Wednesday, September 7, 2011 1.00pm
By John Whitney in Bath, UK
Oakley’s cycling-specific Jawbone has been around for a couple of years now and shouldn't need much of an introduction as it's used by a huge number of riders in the pro peloton. A big draw is the ability to customise the glasses via Oakley's online store, where you can opt for team replica colours or match your eyewear to the kit you’re rocking. You can also choose from a wide variety of lenses – here we've gone for the photochromic Transitions option.
The Switchlock lens changing system, whereby the nosepiece flips up and the lenses slide out, works great, and the all-important optics are top notch too. But we could have done with a bigger 'transition' in the Transition lenses. Both sets supplied with our glasses were best suited to low light use and didn't darken much in brighter conditions; we’d have liked a bigger contrast in lens tint. That said, they were perfect on morning and evening rides, and given the customising options available this isn’t an issue – just be savvy with your choices.
Nobody could ever accuse Jawbones of not looking the part, and this all-white frame doesn’t buck that trend. The fit is great off the bike and during the initial part of rides, but we found the grip of the nose and ear pieces tends to fade as you ramp up ride intensity and start to sweat. One tester said he constantly felt like they were about to fall from his face – although they never actually did – and they hung precariously from his ears whenever he looked down. Eyewear fits different shaped heads and noses in different ways though, so others may not have this same issue. The glasses do come with two sets of nose pieces to fit different shaped beaks.
A more universal problem was fogging. It only took the shortest traffic light stop for our lenses to mist up like a window on a cold winter's morning. It wasn't an issue when we had the wind in our face, but when we started to climb and the pace slowed, the fog returned. The Jawbone design meant the frame clung to our face, with few gaps for air to get in. This had the benefit of excellent peripheral vision, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of anti-fog performance. Five cutouts on each lens did little to solve the issue. There are various steps you can take to combat the problem, but for £230 they should really be ready to go out of the box.
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