Review: Rudy Project Hypermask + Spinhawk
article & images by Nick Salazar
Mar 12, 2014
Today we're taking a look at a couple of really nice sunglasses from Rudy Project. One is a sport-specific set, the Hypermask, and the other is a casual frame called the Spinhawk. Both feature the same color scheme: a Frozen Ash frame with Multilaser Red lenses. And they do look very similar, but the differences in appearance (other than the obvious differences in design) owe to the thickness of the frame members, as well as the size and shape of the lenses. I chose to review two pairs with identical frame and lens color specs, because I wanted to see how that would translate across different classes of shades. We'll start with the sport pair.
First off, I have to mention that I'm reviewing a set of sunglasses that's destined to be discontinued. But they are truly awesome, and what's even more awesome is that Rudy Project currently has the Hypermask on deep discount, clearing out the stock before they start pushing the Hypermask Pro. The Hypermask Pro is nearly identical to the present pair, except for a plastic piece sitting on the top rim that I don't really care for. That piece is meant to help regulate sweat and fog, but I much prefer the unfettered visibility from an uninterrupted rimless lens. That's the same thing I mentioned when reviewing Smith's Pivlock V90 and Pivlock V2.
Compared to those shades, the Rudy Project Hypermask has both advantages and disadvantages. On the up side, I'd suggest that the optics are slightly clearer (although that's a matter of perception, and I don't have any quantitative data to back that up), and if you prefer a continuously-adjustable nose bridge over a fixed or multi-position fixed nose bridge, then Rudy is for you. Their nose bridge uses a sort of "butterfly" type mechanism on wires that can be moved in any direction, continuously. The Smiths, on the other hand, are either fixed (V90), or have a 3-position fixed bridge (V2). Personally, I prefer a single-position fixed, and so I give the slight nod to Smith on this one. But there are lots and lots of opinions on this matter, and none are wrong – it's a matter of personal preference. Some people love Rudy shades because you can make them to sit further away from your face when desired – really nice for cold, overcast climbs when lens fogging can become an issue.
One thing the Rudy's don't include is any spare lens. The Smith shades come with two spare lenses, in different shades (for three lenses total). I'm not totally clear on whether the Rudy shades are even interchangeable (the website claims they are, but I haven't been able to get any more info from Rudy on that topic). Regardless, the single lens is excellent, and the sunglasses are, on the whole, fantastic.
Next up, let's take a look at the casual shades, the Spinhawk.
I've been wearing the Spinhawk since I first nabbed them at Interbike 2013. This set is a different colorway, but has the exact same frame design. This is a set of shades whose pedigree owes to shades like the Oakley Frogskin/Holbrook, or the Ray Ban Wayfarer. Its styling is modern, its lines slick, and it works really well on big heads like mine.
Interestingly, the Multilaser Red lenses on the Spinhawk show up in the photos with more yellow hues than their Hypermask counterparts, though both versions also exhibit a lot of deep blue and purple tones in person. Regardless of what colors show up, I have to admit I'm a sucker for the wild shades, and the fact that they change depending on your angle of view. If you like the more extreme-looking sunglasses, these lenses won't disappoint. Otherwise, Rudy has a lot of more traditional, toned-down tints for those of you who don't want to get quite so zany.
As mentioned above, Rudy Project's optics are excellent, and their lenses won't disappoint. I never bother with polarized lenses, although a lot of people swear by them. Nevertheless, I've been entirely satisfied with my Spinhawks, and have no trouble recommending them wholeheartedly.
You can buy both of these pairs of shades direct from Rudy.