Alba Optics Delta review£150.00

Retro-inspired race shades

BikeRadar score4/5

The first offering from new Italian glasses manufacturer Alba Optics, the Delta, looks like it could have come straight out of the 1980s. The design is reminiscent of Oakley’s legendary Razorblades (which the brand brought back as a limited edition a few seasons ago). 

The styling may be retro, but the materials used are bang up to date, with TR90 (a carbon-nylon blend) in the frames, just like Rudy Project and Tifosi, and an optically corrected full-wrap lens, so you won’t get any distortion. 

Add in UV400 protection to meet EU, US and Australian safety and protection standards, and these are about as cutting edge as it gets.

Retro styling is a bit of thing (just look at Peter Sagan’s 100% Speedtrap shades) but, fashion aside, there are performance benefits too. The lens offers deep frame-free vision and a tight close wrap, which makes these impervious to the wind. 

The massive 58mm-deep lens is best suited to larger faces and we are mightily impressed by the clarity they provide.

The unique double-kinked arms curve around the top of your ear and drop 50mm down. This gives a limpet-like grip, and the screwed tensioned hinges help, so they don’t move around on your face even when you're bouncing over rocky terrain on off-road excursions. That means you won’t have any issues on the road either. 

The lens offers deep frame-free vision and a tight close wrap, which makes these impervious to the wind  

The close fit could mean you experience some problems with fogging, but this never became an issue for me, with the substantial lens staying clean and clear throughout testing.

The downside of the curvy arms is that they’re harder to store in helmet vents when you don’t want to wear them. I resorted to tucking them into the collar on the back of my shirt. 

They come with a soft cleaning bag and — for that truly authentic 80s on-the-piste look — a clip-in lanyard. This, when combined with the acid green/yellow fade of the GL RV Beetle colourway, makes things just a bit too retro. Thankfully, the Deltas come in a choice of eight different frame colours and 11 lens options.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Warren Rossiter

Senior Technical Editor
Approaching two decades of testing bikes, Warren can be found on a daily basis riding and exploring the road and off roads of Wiltshire's Salisbury Plain in the UK. That's when he's not travelling the world to test the latest kit, components and bikes.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 188cm / 6'2''
  • Weight: 92kg / 203lb
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 112cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Big, fast descents and rough surfaces like cobbles or strada bianca
  • Current Bikes: Decade Tripster ATR, Dedacciai Temarario, Cannondale Synapse, BMC Granfondo Disc Di2, Genesis Day One CX, Parlee Z Zero Custom, Storck Scenario Comp Custom, DMR Trailstar, Bianchi Pista, Cube SUV 29er e-bike
  • Dream Bike: Bianchi Oltre Disc, Bianchi Specialissima, Cannondale Slate, Buffalo Bike
  • Beer of Choice: Brew Dog Punk IPA
  • Location: Wiltshire, UK

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