Top-quality eyewear offering excellent protection, but you have to pay for the privilege
Weight: 30g Contact: www.oakley.com
These Oakley Radarlock Path sunglasses are excellent glasses made with Oakley's usual high-quality optics, although the price is certainly steep.
The frame is made from a material that Oakley call O Matter. Let's be honest, it's a type of plastic; it's lightweight and pretty durable. It'll bend to a certain degree rather than simply snap which is vital because, try as hard as you like, sooner or later you'll do something stupid like drop them or sit on them (what, that's just me? I don't believe you).
The earsocks – the temple grips, in plain English – are made from what Oakley call Unobtainium, which is a soft, rubbery material that holds the glasses in place well even when you work up a sweat. The nose pad is made of the same stuff and it works a treat to stop the specs slipping down. You get a spare nose pad in the box.
The lens is one piece and it fastens securely to the frame. You get really good coverage extending well below and to the side of your eyes so there's virtually no chance of insects, pinging gravel or any other foreign object getting in. The same goes for wind and rain.
I really like the fact that there's no frame at the sides or below the lens to interrupt your vision. It gets on my nerves if I look over my shoulder to see what cars or other riders are doing and can't get a good view because part of the frame is in the way. That doesn't happen here.
The lens is vented with two little cutaways on either side and that does make a difference. You can fog up any lenses in the right circumstances but it doesn't happen often in these.
You get two lenses. First, there's the persimmon (orange) one which is suitable for duller days, then there's the fire iridium one which is a darker lens with a shiny orange finish. That one is best for bright days. There's no apparent distortion of light despite the highly curved lens surface.
Replacements and other tint options are available although they're not cheap. A clear one will cost you 50 quid, for example, while a photochromic one (where the tint alters according to light conditions) is a whopping £140.
The lenses are made from Plutonite which is another of Oakley's own words, this time for their polycarbonate blend. It blocks 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and blue light to protect your eyes.
Swapping the lenses over is really easy thanks to Oakley's Switchlock design (which is a feature you don't get on the Oakley Radar Paths we reviewed on Road.cc earlier in the year), although the instructions you get with the glasses are open to misinterpretation. If you struggle, go to YouTube and you'll find better instructions and demonstrations.
Essentially, there's a catch on one side of the frame that you slide to open a gate that holds the lens in place. Get it right and the process takes seconds and there's zero chance that you'll damage the lens. It's an excellent design.
I've used these with a variety of different bike helmets from Giro, Bell and Bontrager and they've all been perfectly compatible without any snagging against the shell. If you're thinking of buying these in a shop as opposed to online, it might be a good idea to take your bike helmet along to check that they work together, just to be on the safe side.
In terms of performance, these really are excellent. They provide first-class eye protection, they stay put, they don't fog up easily and it's easy to swap the lenses. Treat them right and store them in the tough box that comes as part of the package and they should last you ages. They're still expensive, though.
Top-quality eyewear offering excellent protection, but you have to pay for the privilege.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Oakley Radarlock Path sunglasses
Size tested: Blood Orange
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?
Here's Oakley's massive write-up...
RADARLOCK PATH SUNGLASSES
The ultimate sport performance product, this revolutionary eyewear lets athletes take full advantage of Oakley's wide array of performance lenses, thanks to an ingenious invention called Switchlock™ Technology that makes lens changing fast and hassle-free. Switchlock lets you adapt your vision for any environment and keep up with changing light, and all lenses are optimized with the unrivaled clarity and impact resistance of High Definition Optics® (HDO®). Engineered to meet the uncompromising demands of world-class athletes, RadarLock™ changes the game with a new definition of performance.
Whether you're competing for Gold or just squeezing every ounce of possibility out of those prized moments of athletic escape, you're either wearing RadarLock™ or wishing you were. If you haven't heard about Oakley Switchlock Technology, you're wasting too much time fumbling with the outdated designs of ordinary interchangeable lens systems. Our simple switch mechanism makes the process quick and easy, and the lens is held securely in place without uneven pressures that can bend it and distort your vision. Somebody finally got it right, and did so with a vengeance against conventional technology.
HDO® sets the standard for optical clarity, visual fidelity, and impact resistance, and RadarLock is racked and revved with all those benefits including Polaric Ellipsoid™ geometry to extend clarity across the entire lens. The sweeping contour gives you a wide-open view with maximized peripheral vision and enhanced side protection against sun, wind and impact. You'll have optical performance rated at ANSI Z87.1, and that same uncompromising level of standards applies to protection against high velocity and high mass impact. For even more protection, our Plutonite® lens material filters out every eye-searing ray of UV.
The lightweight yet insanely durable frame is made of O Matter™ and shaped with surge ports to maintain a cooling flow of air. Interchangeable nose pads let you achieve a comfortable, customizable fit, and the earsocks are made of the same sport-optimized Unobtainium® to increase grip when you sweat. You won't feel any uneven pressure points with this frame because its Three-Point Fit doesn't hook your ears '' it just holds the frame comfortably in place while keeping the lens in precise optical alignment.
RadarLock comes in an Oakley Soft Vault case that lets you store an extra lens, and each frame comes with two lenses: one for bright days and one for low-light conditions. Choose Oakley HDPolarized technology and enjoy the glare-killing clarity of the best polarized lenses on the planet.
Balance light transmission and tune your vision with Iridium® lens coatings, and take advantage of Oakley Photochromic technology for optics that darken automatically in response to sunlight. Oakley Authentic Prescription Lens Inserts are available for RadarLock Path and Pitch.
- Oakley Switchlock™ interchangeable lens technology for fast and easy lens changing
- Durability and all-day comfort of lightweight, stress-resistant O Matter frame materia
- Integrated surge ports to channel airflow for the comfort of cooling
- Unobtainium earsocks that increase grip when you sweat
- Comfort and performance of Three-Point Fit that holds the lens in precise optical alignment
- Multiple interchangeable Unobtainium nose pad options for secure, customizable fit that maximizes comfort
- Metal icon accents
- High Definition Optics for clarity, visual fidelity and impact resistance that meets all ANSI Z87.1 standards
- Polaric Ellipsoid lens geometry to extend clarity to the edge of a wide peripheral view
- Lens curvature that improves side protection against sun, wind and impact
- Polarized Options–Minimized glare via technology that produces the best polarized lenses on the planet
- UV protection of Plutonite lens material that filters out 100% of UVA / UVB / UVC & harmful blue light up to 400nm
- Oakley Photochromic lens options: The lens darkens and lightens in response to changing light conditions
- Iridium coated lenses that reduce glare and balance light transmission
- Vented or non-vented lens configurations
- Two lens shapes to choose from
- Oakley Authentic Prescription Lens Inserts available
- Also available in: Polarized
They're great - but they're also expensive. RadarLock Path eyewear starts at £195 if you don't want the polarized lenses.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent performance. They do exactly what they're supposed to and they stay put.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The frame and lens shape, the all-round quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price. And although it's not a reflection on the product, the marketing technobabble leaves me cold: Switchlock Technology, HDPolarized technology, Polaric Ellipsoid geometry, O Matter frame material, Plutonite lens material...
My favourite is: "The earsocks are made of... sport-optimized Unobtainium." I guess 'The temple grips have a rubbery feel' doesn't have the same faux-scientific air.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, excellent product.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – as long as they're the careful sort who won't damage or lose them.
About the tester
I usually ride: 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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,