Review: Oakley Jawbone Glasses
February 3rd, 2011
By Olly Forster
For me, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this one, but Oakley are a brand synonymous with cycling, action sports and of course mountain biking. With their roots firmly in the world of ‘off-roading’ on two wheels, their strangle hold of the market is something they have never let slip from day one and are a company who’ve never rested on their laurels. With ground breaking technological advances and eye-wear, which have become both iconic through their styling, design and manufacturing, and combined with an association with the sports leading figures… Oakley’s finger has never been off the pulse in the world of action sports optics.
Words: Olly Forster | Photography: Chris Hartley & Nathan Carvell
Hitting the rough stuff while pushing hard on aggressive trails is always a concern with your eye wear sliding down on your face. The Jawbone’s come with two sets of nose pieces which form part of the lens’ ‘suspension system’ that locks the lens down within the frame. Two different sizes are supplied and designed to help customise the fit for the individual.
Fit and Feel
Oakley don’t muck about when it comes to ergonomics and the Jawbone bares testament to that – in the box you get 2 sets of nose pieces to perfect the fit, but like all glasses, try and get to a dealer and try them on before you buy… Removing the these ‘nose pieces’ is pretty easy, but since they’re small it’s best to be careful as you could easily loose them! These pieces are part of what Oakley calls the ‘3-point Fit’ which combines both the nose pieces and the ear stems and together they only touche the bridge of the nose and the sides of your head, helping to keep things right where they should be. I didn’t experience any discomfort and to be, I even honest forgot I had them on after a while. These “3 points” are all made of Oakley’s unique ‘Unobtainium’ material which reacts with contact to sweat, increasing stability by getting tacky. Sounds a bit gross, but it works!
These are the ‘Retina Burn’ edition and are certainly not for the faint hearted – locked and loaded with the high intensity yellow lens’ for some fun in the woods!
The second lens the Jawbones came with are the black ‘Iridium’ – I must admit these haven’t been used yet, but the sun’s out there somewhere… The supplied lens’ are thankfully of the ‘cycling friendly’ vented variety and a must for mountain biking. Glasses and goggles are always susceptible to fogging, but having used other brands including other Oakley models, these have been by far the best to date.
Oakley are well known for their optical quality and these are no different; well actually they are. The Jawbones represent a new level of optical clarity with strategically placed flex zones in the frame which redirect stresses away from the lens, but this is only half the story… The lens’s then sit in a ‘suspension system’ which removes the lens completely from the forces that the user may put the glasses through. These unique features take away any transferred flexing to the lens, removing any distortion in the optical clarity. The lens’s themselves are pretty special too – both are 100% UV resistant and feature Oakley’s ‘High Definition Optics’ and hydroponic qualities, which repels dust, water and creates a barrier against skin oils, fingerprints and sun screen! All this is to aid the optical clarity and avoid corrupting the user’s vision.
Oakley take their frame construction pretty seriously and the Jawbone is made from the usual ‘O Matter’ material, which is both durable and comfortable. The production quality is amazing too…
The ‘Switchlock Technology’ is what truly defines the Jawbone as a master-stroke in the world of sports optics. The jaws and nose piece effortlessly pivot, and like a well oiled machine are a pleasure to use. The lens’s slot in perfectly and are held with no movement within the frame. The designers at Oakley have undeniably put some serious work into the Jawbone…
Once open, the lens is very free so be sure to do it over something soft and indoors, just in case you drop them – you don’t want them dropping and scratching on the floor of the trail centre car park! The freedom that the lenses have is a part of the unique suspension system, which releases as soon as the jaws are retracted – it also means lens removal requires minimal touching by greasy fingers!
In the box you get a neat Oakley soft vault case specifically designed for the Jawbone plus 2 sets of lenses, 2 sets of nose pieces, a carry bag and a some bad ass glasses too.
Oakley put the time into designing and manufacturing quality gear, this reverberates through everything they do – even the case and ‘micro fibre’ bag are full of great features.
Out on the trail you’ll no doubt forget how much tech is sitting on your face, but isn’t that the general idea? Your always aware of something when it isn’t doing it’s job and that’s what I like about Oakley and the Jawbones. Fit, forget and get on with the task in hand, which is having fun on your bike – it also helps if they look pretty sweet too!
Out on the trail the Jawbones were a pleasure to use and I’m sure as I increase my collection of lenses and ride through the seasons their functionality will shine even more than they do after a few weeks use. First and foremost for me, being a downhill rider and used to always wearing goggles, I tend not to blink on descents and fighting oncoming air, water and flying mud, just isn’t fun at all. These of course do a stellar job of keeping the roost out of your eyes and staying where they should. Fogging was kept under lock and key, but standing still or breathing on the lens will do you no favors… As someone who likes to hit the best bits of the trail consecutively it was a bit like being on the DH bike and remembering to take them off and on to avoid fogging like you would do with goggles. This is of course winter and under such circumstances and the way I choose to ride, they were pretty damn near the best I’ve tried and not a fault of the product.
If I could suggest improvements it would maybe be to make an MTB specific pack and include a clear lens rather than the yellow lens, as we mountain bikers spend a lot of our time in dark woods intersected by open ground and the yellow lens would often be too bright and affect my eyes while they re-adjusted to the light levels as they really brighten things up. Deep in the woods they’re great, but not out in the open. Clear lenses would remove this issue and you would avoid spending more cash on something which I feel is important for mountain bikers.
I have since added some all-black custom numbers to my collection and the clear lens is highly recommeded…
The Oakley Jawbones represent a giant leap in optics technology, exploring new ideas and harnessing old ones to produce a product that is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. With this level of product comes a price tag to match and with an RRP in the UK of £180, these aren’t cheap… Having a good look on the net though, there are of course a few bargains to be had and like anything, you do get what you pay for. You will easily find eye wear for a fraction of the price, but they won’t touch the Jawbone on anything like clarity, functions and of course style. If you like the nicer things in life and don’t want to be bothered by sub standard gear, get some Jawbones and you won’t look back. These are simply awesome!
For more info on all things rad and Oakley, hit the logo below. Happy trails, Olly.