Oakley has updated its Flak Jacket sunglasses: subtly restyled, the new Flak 2.0 has taller lenses incorporating the new Prizm tint, first seen on the Jawbreaker glasses we reviewed previously.
While the Flak 2.0 glasses don't offer the same level of protection as the supersize Jawbreakers, the smaller lenses (38mm tall) still provide good shielding for the eyes, whether it's from bright sunlight or dirt and stones from road or trail. And to be fair to Oakley, the Flaks aren't cycling-specific glasses, they can be used for a number of sports.
At 26g, they're also lighter than the Jawbreaker, and that is noticeable when you wear them. The rubber (Unobtanium in Oakley speak) ear socks and nose pads keep the glasses firmly on the face, and even during sweaty or rain-soaked rides, they didn't slip or move out of place.
The Prizm lenses boost saturation and contrast and offer outstanding clarity. They cover a wide range of conditions, from overcast rides to brighter sunlit days, and copes with a mix of light conditions and variable light levels.
And how much is Oakley charging for these new glasses? They start at £130, with loads of options available and prices hiking up to £170. The Prizm version costs £140. Yes, that's mightily expensive for glasses, especially when Aldi will sell you a pair for £4.99 (though not so bad if you compare them with the Uvex Variotronics tested recently). But Oakley is a lifestyle brand and, despite those high prices, they continue to be highly desirable.
I liked the fit, comfort, light weight and styling of the Flak 2.0 glasses, and for general purpose riding and other sports (mountain biking, running), they're a good choice. For more performance cycling – by which I mean head-down-chasing-the-wheel-in-front sort – I prefer the Jawbreaker simply because of the increased coverage and higher positioning of the frame, which reduces vision obstruction.
Comfortable and light glasses with excellent lenses but big price tag
road.cc test report
Make and model: Oakley Flak 2.0
Size tested: black
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?
ENHANCED LENS COVERAGE EXTENDS YOUR PERIPHERAL VIEW TO IMPROVE PROTECTION AGAINST SUN, WIND, AND IMPACT
UNOBTANIUM EARSOCKS AND NOSEPADS KEEP GLASSES IN PLACE, INCREASING GRIP DESPITE PERSPIRATION
PATENTED HIGH DEFINITION OPTICS® (HDO®) PROVIDES SUPERIOR OPTICAL CLARITY AND RAZOR-SHARP VISION AT EVERY ANGL
O-MATTER™ STRESS-RESISTANT FRAME MATERIAL IS BOTH LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE FOR ALL-DAY COMFORT AND PROTECTION
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Oakley says: "Oakley engineering takes performance to the next level and brings style along for the ride. Flak 2.0 offers a standard size frame with enhanced lens coverage, and every millimetre of the lens is optimised with High Definition Optics in a ruggedly durable yet lightweight design. Designed to push your limits with patented XYZ Optics for razor sharp clarity and secure grip of Unobtanium.
"The Flak 2.0 is suitable for trail running, cycling, climbing & golf."
Good multisport performance sunglasses.
They're £140. You can make up your own mind if you think they're value for money...
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For cycling, they work well but they're overshadowed by the better performance of the Jawbreakers. Throw in some mountain biking, running and other sports, though, and the Flak 2.0 make a lot of sense.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable fit and light weight. The Prizm lens.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as much coverage as the Jawbreakers. And the price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I'd need a pay rise first...
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
Really comfortable glasses with great lenses, but don't expect value for money – if you want cheaper, there are many more affordable glasses available, these aren't them.
About the tester
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.