Stop at any café frequented by cyclists on Sunday morning and you’re guaranteed to see just about every second rider with Oakleys tucked into their helmet. Same goes for local triathlons. Oakleys are one of, if not the most popular brand sunglasses for riders and multi-sport athletes.
Why? Well firstly there’s brand status bought about by sponsorship. Oakley has been around for nearly 50 years and have invested heavily in sponsoring athletes across a range of disiplines, from skiing, multi-sport and motorspots, to baseball and of course cycling, both MTB and road. If world-class pros use them, they must be bloody good.
And second reason everyone wears them, well, there are bloody good. Today we are testing a Oakley’s Radar EV Pitch with Prizm lens. The very first thing you’ll notice about the Radar EV Pitch is their weight. At 23g they’re weird, crazy light. I mean you don’t notice they’re on at all. This is good for triathletes, runners and riders. But the big plus comes with the Prizm lens. The optical theory is that the Prizm is tuned to maximize contrast. Imagine upping a slider on contrast on Photoshop and you’ll begin to get the idea. It’s best demonstrated with a neat little slider you can find here.
The claim is that the Prizm lens emphasizes colours where the eye is most sensitive to detail, so in theory, you’ll be able to spot a deceptively deep road fissure quicker with the Prizm lens. It’s a big call, and hard to test, but they do present a crisp, sharp, very graphic image, while shielding you from glare.
The other big plus about these glasses is the fact they are frameless. Not only does it make them as light as a feather, but absence of the frame stops (or at least greatly reduces) the problem of lens fogging. Lens fogging at the wrong time can kill a ride and even lose you a race. Unlike framed glasses, frameless glasses don’t make a tight seal with your cheek. If this does happen it creates a very wet pocket of air in front of your eyes. When that air hits the cold glass, tiny droplets form and the sunnies “fog” up. Go for a hard climb on a cool day in bad sunglasses and by the top of the mountain, you’ll be Mr Magoo.
Finally, there’s the head feel. The Radar EV Pitch arms grip tightly but not uncomfortably. We tried some cross-training after a ride (push-ups, burpees and star jumps) and did not even come close to dislodging them.
All up, a great pair of sunnies that would suit multi-sports, runners (trail and road) and riders the best. They are a bit on the expensive side, but when it comes to vision on the road or trail, where one misjudgement can cause serious injury, these are totally worth it.