There is a reason that so many triathletes, cyclists, runners and general sports people have their heads wrapped in Oakley sunglasses. They are the standard that all of the other sports sunglasses are measured against. If you buy products based on what athletes are wearing, or what the winners of an event use, then you will be familiar with the Oakley range. In this review by Transitions member Will we analyse the Oakley Radarlock and consider whether you should invest in a pair.
There is no doubt about it, I have a big head. There are many times in my life when I have been humiliated by the size of my head, whether it be the failure of the ‘one size fits all’ cap, struggling to get my head through a jumper or finding a pair of sunglasses that suit my face. I have previously tried the Oakley Flak Jackets XLJ but found that they were a little small for my face. In recent times my favourite pair of sunglasses have been the Oakley Racing Jacket and they have been a faithful pair of sunglasses for the last few years, however it was time for a change and so I was tempted over to the Oakley Radarlock.
Now the first thing that hits you when you go to choose your Oakleys is the price point. These retail for $299.95 for a pair of sunglasses, which for many seems an unjustified expense. Yet consider that you will get a few good years out of them, even longer if you clean and look after them and they will be protecting a rather valuable asset. Users will also realise that the quality that comes from Oakley means that the lens don’t scratch or lose their film when cleaning, something I have experienced with many other lens. Despite dropping my previous pair on numerous occasions, the glasses continue to earn their place in the rotation. So if you only want to spend $50 on a pair of sunglasses, you will need to consider other options.
When wearing the Radarlock I notice that they sit just slightly off my face, which is a big plus because that means that for a heavy sweater like myself, when competing and wearing the sunglasses for a number of hours, the sweat and salt does not build up on the lens. This was a bit of an issue when using the Racing Jacket, which would occasionally collect a little pool of sweat or salt at the bottom of the lens in the frame. These frames can now be worn for a Full or Half Ironman in complete comfort.
The second major plus is that the size of the lens gives my eyes full coverage and when riding or looking down, I am not having to adjust my sunglasses due to the sunlight getting in around the edges. Without the frames around the edges or the bottom of the lens, I am also maintaining full vision, which is a bonus when doing long TT efforts or racing on the bike. Many styles that do not offer larger lenses result in the sun coming in around the bottom edge, this does not occur with the Radarlock which makes them comfortable to wear all day. You also do not have that annoying moment when you are down on your aero bars and looking up the road and you either have the frames of your glasses blocking part of the view or the sun is creeping in at the top.
The venting on the glasses stops any fogging up when you stop at lights or are riding in colder conditions. An issue that can be solved if it occurs with your sunglasses by just tilting them down a little when you get going.
The weight of the glasses would be about mid weight for sports glasses, these sunglasses would not be as light as some other brands out there, I am thinking particularly about some of the offerings from Adidas yet I wouldn’t consider them a heavy pair.
The nose piece is a soft piece of rubber, which is very comfortable on my nose and most importantly doesn’t slip down this may be due to the fact that the nose piece is made out of Unobtainium®. Oakley describe this as ‘You won’t feel any uneven pressure points with this frame because its Three-Point Fit holds the frame comfortably in place while keeping the lens in precise optical alignment.’ A point that I have noticed is that when I take the sunglasses off for cleaning, that I am sometimes concerned about the strength of the rubber which does seem a little flimsy, however after 6 months of use I haven’t had any problems. If you are worried, Oakley do provide a spare nose clip with your purchase, which is an option for those with high hygiene standards. Similarly the rubber ear bands can be changed over if they are worn out. I have previously swapped out my Racing Jacket rubber ear pieces after a few years of use.
The quality of the lens are what you would expect given the price point. They provide excellent clarity and there are numerous options available that are either available when choosing your original pair or as an aftermarket purchase. The pair that I chose came with the Jade Iridium (green looking lens) and a lighter clearer lens for low light conditions. It is quite easy to swap the lens over however I will admit that I haven’t really used this option because I use different low light glasses. Oakley describe the High Definition Optics HDO® as setting the standard for optical clarity, visual fidelity and impact resistance, and RadarLock XL is racked and revved with all those benefits including Polaric Ellipsoid™ geometry to extend clarity across the entire lens. The sweeping contour gives you a wide-open view with maximized peripheral vision and enhanced side protection against sun, wind and impact. So pretty much what I said before, the provide full coverage and uninterrupted sight.
After regular use in the last 6 months, there are no notable scratches or chips in my lenses even though they have hit the ground a few times. The frame has had no issues and I am now confident that these will be in the stable for a number of years to come. This is a positive review and it is for the simple reason that these sunglasses tick all of the boxes and as a result I will continue to add Oakleys to my sunglass collection. I would have no hesitation in recommending these sunglasses to all Transitions members and if you demand the best of yourself, demand that you wear Oakleys.
For a full listing of all of the details and marketing information on the reviewed sunglasses and others within the Oakley range check out OAKLEY.
Disclaimer: These sunglasses were purchased by the reviewer from an authorised Oakley store, the reviewer did receive a discount on the listed price due to his club having a sponsorship arrangement with Oakley.
Ed: Thanks to Will for this review. I had actually approached Will to review some Radarlocks I was going to send him, but he informed me he had a new pair of his own that he would review for me.