News & Reviews
- Jun 26, 2009
Ever wonder just what you might look like in the shades that riders like Aaron Gwin and Brandon Semenuk wear on the podium? If so, stop doing it. These shades are just as much for the layman as for the superman, read on to find out why.
Words and Photos by David Peacock
Smith Gibson – $119 USD
I have long searched for a pair of sunglasses to call my own. A pair that, when worn properly, felt like they truly belonged to me and on me. Sure, I’ve seen a bevy of pros from Brandon Semenuk to Travis Pastrana rocking the Smith Gibson, but when I slip on my Green Wood shades and imagine a simpler time, I feel complete.
Too dramatic for your taste? Mine too. It seems like every company has their own strategy to produce an image undeniable to the average human. “Look like so-and-so”, “Ride like …” It’s too much for simple souls. We work, we pay taxes, and for many of us, the remainder is spent on whatever repairs our financed bike needs. Frankly, I often catch myself falling into idolizing certain looks or items, lusting after things that are unnecessary. Smith launched the Gibson model last year to the delight of many people such as myself. While these shades offer the look and feel of something classy that deserves to be coupled with a classic sports car and a glass of scotch, they felt equally at home on the dash of a truck. They’re part badass and part Ron Burgundy.
Functionally speaking, the Gibsons are top-notch. They feature polarized lenses that eliminate glare, and are wide enough to prevent those pesky evening rays from filtering in through the sides. Instead of having that popular boxy look, they bring Aviator curves to a heftier, more rugged frame. One awesome notable feature was their durability. They’re very light for a medium size pair of shades, but they don’t compromise strength. It’s apparent that Smith has adopted a “bend don’t break” philosophy on the Gibson. It inspired enough confidence that for days in the bike park or long shuttle laps I would toss them in my pocket in the soft case included when you purchase a pair. If you’re still nervous about taking your sick looking sunnies out for a day of riding, Smith’s legendary customer service is a huge push in the right direction. While the lifetime warranty only cover manufacturer defects, they’ve been known to provide sweet deals on replacements in the event of an accident. One subtle feature of the Gibson that was much appreciated was that when folded the arms don’t touch the lenses. This prevents scratches on the inside of the lens when they’re closed up and not in use. Lastly, their low profile made them fit nicely when being worn, and avoided problems when shoving them in bags on road trips where space is at a premium.
My only qualm with the Gibsons was that the wing screws loosened slightly over time. When I first got them the arms were tight and folded in a snappy fashion, and after a few weeks the screws had loosened. It’s easily fixed by tightening the screw, but just something to bear in mind. All in all, the shades boosted my badass meter a solid ten percent and lessened my shame at being unable to grow an appropriately bushy moustache…one day, facial hair…one day. Until then, I’ll rock my Gibsons in the liftline, at the lake, and any time I’m about to take a sip of the Glenlivet.
To view the full selection of colors and lens options go here. Does anyone else feel the same way about your favorite pair of sun squashers?