Oakley Jawbone with Transition lenses  £230.00

7/10

Well made with distinctive love/hate looks and a clever lens replacement system

Weight 28g   Contact  www.oakley.com www.transitions.com

by William Fotheringham   May 27, 2012  

Transitions Optical X Oakley

Oakley have been around cycling nearly as long as I have. Transitions adaptive lenses are a more recent innovation. What, you wonder, might a combination of Oakley Jawbones and Transitions offer?

A good decade since I last slipped on a pair, I'm not surprised to find that Oakleys remain as distinctive as ever. Depending on your aesthetic sensibility, the Jawbones are either stunningly beautiful or totally hideous, but they are certainly anything but anonymous. On the face, well, it's a matter of taste again. I loved wearing them for their comfort – nicely shaped nosepieces, big contoured frames to prevent any friction on the cheekbones – plus they sat nice and tight on the face. Personally I prefer smaller frames, but if you don't mind, then fine.

They also include a particularly clever solution to one of the great sunglasses issues – how to change lenses without having to click them into the frame. Clicking in has always seemed a crude way to go about it, and offers various drawbacks: primarily, that you have to manhandle the lenses and frames,and eventually the bit you are clicking into wears down and the lenses feel as if they may be slightly loose. That's if my glasses last that long - I tend to sit on them, drop them, or the dog picks them out of the race bag and nips off to his basket for a happy little chew.

So to get the lenses in and out of the Jawbones, you just flip up the nosepiece which anchors a hinged lower section and voila, lens replacement made easy. But it comes at a cost: about £170, which actually isn't unreasonable compared to the opposition. However, bung in a pair of adaptive lenses and you are paying another £60. The question then is, if it's so easy to change the lenses, why do you need to have adaptive photochromic ones which change according to the available light?

The answer is that, obviously, the light can change during a ride, particularly in spring when it's showery. It can change during an evening time trial or track meet, or get dark as you ride home from work. So there is a case for state of the art glasses with state of the art lenses, particularly ones which work as well as these seem to. I never noticed the light when I was wearing them, in conditions varying from near dark to bright sun, and I guess that's the point. You don't want to be aware of the lenses as you are riding along, and you don't want epic light contrast when you take them off. Technically, a fine pair of glasses all round. The rest comes down to your personal budget and preferences.

Verdict

Well made with distinctive love/hate looks and a clever lens replacement system.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Oakley Jawbone with Transition lesnses

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

In my view, these are aimed at the high end of the

market, where performance nudges elbows with posing. If you are

worrying about a hundred quid here or there these aren't for you.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

'The photochromic lenses are light sensitive, and adjust quickly to changes in ambient light. The glasses offer a secure, precise fit with interchangeable nosepiece sizes and Unobtainium® components that increase grip with sweat.' Can't argue with most of that, and I didn't feel them slipping when I was pouring sweat on the day summer broke out in March. Unobtanium? Who knows what that is or does...

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Beautifully finished, look as good on the shelf as on your face.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Lenses adapt beautifully but the chunky frames are a matter of

personal taste.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

The life of glasses depends on how you look after them and how tight they fit. These don't feel overtight so shouldn't be under too much strain. Lenses stood up well.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Other rider I lent them to hated them. I felt fine in them but chunky frames are not to my taste.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

You can get cheaper glasses that might not offer same level of

performance or looks but will do a similar job.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Lenses performed brilliantly in all light conditions, frames felt comfortable whether pottering along or pushing flat out.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Lens change was simple, the look was anything but. Very distinctive.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Price, for something which is as vulnerable as this and which offers very marginal gains in how you ride.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, but with the proviso that I had to be incredibly careful not to drop, scratch, or maltreat it in any way.

