Oakley Jawbreaker review
September 1st, 2015
Perhaps the ultimate off-road eyewear
Product Full Name: Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm
Retail Price: £180
Available From: Oakley UK
Protecting your eyes when blasting down a trail can make a huge difference to your riding. Even if you don’t find riding without a glasses an issue, the benefits of not squinting when it’s wet out and having protection from mud, dust, insects and low branches all helps riding off road at speed.
The Jawbreaker is the latest pair of glasses from eyewear giant Oakley, and offers huge coverage, an adjustable fit and the best quality optics in the business. Read on for our full Oakley Jawbreaker review…
Looking like a cross between the Jawbone – which later became the Racing Jacket – and the ultra popular Radar, the new Jawbreaker was designed initially with input from Mark Cavendish to offer increased vision above the nose piece – essentially to increase forward vision when he is down attacking in sprint mode.
This works just as well, if not better for mountain biking as we need to look down the trail to read the terrain. The increased coverage is brilliant – far nearer to that of a pair of goggles, but with the comfort and light weight of a pair of glasses.
Switchlock interchangeable lens system
Unlike the Radar Lock glasses, that use a simple locking system to hold the lens in place, the Jawbreaker takes it’s name from the lower part of the frame which opens on hinges for access to the lens. The ‘jaw’ of the glasses locks in place by a neat nose piece design that pivots and clips to the top of the frame. It’s a very easy system to use, and feels solid.
There’s no more tugging at the lens to remove it as once the jaw is open the lens can be removed without hinderance, meaning less chance of scratching your expensive lenses.
Adjustable ear stem
The ear stem is a new design from Oakley, which has a three position adjustable ear piece that tailors the fit to your head.
The tips of the ear stems have low profile Unobtainium rubber ear socks that grip fast even when wet, and are far slimmer in profile than those seen on the Radar Lock. This makes the Jawbreaker work far better with the retaining cradle on most helmets as it slides underneath without pinching.
As with all Oakley glasses, the lens quality is excellent.
There is absolutely no distortion or magnification in the lenses, and the Prizm lens really helped enhance vision and take the glare off.
I used this lens with the Prizm Road lens over the summer, as conditions have been exceptionally sunny and bright. The road lens is said to boost the colours of road markings – which it does – but off road it copes well with dappled light, and works especially well in bright, dazzling light.
There is also a Trail lens, which aims to improve low light contrast – making things like roots stand out more in the woods. I’ll be spending more time with the Trail lens now the sunnier days are drifting away, and I’ll let you know how they fare in the dark, rooty and rocky trails near the Factory Jackson office.
How are they on the trail?
The huge lens is the first thing you notice when you put the Jawbreaker on. Coverage is much bigger than even the Radar Lock XL, and feels much closer to what a goggle offers.
In fact, where other riders were reaching for the goggles in Alp D’huez, I was happy sticking with the Jawbreaker as they are incredibly light on your face and meant my eyes could get used to the lens instead of removing the goggles each time we stopped.
Due to the huge coverage, far less air gets to your eyes, making your eyes feel like they are inside the glasses, rather than just behind the lenses.
On a cooler day when alternating between the Radar Lock and the Jawbreaker, I noticed that the air flow behind the lens on the Radar Lock was greater and makes my eyes water slightly at speed. No such issues with the Jawbreaker though.
And more surprising was the fact that they don’t seem to suffer from misting up. We’ve not had enough warm, wet weather to really put that to the test – but initial testing in 35degree heat proved them to be a very good pair of glasses.
With the huge coverage and excellent fit with modern trail helmets, the Jawbreaker is by far the best set of glasses I’ve used.
The looks won’t be to everyone’s taste, but more subtle black frames are available – along with clear lenses.
The premium pricing will make riders question the Jawbreaker, but performance really is brilliant. Sure, you can get a good set of goggles for £35 that won’t fog with an open face lid, but they aren’t really suitable for all-day riding, and they tend to isolate you from the trail like a full face helmet can.
With glasses you still feel the wind in your face – which can help gauge your speed.
To date, Oakley Jawbreakers are the best glasses out there for off road cycling. Huge lenses, excellent optical quality and supreme comfort.