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review

Oakley Sutro Lite

7
£143.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Exceptional coverage and an unobstructed lens, but the frame could be sturdier
Huge coverage

Great ventilation
Sharp and colour-contrasting lens
Sleek
Very pricey
Lens is not replaceable
Frame a little flimsy
Long arms may interfere with helmets
Weight: 
32g
Contact: 

Oakley's Sutro Lite is a semi-rimless version of the existing Sutro design. The wide, colour-enhancing lens covers an extensive field of vision for excellent protection from bright light, wind and flying bits of debris from almost all angles.

With its trendy big and bold lens, the Sutro Lite hides much of your face, but not so much it feels excessive when riding.

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None of your peripheral vision is blocked yet the lens eliminates excessive light leaking in from the sides. Head down, you can concentrate on your computer or the wheel in front, while being able to stay aware of the rest of your surroundings.

2021 Oakley Sutro Lite Matte Black sunglasses - nose bridge.jpg

155mm across and 55mm tall, the high-wrap shield of the Sutro now comes with an unobstructed downward view.

The simplified half-frame still uses Oakley's O Matter – a nylon reinforced plastic – which Dave Arthur praised on the standard Sutro for its low weight and robust construction.

2021 Oakley Sutro Lite Matte Black sunglasses - frame detail.jpg

While the frame itself feels durable enough to withstand knocks and clumsy handling, I have had issues with play at the sides of the lens. After some use the lens developed a rattle, even though this is not a removable/replaceable fit.

Sharpness, clarity and distortion-free viewing are all delivered by the Prizm lens. Even on a grey day, peering out through this lens you can't help but be reminded how beautiful the landscape is you're exploring (assuming you're not at the Kebab World traffic lights or similar, that is).

2021 Oakley Sutro Lite Matte Black sunglasses - lens.jpg

The green of the fields genuinely pops out, thanks to the colour contrasting effect. Racking up winter base miles certainly appears less grim.

2021 Oakley Sutro Lite Matte Black sunglasses - case.jpg

Our test pair came with the Prizm Black lens, which has a light transmission rating of just 11 percent. I found this too dark for a typical winter day in Britain, so I'd lean towards either the Prizm Road Jade at 15 percent or the Prizm Road at 20 percent for UK use.

2021 Oakley Sutro Lite Matte Black sunglasses - inside 2.jpg

The arms of the Sutro Lite have a slight flex at each end which means they are easy to slip on, but reassuringly they snap back for a secure fit that doesn't pinch. On the inside is a layer of what Oakley calls Unobtainium, which grips well.

The arms are 135mm long and wrap rather far round your head, though, and may interfere with some helmets – alongside Giro's new Helios Spherical helmet they end just a millimetre or so away from the straps. It might be worth trying these in store to see how they play with your helmet.

2021 Oakley Sutro Lite Matte Black sunglasses - inside 1.jpg

The Unobtanium silicone rubber can also be found on the nose piece, which juts out so the glasses sit slightly away from your forehead for ventilation. The nosepad is adjustable and rests gently. It doesn't squeeze, and instead stays in place by sticking to your skin.

> 31 of the best cycling sunglasses — protect your eyes from sun, crud and flying bugs

Attacking the sprints and hitting rough sections of road didn't budge these glasses at all. Once on, there's no need to readjust, and sweat and rain make no difference. Rain beads up and falls from the bottom of the lens easily, too, instead of wobbling about in the corner of your vision.

Value

These pared-down Oakleys do not have a pared-down price tag. At £143 the Lites are more expensive than the original Sutro glasses, which come in at £130 and feel sturdier.

The Koo Demos glasses are a stylish alternative at £129, offering a great fit with a crystal clear lens, but they doesn't come with a spare lens either.

At just £54.99 there's the '3 Pack' option for the Madison Stealth glasses, which comes with extra lenses. Liam praised the Stealth for its uninterrupted view and comfortable, secure fit. I can't say they look as cool as the Lites, though...

Overall

The Oakley Sutro Lite is a sleek design and I think I look stealthy, and therefore cool, when riding in them. The coverage is exceptional, they sit comfortably and securely whatever the conditions, and the lens is great.

The lens rattle and potentially overlong arms are less impressive, though, and coupled with the price mean these aren't easy to recommend over the original Oakley Sutro.

Verdict

Exceptional coverage and an unobstructed lens, but the frame could be sturdier

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Oakley Sutro Lite

Size tested: One Size

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:

"The Sutro family expands with a semi-rimless version of the popular style for greater field of view. 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?

Oakley lists:

"* Available with Prizm™ lenses that are designed to enhance color and contrast so you can see more detail

* A high-wrap, semi-rimless frame designed to increase field of view and improved ventilation

* O Matter™ frame material provides durability and all-day comfort to keep up with life on-the-go

* Ridged textured Unobtainium® added to the inside of the temple for retention

* Oakley's Unobtainium® nosepads provide increased comfort and performance and increase grip with sweat"

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
6/10

After a while the lens started rattling in the frame.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Secure fit that doesn't pinch.

Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

Very expensive.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Huge coverage does incredibly well at protecting you from the elements, the frame provides an unobstructed downward view and the colour-enhancing lens truly does make the countryside appear prettier.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great lenses, clear view, stylish and secure design.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The rattling lens, long arms and high price.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Very expensive. At £143 they're a tad pricier than Oakley's original Sutro (£135), while something like the Koo Demos provides just as clear a view for £129.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes – on discount

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with caveats

Use this box to explain your overall score

These are so comfortable and secure you almost forget you are wearing them, and the lenses are fantastic. But the arms seem unnecessarily long and could clash with you helmet retention, and the lens has started to rattle in the frame.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 177cm  Weight: 63kg

I usually ride: Road bike  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, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track

Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.

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