Interbike: $4,500 carbon sunglasses from Oakley
By James Huang, technical editor | Thursday, October 8, 2009 10.00am
Machining a solid block of carbon fibre may not be the best way to use the material from an engineering standpoint but cutting across the fibres is what lends Oakley's flagship C SIX its unique look Jonathan Devich/www.epicimages.us
The highlight of the Oakley booth at this year's Interbike show was their outrageous new C SIX – a US$4,500 (approx £2,800) pair of sunglasses with a carbon fibre frame CNC-machined from a single chunk of composite.
Adding further to the spectacle was the fact that the display set was locked inside a glass enclosure with a giant steel chain and padlock, and that it was Lance Armstrong's personal pair – still stained with the Texan's sweat (Oakley eyewear brand manager Andy McSorley says they are accompanied full-time by a note that says 'DO NOT CLEAN!').
Materials engineers will undoubtedly scoff and say Oakley have totally ignored the proper way to use carbon fibre as a structural material for their Elite line flagship, but the way the diamond-tipped cutting bits slice across the fibres is what gives the C SIX its distinctive look. Paper-thin titanium hinge assemblies keep up the high-tech look and feel, too, and also lend the temples a degree of flexibility.
Naturally, the lenses use Oakley's panoply of optical technology, including XYZ lens geometry, Iridium coatings and hydrophobic/oleophobic surface treatments. If this is all just too over the top (and too expensive!), there's the slightly less outrageous C SIX Aluminum version at $1,500 (approx £940).
Check out the intricate machine work on the back of the C SIX frame pieces
A more affordable Elite line option – though still $595 (approx £370) a pair – is the Pit Boss, a slightly more conventional design using Oakley's O Matter moulded frame.
Styling is reminiscent of other options in the Oakley family like Monster Dog and Straight Jacket but Pit Boss goes one better with its specially shaped titanium outer plates, which are perfectly contoured to match the rest of the frame and bolted in place.
Oakley's Pit Boss has a moulded O Matter frame and custom formed titanium outer plates
Thankfully there are plenty of other developments from Oakley for 2010 that are more in the range of mere mortals: the squared-off Gascan has been updated to form the new Fuel Cell, Jawbone is now available in Oakley's custom program for a near-endless array of colour combinations, and there are three new women's models on tap.
The popular Gascan shape has been updated to form the new Fuel Cell
Rounding things out are additions to the company's timepiece, clothing and footwear divisions. Check out the thumbnail gallery at the top of the page for more photos and information.
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