Oakley's Jawbreaker Prizm Road glasses might evoke memories of Greg LeMond's Eyeshades, which transformed the professional peloton forever back in the 1980s, but these are thoroughly modern and packed with the latest tech. Enough to make them a worthy successor to the venerable Radars that have long been a favourite of the professional and amateur racing cyclist.
First things first, the Jawbreakers certainly have a very bold and very distinctive appearance. A bit like Marmite, you'll either love them or hate them. I urge you to at least try them on before you write them off hastily. The shock of the new has subsided now that they're almost commonplace among the professional peloton and local club run. Their looks don't win them immediate fans, but after one ride in them you might find yourself unable to go back to your previous glasses. This happened to me.
The Jawbreakers were developed in collaboration with Mark Cavendish, a sprinter renowned for his very low head position when racing for the line. Usually for the win. The downside to that sort of aggressive position is that the top of the frame on most cycling glasses obscures your line of sight, and the result is usually a sore neck from craning to see under or over the frame.
With the Jawbreakers, Oakley sought to increase the upward field of view. The result is that the top of the frame is much higher than most other eyewear I have ever tested. There's very little intrusion into your vision. It's very impressive. Get your chin down on the stem and assume an aggressive position, as you would when racing or time trialling, and the top of the frame really doesn't intrude into your vision at all.
It's when you go back to a regular pair of glasses that the enormity of the difference really makes you realise how good the Jawbreakers are. I was sceptical when I first started testing the Jawbreakers, quick to write them off as a gimmick. Several months later, and I've not been wearing any other eyewear.
Not only has Oakley developed the new frame, but it has also introduced the new Prizm Road lens. It's a lens developed for road cycling and designed to deal with the changeable light conditions. It noticeably boosts contrast, making it easier to read the road surface in varying levels of light such as when dropping into a dimly lit tree-lined lane.
The lens is easily changed too, and there's a wide range of tints. To make changing lenses easy, Oakley's Switchlock is a ball joint mechanism that hinges the frame apart, allowing the lens to be easily removed and swapped for another.
The glasses are very comfortable. The arms are adjustable and they're a bit shorter and flatter than the Radars, meaning they're more compatible with the retention devices on most helmets I've tested them with. They place no noticeable pressure on the temples yet they don't move about, even when sweat is dripping off your face. The nose-pieces keep the glasses comfortably snug on your face.
The only downside I've really found with the Jawbreakers is that they tend to collect pools of sweat rather excessively. But the lenses are vented, which does prevent them steaming up.
Larger lens provides less obstructed field of vision than most other glasses, and new Prizm Road lens offers impressive clarity
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road
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?
Oakley says: "Jawbreaker™ is the ultimate sport design - answering the demands of world-class athletes with a 40 year heritage of uncompromising excellence. Oakley innovation has reached the pinnacle of performance by offering everything from surge ports for cooling airflow to Unobtainium® components for a comfortably secure fit, and with the hassle-free lens changing of Switchlock™ technology for vision optimization in any setting."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PRIZM™ is a revolutionary lens technology that fine-tunes vision for specific sports and environments
Extended field of view in the upper peripheral region to optimize for cycling
Unobtanium® earsocks and nosepads keep glasses in place, increasing grip despite perspiration
Switchlock™ interchangeable lens technology makes lens changing lenses fast and secure
Patented High Definition Optics® (HDO®) provides superior optical clarity and razor-sharp vision at every angle
Top notch build quality, as you'd expect at this price.
The larger field of view makes seeing where you're going much easier, especially in an aggressive head down position.
Months of testing and they're in great condition, as are the lenses.
They're not heavy.
The fit and shape is very comfortable, no pressure from the arms and the rubber nose piece is comfortable.
Well they're not cheap, you can certainly spend a lot less, but if you've read this far you're probably not put off by the price tag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great performance for racing cyclists.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Improved field of view.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Yes they're expensive but the fit, comfort, field of vision and high lens quality are good counter arguments. If you think they're expensive, you're not going to buy them, but the high price clearly hasn't put a lot of cyclists off investing in them.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180cm Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.