MELON ALLEYCAT S SUNGLASSES REVIEW
Words by Caitlin Wilkinson | Photos by Michael Walker
I had always found it difficult to find a pair of glasses which fitted my face, with most of them dwarfing my face and producing compatibility issues with my helmets. Behold, The Melon Alleycat S! Based on their standard Alleycat glasses, but smaller in size and available in some girly color options too, the Alleycat S promised to be ideal for teenagers and smaller riders like myself. They proved to be just the ticket, so let me talk you through my time with them.
The Melon Alleycat S glasses take all of the performance and style features of the standard Alleycat but shrink the size down by 15% to better suit riders with a smaller head. The resulting dimensions are 130.3mm wide and 55mm high. Melon offers customization at the point of purchase, where the customer can select between a wide variety of Zeiss Performance lenses or a Photochromic (light changing) option. A low-light lens can be added at the point of purchase for $25/£20. These lenses can be easily swapped to tailor the glasses to the conditions, with UV400 protection to keep your eyes safe from harmful sun rays. They feature a Ripel coating to keep your vision clear from dirt, dust and sweat; and a Smart Venting system to promote airflow to reduce fogging.
The Alleycat S glasses use their Hyperflex TR90 frame – a highly flexible and strong plastic that should withstand the rigors of mountain biking or being sat on. There are rubberized portions on the arms, and a rubber nose piece to offer comfort and keep them in place. The Melon Alleycat S are made in Italy, come in a hard carry case with a microfiber soft bag, and retail for $150/£120.
I had chosen the limited-edition purple/black splatter fade body, smoke trail lens and featured a turquoise melon logo and nose piece. I was given a low light lens to test out too – useful for the dense Scottish woods. The Alleycat S glasses came in rather lustrous packaging, and it was really pleasing to unbox. They were packed up in their carry case, and inside they had a fabric bag where the glasses were and extra slots within their carry case for spare lenses.
When I tried them on, they fitted my face perfectly. They didn’t look too big for my face, nor did they look like they were too small either. Finally having glasses which were proportionate on my face made me feel 10x better! The Alleycat S were comfortable to ride with all day, avoiding digging into my temples like some can. The glasses prevented my eyes from watering, and effectively protected my eyes from mud on sodden days and from dust on the rare dry days, too.
The low light lens was my daily go-to over the tail end of the Scottish winter, and I found that even on brighter days I could wear them. They made a darker day feel much brighter, and made me happier too. The smoke lens was fantastic in most weather conditions, but really shone their way through the trails in sunnier weather. The only time I’ve really needed to take them off my face was when I was riding at sunset and got into a dense part of a trail. They didn’t perform very well riding in low setting sun, with a tendency to flare up when the sun was hitting them from the side, but this tends to be the case for most.
When I was changing the lenses, I was terrified I’d break them at first and I got my partner to pull them apart to start with, but I ended up trying it myself and they were really easy – the flexible plastic is very strong, so don’t be scared to flex it enough to pop out the lens. Just a side note to make sure that they are on properly, as I found that if I didn’t clip the lens in right at some points, my vision would be distorted.
I took the Melon Alleycat S glasses out whilst on my gravel bike, and even drove my van whilst wearing them when I left my sunglasses behind, and they proved to be perfect for it all. These Melon glasses with the Zeiss lenses offered up some of the best optics out there, with clarity that was second to none.
I had loads of positive comments on these glasses! Other riders with smaller faces tried them on and shared my sentiments about the comfort and fit. It’s great to see the girly color options, but I wish there was more blue options on the color charts just like in the full-size option, as I personally dislike pink. It’d also be great if the price would drop a touch, but as they are you do get what you pay for.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Melon Alleycat S glasses have been a very welcome item to test, offering me the fit for my smaller face that I’ve been looking for and some excellent looks and optics to match. For riders with smaller faces it’s easy to recommend these specs!
Price: $150 / £120