The Oakley brand is synonymous with triathlon. It seems that both have grown and developed in parallel. Oakley’s innovative designs, seemed like a perfect fit for a new, extreme sport whose participants revelled in innovative products.
These days Oakley eyewear is more common at a triathlon than dodgy tattoos at a Gold Coast theme park and the model of choice is generally the Radar. The Radar’s cache comes from the fact that it works sensationally well as cycling eyewear as witnessed by the numbers of users both in pro ranks and everyday cyclists. But when you get off the bike and start to run the Radars are equally at home providing great coverage but also staying put on your face regardless of how ungainly your stride may be.
The Radar EV's come with an additional nosepiece to customise fit, plus a case and bag for protection.
Oakley’s new Radar is the Radar EV standing for Expanded View. This really is an innovation that, if not designed specifically for cycling, then it’s a very happy coincidence that it addresses possibly the one shortfall of the original Radars and that is visibility at the upper frame area. While cycling with the head down, and more so in the aero position the upper frame of the Radars can obscure the view somewhat. The Radar EV’s lens has increased by almost 7mm in height above the nose piece to allow for a greater unobstructed field of view especially when getting along in the “head tilted down” positions associated with cycling and triathlon.
Radar EV's (right) show the extent of the additional lens above the nosepiece.
The Prizm lens comes in “Path” or “Pitch” shapes, the ones on test here are the Pitch version, which are shaped a little higher over the cheeks for those that find that other glasses can sit annoyingly on their cheeks, or for athletes that like to smile a lot!
The Radar EV frame and lens combination have both been tweaked from the previous versions to allow greater ventilation. Glasses fogging can be a real problem when going from the swim to bike and no glasses are immune to this however the rate at which the glasses de-fog is the mark of their performance and the Radar EV’s perform admirably.
Radar EV lenses get redesigned vents and the arms also get ventilation.
The arms on the Radar EV’s have also been rejigged for greater comfort. As always the arms have earsocks made from Oakley’s patented “Unobtanium” but in the current iteration these earsocks cover almost the entire arm to give a little extra stickiness. This is coupled with a choice of 2 different sized supplied “Unobtanium” nose pieces to ensure the Radar’s stay put whether cycling or running. The arms can in certain circumstances can inhabit the same real estate as the retention system of some helmets but generally this is less of an issue than the vexed question of arms under or over helmet straps.
Weight weenies you can rest easy in the knowledge that the extra lens height and arm modifications come without a weight penalty with the Radar EV's weighing in at a measley 28 grams.
The arms, new versus old, show the extent of the "Unobtanium" earsocks.
The Prizm lens system is the jewel in the crown of Oakley’s new range. These lenses have been designed with specific uses in mind from baseball, golf, fishing and proper sports like mountain biking and cycling. The Prizm road lenses are designed to “enhance vision in both bright light and shadows, helping riders spot changes in the texture of road surfaces” and this they do with astonishing results. Having been through most of the Oakley range of lenses over the years I thought I had seen it all and the new lens tint was just a marketing ploy, however the Prizm’s deliver on their promise. The best way I can describe it would be, for those that have used “low light” lenses and noticed the enhanced contrast beyond your normal vision, this is similar to the effect given by the Prizm lens only with an added tint.
Image from Oakley showing the Prizm lens effectiveness.
The tint on the Prizm road lens is not super dark but allows for use in most conditions and for long periods even in high sun without eye fatigue. Their reddish hue does show through and give you slightly “rose coloured glasses” but after a few minutes the eyes adjust and it no longer becomes noticeable.
The lens coating does look like it could be susceptible to scratching if not cared for properly. So as a long term investment they may not suit those who dismount and throw their glasses wherever is convenient. Like most precision instruments they will require a little extra care.
Retail for these is $269.95, a price many will baulk at but given the amount of use they will get it works out at a pretty good hourly rate.
Find them at : Oakley
Disclaimer: Oakley glasses were graciously provided by the wonderful Mrs Roxii who wought them for me for my birthday.