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The Hindsight Edge Sport Glasses are designed to help you see what's going on behind – a door mirror for your eyes, if you like. They can work well, if the planets are aligned and the wind is blowing in the right direction... but to nail the perfect position for the mirrored sections you'll end up looking behind you more than you are looking forward. They aren't cheap either.
Over the years I've seen plenty of cycling rear view mirrors come and go, and unfortunately, I think this is exactly where the Hindsights are heading. Like flashing indicators, they are kind of a solution looking for a problem.
This makes it sound like I've come into this review already having made my mind up, but I haven't. I love innovation, and if the Hindsights had made my daily rides more enjoyable, or easier, I'd have been overjoyed.
So, to the basics.
What we have here is a pair of lenses with the main part being flat for looking forward, the outer edge angled. The reflectivity of this angled section allows you to see what's behind.
The thing is, the angled sections are so small (even though the glasses are still quite wide) and relatively close to your face that lining up the road behind you isn't always an easy procedure.
Hindsight recommends that you spend some time adapting to the glasses and that's definitely a good idea. It took me about an hour to deal with the extra information, but even after about 30 hours of riding I'd say they provide more distractions than necessary, the reasons why I'll explain in a minute.
I use the mirrors in my car a lot. As they're a fair distance away from me I can just flick my eyes from the offside, to the rear-view, to the nearside without moving my head, and I suppose that is what I wanted from the Hindsights – just to be able to glance to see behind me.
On a road bike, though, all I saw was a lot of my own shoulders. You have to look to the side with your eyes and turn your head a touch to get a clear view. Sometimes it's easy – if you're travelling around a long sweeping right-hander or you are on a dead straight wide road – but with so many variables going on with elevation, corners and needing to look ahead for the usual hazards, the Hindsights create more work than you have without them.
A more upright position does work better, on a hybrid bike, say, but only because your shoulders aren't in the way.
If everything works and you hit the sweetspot they are great – you can get a really good image of any traffic behind – but those moments are few and far between.
I spent seven years commuting 10,000 miles a year on major A-roads, and with good road positioning I'm used to dealing with and controlling fast-flowing traffic behind, especially when needing to negotiate multi-lane roundabouts or busy urban junctions. I'm still using the same roads for a lot of test rides, and I was hoping the Hindsights would give me an edge at those intersections, but compared with a quick lifesaver over the shoulder they are a lot more faff.
Also, I don't really agree with why the Hindsights were designed, according to the website: 'Knowing what was coming from behind – whether that's an inexperienced driver, an aggressively driving taxi, or a large bus which requires more space – would allow him (the designer) to act with more information and make him feel significantly safer while on the roads.'
By the time you've focused in on what is occurring behind you with these glasses, you aren't going to have the time to react to anything unless you have the eye discipline of an Apache helicopter pilot, and as I said above, good road positioning deals with a lot of these situations before they can become a problem.
Also, Hindsight says that the 'True-Mirror' effect means objects (we'll go with traffic) are exactly as far as they look. I ain't buying that!
When looking forward you can still see the 'mirrors' but it is a very narrow view. You won't see any vehicle until it starts to pass, and believe me, you can miss an entire artic until it's there in your peripheral vision and looking a hell of a lot closer in the angled section of the glasses than it is in reality.
It's the same with cars following you. All you can see in the glasses is the driver side of the windscreen and part of the bonnet, which makes them feel very close, but a glance over your shoulder shows that they are a good car length behind.
Also (bear with, I'm still going), the lenses sit so far away from your face that on sunny days there is so much reflection, even on the straight piece of the lenses. On rides like these, the majority of my view was my jersey and cheekbones.
As I said earlier in the review, a lot of unnecessary distractions.
Right, on to the good points.
The lenses offer excellent clarity; they're very clear indeed, and while they look heavily tinted, they aren't just limited to bright days.
Also, while the frame feels a little on the fragile side, the material is very robust, and flexible too. I've dropped them, and ridden over them, and all the glasses do is bounce back.
When it comes to value it's a bit difficult to judge, as there aren't really any other products out there similar to the Hindsight.
Even at the current reduced price of £139.99 (£199.99 rrp) they are still pricey for a pair of glasses that don't really excel at being glasses. They sit too far off your face to stop the wind blowing around behind, bringing in dust and pollen.
Overall, I like the concept, but there are just too many flaws to justify even the reduced asking price. I'll stick to the quick glance over my shoulder.
A good concept, but a long way off being a viable alternative to a good old shoulder check
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hindsight Edge Sport Glasses
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Hindsight says, "The concept for HindSight came from Alex having one close pass and near miss too many with traffic in London – a situation any cyclist will have experienced, with the wing mirror nearly clipping your elbow. Struggling to maintain control of the bike between busy traffic on one side and parked cars on the other, watching that wing mirror fading into the distance, triggered a thought – Alex realised that knowing what was coming behind would allow him, as a cyclist, to make smarter decisions, and act before drivers get too close.
Knowing what was coming from behind – whether that's an inexperienced driver, an aggressively driving taxi, or a large bus which requires more space – would allow him to act with more information and make him feel significantly safer while on the roads. After this one close pass in particular, Alex looked into options available to cyclists only to find nothing suited to his cycling lifestyle – everything was an unsightly bolt-on or an awkward mount, none of which seemed to solve the problem in a satisfying way.
That night, HindSight was born; an elegant solution, providing rear vision without sacrificing forward sight."
There is some good thinking and design here, but they miss the mark in a lot of ways.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ultra-lightweight, high grade sports plastics
Allow athletes and urban cyclists alike to know more about their surroundings
Unique new patented lens technology from an award-winning optical engineer
Ideal transparency levels to ensure no impingement of forward vision or blind spot creation
Internal mirror to allow unparalleled situational awareness
True-Mirror, meaning objects are exactly as far as they look
Know the road like never before
Preserve aerodynamic form for longer, perform better
No setup, no fiddling, no maintenance, good to go straight out of the box
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
At times the glasses can be very impressive, but there are so many variables that finding the right position can become a bit of a chore.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
High quality lenses when looking forward.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They are expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? At times they were helpful, but more faff than a quick shoulder check.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? It depends on their reason for wanting mirrors.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Hindsight glasses are, I think, quite a good idea. I like the concept but I think there is much work to be done to make them easier to use, especially to justify the cost over a shoulder check. On the plus side, they are very well made and will stand up to a lot of abuse.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!