Would you consider buying the product? No. It's a lovely piece of kit, but glasses are a personal thing and I don't like those frames.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if money was no object.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 185cm  Weight: 82kg

I usually ride: Condor  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, club rides, track racing

 

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

agree with the review - pricey, but excellent bit of kit. Frames are very comfortable for all day riding and the lenses always seem to be doing a good job regardless of light conditions. I've used them for a UK spring/summer, in the Pyrenees, in the sun of the Canaries, and always perfect. Usual Oakley quality as well.
Only comment is that they dont go completely clear (or mine dont anyway) as suggested by the pics above, so you always have slightly reduced light transmission, so they arent ideal for the depths of winter when clear lenses are more appropriate. Because they use UV to change, they dont work in the car either, where the windscreen cuts out the UV so they never darken. Makes them sport specific really, but no issue with that - not exactly styled for wearing while walking around!

posted by Bigpikle [66 posts]
28th May 2012 - 6:34

49 Likes

The lenses are so good as to make sure they see you coming.

230quid for a pair of plastic sunnies? Are you out of your mind?

My glasses were less than a tenner from lidls. They do everything these do, except the reactolite bit, and more in that I don't care if I scratch or lose them.

posted by localsurfer [169 posts]
28th May 2012 - 16:31

45 Likes

if you look under a slightly odd description on ebay and are happy to wait around 3 weeks. you can get a set of glasses that look very very very similar for £11.99 and they are uv protected etc. i have put them side by side against my friends jawbones and there is no difference. i would normally disagree with 'replicas' but £230 is just a huge joke. how much profit margin? its got to be £225 profit if not more. lets face it, if you drop the £230 ones they are as broken as the £12 ones

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
28th May 2012 - 20:58

50 Likes

@russyparkin - just because they have a sticker on saying they have UV protection IN NO WAY means they do. You could really really damage your eyes. Better to get a cheap pair of Aldi glasses that look crap but have UV protection than risk it with Chinese knock-offs that could ruin your sight forever.

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [1060 posts]
29th May 2012 - 0:07

46 Likes

yes, do remember that they're copying the UV sticker as well as the specs, eh

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
29th May 2012 - 7:14

47 Likes

I need high-prescription lenses (-7.75) so Oakley can't help me. Bolle are showing off a new innovation which allows them to provide appropriate-strength lenses in a similar frame (ie same wraparound style so beloved of sportspeople). Point is, Bolle are paying a fortune to the inventor of the new tech to license the innovation exclusively for this year only. So I'm an early adopter, and have paid £254 for a really well-engineered pair, custom-made, with a great fit and a personal service from the UK distributor who met up with me to show off dozens of frames and lens colours. That's only marginally more than these, so I would agree that it's reasonable to question the value of an off-the-shelf pair at this price bracket.

For what it's worth, when we talked through the options, the distie admitted that, were it his money, he wouldn't bother with the Transitions bit.

(I wouldn't however, buy any that I couldn't be sure of the quality of - experience has already taught me not to take my eyes for granted)

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3474 posts]
29th May 2012 - 8:42

45 Likes

If anyone is near Southwater in Sussex there's a Texaco station selling Oakley-looking specs in dark blue and black (a bit Sky-ish) at at £226.01 discount over the ones above. No holes in the lenses and they don't swap out but, considering they're £3.99 I have a feeling they aren't real

Foakley's ?
Fauxkley's?

Re comments about UV, I might be wrong but I think all polycarbonate lenses stop UV don't they? It's inherent to the material?

posted by Default Username [7 posts]
30th May 2012 - 8:16

46 Likes

You could buy the foakleys and discard the cheap lenses and put in "real" oakley replacement lenses ?
Would save you over £100 ?

posted by d3fc [17 posts]
30th May 2012 - 11:47

52 Likes

Possibly. Remembering that Oakley lenses are likely to be more advanced than a plastic frame.

That said, who knows. Oakley will have designed theirs so that when they snap they won't skewer a large pointy bit through your eye socket.

So, it might be worth spending another £11.99 on a second pair to do some crash testing.

posted by bendertherobot [382 posts]
30th May 2012 - 18:05

44 Likes

I went a slightly different route using my official Oakley frames but buying a lens from Wallevea.

As a transitional lens it works really well for a third of the price of a 'genuine' Oakley one.

And I still the support of my proper frames.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1299 posts]
11th September 2012 - 7:43

45 Likes

Oakley sunglasses on steroids....hades comes to mind! Surprise

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st October 2012 - 11:10

39 Likes

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