Cycling-specific glasses have been getting bigger in recent years and the new Oakley Sutro is one of the biggest designs yet. They offer huge coverage and crystal clear clarity, but they might be too large for some tastes.
The new Sutro glasses been designed for and inspired by cyclists and have a huge wrap shield design that is bigger than anything Oakley has produced before. They dwarf Radars and even look big compared to the current Jawbones.
For sure they are a bold look, but slip them onto your head and they sit very comfortably. I've always found Oakley glasses to be a perfect fit, and these are no exception. Rubber nose-pieces lightly grip your nose and the thin arms nestle above your ears with just enough pressure to keep them planted without pinching your head.
The Prizm lens provides excellent clarity, with contrast boosted and glare reduced, which not only makes the world look a lovely place but arguably helps you to spot changes in road texture or pick out moving objects in changeable light conditions. I found them especially good at dealing with the extremes from low to bright light conditions. It also blocks out harmful UV rays.
The huge size provides startling coverage. There's no intrusion of the frame into your field of vision, it's all lens. For head-down speedy cycling this is a big benefit as you're not trying to peer around the top rim of the frame. This also impacts urban cycling positively as well, especially in the cut-and-thrust of fast-moving traffic and pedestrians suddenly stepping into the road.
The frames are made from what Oakley calls O Matter material, a plastic that keeps the weight low and, in my experience, durable enough to deal with being dropped or badly handled.
All the press suggests they are designed for urban cycling, as part of a bigger range including jackets, T-shirts, shorts, trousers, backpacks and caps, but if you've been watching any of the cycle racing this season you'll have spotted a few pros wearing them. They are after all very easy to spot. Greg van Avermaet is one.
The glasses on test are a Matte Vampirello frame with Prizm Ruby lens, but Oakley lists a choice of eight frame and lens colour combinations.
As with all Oakley glasses, they ain't cheap, and £130 is top dollar. You do get great design, huge coverage and a pin-sharp lens, but you can certainly pay a lot less. They are still cheaper than Oakley's own Flight Jackets (£185) and the Speedcraft SL glasses from 100% (£180), but you can pick up the stylish Shimano Meteor glasses for a snip at £40, and Dave gave the £30 Tifosi Swicks a good review earlier this week.
Huge coverage but bold styling and a high price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Oakley Sutro
Size tested: Standard
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, "Oakley Sutro redefines the look of traditional sports-performance eyewear. Inspired by the daily life of urban cyclists, the high-wrap shield creates a bold, versatile look, protects from the elements and enhances vision with Prizm™ Lens Technology, while inspiring athletes to move confidently and seamlessly through their day."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Frame colour: Matte Vampirella
Lens colour: Prizm Ruby
Light transmission: 17%
Light conditions: Bright light
Base lens colour: Bronze
Wide lens coverage for the ultimate in UV protection
Plutonite® Lenses offer top UV protection filtering 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400nm
Features patented Prizm™ Lens technology for greater contrast and reduced glare
Plutonite® lens made from anti-shatter material
Unobtanium® material on nosepad keeps the frame in place
Includes Microclear bag
Great coverage for urban and performance cycling, and lovely lens clarity and contrast.
Despite their hugeness, they are comfortable on the head.
They are expensive but there aren't many glasses with such huge coverage to choose from.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For all sorts of cycling, from urban to performance, the huge coverage is a benefit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great lens quality and huge coverage.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
You might feel a bit self-conscious in them, they make a very bold statement.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're cheaper than other big frame glasses but you can pick up regular glasses for a lot less cash.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you can get around the bold statement and high price you'll find a good pair of glasses, but there are less funky glasses at more affordable prices.
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.