POC has launched the Propel cycling sunglasses, which it claims are “the most aerodynamic cycling sunglasses POC has ever produced”.
According to the Swedish brand, the Propel sunglasses use a wraparound lens and “side fairings” to more smoothly guide airflow over the rider’s shoulders.
Riders on the POC-sponsored WorldTour team, EF Education–EasyPost, wore the Propel sunglasses at this year’s season opener, the 2023 Tour Down Under.
Sunglasses developed by CFD
The Propel sunglasses are designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) testing.
POC says it sculpted a rider’s body, crouched in an “aero hoods” riding position, with its Ventral aero road helmet.
It then tested several models of its own sunglasses, such as the POC Do Blade, Do Half and Aim, with the Propel consistently emerging as more aerodynamically efficient.
However, POC says it has not modeled sunglasses from other popular brands, such as Oakley.
According to POC, using CFD to model the rider’s body was critical to realizing an aerodynamic gain because the improvement is in how the Propel sunglasses help to control airflow over the rider’s body.
This way of improving a rider’s aerodynamics is an engineering trend that we expect to see much more this year.
How many watts do the POC Propel sunglasses save?
When asked to rate the kind of gains a rider could expect from the Propel sunglasses, POC said “we see watt savings, mostly in low single digits when riding at 40 mph .”
The brand said it couldn’t be more accurate because every rider has a different position on the bike and rides at different speeds. Because of this, the exact gain would vary depending on the rider.
As for why it used CFD modeling, as opposed to aerodynamic testing done on a track or wind tunnel, POC said “CFD is more accurate”.
It also said it would have been nearly impossible to achieve the level of detail needed to optimize something as small as a pair of sunglasses just by using wind tunnel or real-world aero testing.
POC nevertheless says it expects the profits found in CFD to translate into the real world.
It said it has been using CFD for many years to design helmets such as the Ventral, Tempor and Cerebel, and the results would be consistent with gains seen in the real world.
POC Propel sunglasses prices, specifications and colors
At £230 / €249 / $250 / AU$360, the POC Propel sunglasses are relatively expensive, even compared to some of the best cycling sunglasses, but there aren’t many that claim to offer an aerodynamic advantage.
The frames are made of bio-grilamid (a plant-based polymer) and are available in six colours.
The sunglasses have a wraparound Clarity lens, which is available in eight different shades, for a wide and unrestricted field of view.
Each sunglasses comes standard with an extra clear lens.