Review: Salice Levante Helmet & Interchangeable 016 Glasses
May 18th, 2017
May 18th, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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If you're an avid Tour de France watcher, you've probably noticed this label already, predominantly as eyewear on the likes of team Lampre Merida, including the former Road Race World Champion, Rui Costa, as well as the Astana Pro Team with the likes of Vincenzo Nibali donning their shades. In the UK we have Bikesoup sponsored Bike Channel Canyon (pictured), with top rider Chris Opie on board, as well as team Starley Primal, and you'll almost certainly find them in roadie-oriented bike shops, particularly if they have an Italian disposition.
New this year is their first aero helmet. Though there are 14 specially designed 'aeration slits' for ventilation, the surface area is predominantly designed for minimal resistance against wind. The big differentiation being a rear LED safety light and a removable/replaceable hypoallergenic mesh bug liner. In the saddle, it is certainly lightweight (250g for 52-58cm and 270g for 56-62cm), but obviously feels a lot warmer than a standard helmet when the British sun pops its head out, but no worse than most aero helmets. The 'mircrometric adjustment system' allows fitting to move up and down, but the clasp does tend to feel like it's closing in on the forehead rather than distributing the grasp all around the head. That being said, it is very comfortable. Though I felt the comfort left a little to be desired in comparison to other aero helmets we've tested in the past, it is an absolute null point when you consider this retails at £86.99, which is around half the price of similar competitors, and still looks just as good.
Also brand new for 2017 are these catchily named '016' glasses. If the huge range of colour combinations and lens combinations doesn't grab you, then the interchangeable frames might tip the scales. On test here are the Salice 016 RW in Green with three scratch-resistent lenses (clear, dark and mirrored), two detachable frame pieces, and a rubber nose piece, plus a protective case and cleaning cloth. So, with a white rim, a green rim and a nose piece, you can effectively get three looks with one lens. The green or white rim simply slides onto the lens itself, as does the nose piece, allowing a full rim or half-rim look. I'll always be a fan of the half-rim, mainly because I have prominent cheek bones (yeah, I should smile less on a bike, I know), but it was nice to accessorise with a little colour now and then. The fit was very good; light, comfortable around the ears and with one of the best shapes I've ever encountered in glasses, being high enough to block the sun and wind in a tucked, drop-down position, while still sitting far enough away from the eyebrows to ventilate and minimise steaming up. Add to the mix that you've effectively got nine looks for the price of £83.00 and you're laughing really. That's a good price for one set without the extras.
This is Italian design at its best really, but how they've managed to stay on a budget, I don't know. Personally, I love the look of their accessories, and while they're not going to compete with the feel of ultra-luxurious accessories, they certainly compete on price by being nearly half the cost. The helmet is affordable and light, and the glasses offer a myriad of changeable lenses and frame designs for a price I'd be happy to pay without the extra gimmicks. All in all, they're a winner. The only problem is choosing your colour combination! Hmmm.... choices choices.