First look: Oakley Jawbone

New specs with easy lens-swapping system

We first saw Oakley’s new Jawbone back around last year’s Tour de France and the eyewear company’s bold new style has definitely found greater appeal at the Tour of California on such notable riders as Lance Armstrong (Astana), Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) and Thor Hushovd (Cervélo Test Team). 

Though Jawbone vaguely resembles the old Racing Jacket its appeal extends more to its optical quality than anything else, according to Oakley marketing guru Steve Blick.

Jawbone supplants the usual snap-in arrangement for its interchangeable lenses in favor of a unique system dubbed Switchlock. Lens are encapsulated in a hinged frame and gently held in place with a small rubber pad embedded in the upper frame. To swap tints, users simply flip out one of the hinged dual-density nosepads, open up the lower ‘jaw’ then remove the lens. 

Blick says Switchlock’s convenience will undoubtedly draw in users but the so-called floating lens makes for minimal bending stresses and thus even less distortion than Oakley’s other already-superb optics.

Other features include a hydrophobic lens coating to repel rain, sweat, road grime and oils, a wider field of view at the upper edge, slightly shorter earstems for reduced interference with helmet retention systems, and lens vents to prevent fogging. 

Oakley also tuned the frame construction such that only the earstems – and not the frame – flex to accommodate different head shapes and further maintain optical clarity. As with several of its other models, users can swap to thicker nosepieces to customise the fit, too.

Jawbone is slated for public release sometime in May and retail prices will range from US$190-250 depending on lens options, which will include the usual range of regular and Iridium-coated lenses plus photochromic, polarised and prescription options.

Watch the video of the new Jawbones as demonstrated by Oakley's Steve Blick:

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James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
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