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.
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
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...
Beautifully finished, look as good on the shelf as on your face.
Lenses adapt beautifully but the chunky frames are a matter of
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.
Other rider I lent them to hated them. I felt fine in them but chunky frames are not to my taste.
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.
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