Clarity
  • Panoramic view
  • Frameless design

Weaknesses

  • Questionable durability of the PivLock arms and nosepiece
  • Long arms might interfere with helmet retention system
  • Occasional fogging issues
  • Expensive

MSRP: $159 and NXT Photochromic $239

For further information visit smithoptics.com

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