First seen in prototype form on Terenzo Bozzone at the 2010 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii last October, Oakley's new Fast Jacket glasses are now ready to hit the shops.
While the Jawbone, which debuted the SwitchLock lens change system found on the new model, was designed for cyclists, the Fast Jacket is aimed at a broader spectrum of users and has a smaller, more subdued profile.
This has two drawbacks for riders: a reduced field of sight through the top of the sunglasses, where the frame interferes — which is especially apparent when in the drops — and a slightly heavier weight.
Still, many cyclists will appreciate the lens's rimless lower that allows an unobstructed lower field of view and over the shoulder look-back. And the new SwitchLock mechanism is quick and very easy to use when compared to replacing the lenses on Oakley’s older Half Jacket.
The new sunglasses are available in a standard and a larger ‘XL’ size, which differ by both lens and frame. The standard size is offered in nine colors while the XL option offers 12. Prices vary with lens configuration: standard and Oakley photochromatic versions cost US$220, while those equipped with polarized lenses cost $280.
The US$220 kit comes with a frame, two lenses, microfiber bag, case and hydrophobic lens treatment with additional microfiber cloth
Oakley say SwitchLock has two main benefits: easy lens changes and a secure, low-tension hold on the lens, which is said to avoid distortion and offer improved optical clarity compared to older designs like the Radar.
While the Jawbone uses the SwitchLock system to lock the hinged lower jaw into the frame at the nosepiece, securing the lens, the Fast Jacket uses the lock to insert a pin into a slot in the lens, which then locks it into the frame. The new mechanism is made of stainless steel, which accounts for some of the design's additional weight. Like the Jawbone, the frame sports a foam contact that keeps tension off the lens.
The Switchlock open and without lens
The frame is made in the US from Oakley’s O Matter and touch points on the ear stems and nose piece are made from Unobtainium, the company's proprietary, synthetic rubber that provides increased grip when wet.
The lens is made from Oakely’s branded Plutonite polycarbonate material, which blocks 100 percent of UVA, UVB and UVC light. It's constructed using patented molding technology that's claimed to produce the clearest, sharpest, most accurate view possible, especially toward the periphery. The lens is also ANSI Z87.1 rated for protection against projectiles. All stuff that Oakley like to highlight with their Rolling O Labs that tour the US.
Oakley's pen 'nano' hydrophobic coating applicator; they say the system is good for 10 applications and also sell it separately
The lens is also treated to be hydrophobic and the Fast Jacket comes with an additional ‘pen’ for reapplying the ‘nano’ coating that makes water bead and roll off. The included kit is said to be good for 10 applications. Lenses with all of these features are available polarized. Oakley will also offer prescription lenses for the Fast Jacket.