Smith Optics Pivlock Overdrive Review

The Pros: Sleek, subdued styling; Extremely easy lens changes; Stellar clarity

The Cons: A touch pricy, but your dollar doesn’t go unrewarded.

The Verdict: For those not into the overstated styling of the Smith Pivlock, the Pivlock Overdrive provides a fantastic alternative that offers the same stellar Smith TLT lenses while still sporting a super-nifty lens changing system.

While commanding nearly two C-notes, the Pivlock Overdrive is a stellar value when you consider that most styles come with three sets of lenses. Plus, swapping these lenses is accomplished via one of the most dialed lens retention systems we’ve come across. Add in the fact that the Overdrive’s subtle styling allows for off-the-bike wear that won’t draw any undue attention and you have yourself one versatile set of shades.

Smith Optics Pivlock Overdrive

Style: 10

When Smith’s Pivlock first showed up at Art’s, they drew a considerable amount of attention for their unique construction and appearance. With adjectives like ‘European’ being thrown around, the styling was a bit hit or miss, with some loving it, while others found themselves preferring a more traditional look.

Enter the Pivlock Overdrive, Smith’s answer to those who appreciate a more traditional appearance. Sporting a full frame, the Pivlock Overdrive scales down the lens size a bit for a more standard appearance, but still maintains an acceptably wide field of view in use. Our matte black frames had tasteful red accents and cut a rather striking appearance in my opinion.


Functionality: 10

But as great as the Pivlock Overdrives look, how they perform is really what matters, but after several months of riding in them, they have proved extremely hard to find fault with.

While the standard Pivlock’s rimless construction allows for an extremely lightweight pair of shades, I didn’t feel that the slight bit of extra heft on the Overdrives was anything to take issue with, in fact due to their comfortable fit, I often forgot I was even wearing them. The Pivlock Overdrive comes with three sets of lenses to help handle any and every light condition. With my preferred Red Sol-X lenses installed, the optical clarity was quite impressive and glare was non-existent. While I would ride this lens day in and day out if I had my druthers, I definitely appreciated the inclusion of clear lenses as they came in especially handy for night riding or when the fog often rolled in while riding our coastal trails.

Changing lenses is deceptively easy. After struggling with other interchangeable lens systems it was a huge relief to see how simple it was with the Pivlock Overdrives. All that’s needed to change the lenses is to pivot the arms up, remove the current lenses, slide in the new ones and depress the arms back down. After just one or two lens swaps, sub 30-second lens changes are well with reason. I felt the coverage on the Pivlock Overdrive was adequate, although a little more wouldn’t hurt for road applications. For mountain applications however, I felt that the coverage level was perfect, as it allowed for interference-free use with several different helmet types. Hydrophilic pads on the temples and adjustable nosepiece grip better when wet, ensuring a comfortable non-slip fit.

Smith Optics Pivlock Overdrive with Tapered Lens Technology TFT lenses

Optical Acuity: 9

The Tapered Lens Technology found on Smith’s lenses, including those supplied with the Pivlock Overdrive eliminate optical distortion by progressively tapering the lens from the optical center towards the outer edges. This construction actively corrects the distortion caused by the curvature of the lens. Put more simply, what you see is what you get.

Smith applies a sweat-seal hydrocoating to the lenses to keep sweat and other liquids from streaking the lens. And while it does indeed help, it still wasn’t quite a match for my profuse perspiration. However, that being said, it still performed on par other high-quality treated lenses. And, while my sweat may be it’s match, water will bead right off the Pivlock’s lenses, keeping your field of vision clear in the rain with minimal need to stop and wipe off your lenses.

Overall Score: 9.7


For more information on the Smith Pivlock Overdrive, click here.