We spotted some new shades on Mark Cavendish at last year’s Tour de France, and now they’re official. The new Oakley Jawbreaker is the result of “more than 100 design iterations, 9,600 hours of lab and field testing, 27 eyewear components” and two years of development with Cavendish himself.
By tracking eye movement during cycling, they realized that we cyclists spend an inordinate amount of time with our eyes looking slightly upward. That should come as no surprise to us, and so the Jawbreaker boosts the field of view at the top of the lens by 44% over traditional sunglasses. And it does so with Oakley’s typical optical clarity, ensuring no distortion in any direction you happen to glance.
We got our hands (eyes?) on a pair and put them through some windy, sunny ride time. We may not be Cavendish, but we certainly benefit when products like this are designed for top pros. Here’s why…
FRAME TECH, DETAILS & WEIGHT
The frame fully encloses the impact resistant single lens, protecting it and providing structure.
Six vents help prevent fogging and keep fresh air moving. The design is certainly full coverage, there’s not much daylight creeping in from the edges. That means a virtually unobstructed view and easy shoulder glances without the frame getting in the way.
The temples have a three-position length adjustment.
To extend, lift the locking lever, slide the black temple out, then close the lever. There’s a subtle catch at each position, making it easier to get it lined up with the lever. It’s a small touch that adds to the user experience…even if you are only using it once in a blue moon. Depending on how many different helmets you have in your stable, though, it’s handy as some helmets rear retention mechs can interfere with the sunglass arms more than others. Shortening the temples for these may help keep everything playing nicely together.
The Jawbreaker name comes from the hinge just above your jawbone, which opens the lower part of the frame to release the lens.
Lift the nose pad to lift the metal locking catch (red), then pull the bottom of the frame down.
Then swap in any of the available lenses. One is included with the sunglasses, others are sold separately. A cleaning cloth, hardshell zip case and alternately sized nosepieces are included in the box.
The complete pair comes in at 33g, which is about par for a technical pair of shades. The hinges may add a few grams, but I didn’t notice.
The eye tracking results showed (not surprisingly) that most of the time we’re looking slightly upward to the road ahead.
The Jawbone is available in seven frame color and lens combinations at launch. Above is Sky w/ Sapphire Iridium lens. Below, clockwise from top left are: Navy w/ Prizm Trail, Polished White w/ Prizm Road, Polished White w/ Gray Polarized, Uranium w/ Prizm Road, Cavendish Polished Black w/ Prizm Road, Black Ink w/ Iridium Red Polarized.
For those unfamiliar with Oakley’s lens tech, the Prizm lenses provide somewhat of a rose tint to things, with distinct hues available for road riding and mountain biking.
The Prizm Road lens enhances parts of the color spectrum that bring up definition on pavement, lane markers and traffic lights, helping you see the subtle nuances of the road’s surface and the most important safety cues. Prism Trail enhances the reds, browns and greens for better contrast between different trail surfaces. Both versions claim to improve contrast in both bright, direct sunlight and in the shadows. Neither are overly dark, either, so we’re still fans of the visor or cycling cap when riding in bright sun.
The other specialty lens offered on the Jawbreaker are two polarized options. Over the years, I’ve asked many a sunglass manufacturer why they don’t offer polarized lenses for riding, particularly among full frame, single lens options. The reasons and excuses vary, but they are hard to come by. So I asked Oakley why they included it. Here’s the response from Ryan Calilung, Director, Concept Development, Oakley R&D
We are all familiar with glare from the windshield when driving, but for a road cyclist, glare from the road surface can be dangerous when it masks the changing road imperfections, traction and potential debris/obstacles. There is also a cumulative energy cost fighting eye fatigue. Over a four hour ride you should use that pedaling, not squinting. The beauty of Jawbreaker’s SwitchLock technology is it allows the customer to quickly change lenses so that they can fine tune their sunglasses to their environment, season or activity.
True facts, right there. And I’m hoping to test out the polarized lens when it becomes available. For starters, though, they sent over the Polished White w/ Prizm Road and here’s how it fared:
FIRST IMPRESSIONS RIDE REVIEW
If ever a pair of “normal” looking shades could provide the same wind blocking protection as goggles, these come darn close. They look a bit bigger on then when being held, but they stop short of being as obnoxious as some of Oakley’s past special editions.
My test pair arrived Monday, so my first ride was today. Bright, sunny and 18mph winds. One of my usual roads pulls a nice dogleg right, giving me all wind directions on the out and back. There’s a few short descents thrown in, too, which means there’s a few climbs, so all speeds and wind angles were accounted for. And all were quickly and quietly forgotten while wearing the Jawbones. The full coverage provided full wind blocking protection, yet subtle air flow was present. I’ve heard complaints that “sealed” systems don’t let eyes or contacts breathe, and if that’s of concern to you, I wouldn’t worry about it here.
The forward protruding section of the arms (just in front of the horizontal “O” logo) does come into the field of vision, but it’s only apparent if you’re looking for it. Otherwise, it disappears. Over-the-shoulder glances make for quick, clear recons of cars back with no obstruction from the frame.
First impressions are very good. What we first thought would be a road-only accessory turns out to be a jack of all trades thanks to the various lens options (clear would be nice, too, for night riding). Fit is great on my entirely average size head, and wind blocking, clarity and field of view are all top notch.
They’ll be available April 15th. Pricing will range from $200-280 with the standard Prizm lens models selling for $220, while the Cavendish special edition is a bit more at $240. Non polarized versions are priced at $200, and polarized Jawbreakers retail for $280. In addition to Oakley dealers nation wide, the shades will also be available through Sunglasshut.com with 5 colors available later this April.