The Jawbone is the latest in a long line of kickass cycling glasses from the big O, it’s got some big predecessors to live up to. Fortunately for the purposes of a good review I happen to have some of these big predecessors in my glasses drawer, in the shape of the legendary Pro M Frame and the almost as legendary Racing Jacket.
There are three big new bits of technology featured on the Jawbones.
Firstly perhaps the best interchangeable lens system I have come across in the shape of “switchlock technology”. The nosepiece pivots out allowing the entire bottom half of the frame to then pivot down to leave the lens free to fall out, no manhandling required. Simple and easy.
The second part is the lens suspension system, which in layman’s terms seems to refer to the fact that due to the secure switchlock lens system, the lens is no longer held firmly in place in a manner which might flex the lens to the degree that it might make vision less than perfect. While I am not entirely sure I could tell the difference immediately it is fair to say that the optical quality is top drawer, as you would expect from Oakley.
Lastly, and most importantly for eyewear designed for active use, the Hydrophobic coating which helps any rain, sweat or road muck be wiped off with no smearing or smudging.
So that’s all well and good but how do they stack up in the real world? The fit is great, no different from what you come to expect from Oakley with the ear socks ensuring they stay put over the roughest of terrain. Having been the owner of 2 of the Jawbones predecessors in the shape of Pro M Frames and Racing Jackets it is easy to make comparisons with what has come before it and it is fair to say it has taken the good bits of all of them. In my eyes (no pun intended) there are 4 key things I look for in my glasses….fit, looks, coverage and anti fog. The old school Pro M Frames fit good, look a bit dated (in fairness they are!), give ok coverage with a sweep lens and score well on anti fog, with plenty of airflow to clear the fog. The Racing Jackets fit good, look good, give good coverage but fall down on anti fog; I always found the airflow around them was not quite enough to clear the fog at lower speeds.
The Jawbones fit just as good as the other two, look good, though perhaps the “retina burn” we got our mitts on are perhaps not to everyone’s taste. Coverage and anti fog are spot on, benefitting from slightly more coverage than the old Pro M though not quite as much as the Racing Jacket, which obviously helps somewhat with airflow around the lenses at low speed to stop the fog, which is also helped by copious amounts of ventilation on the lens. Finally, what of the revolutionary switchlock lens technology, well as easy as it says on the tin, certainly the easiest I have come across.
So they aint cheap but having tried cheaper alternatives over the years I always come back to spending the cash on Oakley’s for on the bike and based on the Jawbones I can’t see me changing that any time soon.
From £179.99 depending on lens combination, but every set gets 2 different lenses with them!