By Joe Parkin
Anyone who has ever ridden in the woods knows that varying light conditions often make it difficult to keep sunglasses covering those precious and tender eyeballs—unless, that is, you left the house using lenses with absolutely no tint. Oakley's solution for this is the new RadarLock, which incorporates what the company calls Switchlock Technology. The Switchlock feature allows you to quickly and easily swap lenses with the push of a spring-loaded button located next to the left-side hinge. Push the button, open a little door, remove the lens, replace the lens and close the door. It is so simple that even I nailed it on the first try—and I've been known to give up and ask for help when it comes to swapping lenses. I even tried it on the trail, while wearing gloves. No problem.
If you are unfamiliar with the incredibly clear and precise optics found in Oakley eyewear, you owe it to yourself to experience optical perfection firsthand. The company's lenses are so clear and distortion free, that Oakley is the go-to glasses for many of the world's top competition marksmen and precision military shooters. Even at short distances, the slightest visual distortion caused by an inferior lens can have a significant effect on shot accuracy, which, in mountain-bike terms, is the equivalent of line selection and wheel placement. In other words, distorted vision can easily lead to wrapping one's self around a tree.
We recently took a trip to Oakley's world headquarters to learn about the RadarLock and a little bit more about the company itself. It was impressive to see just how much work goes into a pair of Oakley sunglasses, as well as how incredibly determined Oakley is about designing, engineering and manufacturing such high-quality products.
Also reassuring is the fact that about seven people were involved in the development of the new model, and that roughly 19 sets of hands will touch each individual RadarLock before it leaves the building.
In signature Oakley style, the new glasses are available in colors to match pretty much every personal preference, with lens tints to suit any conceivable ride and weather condition. If you watch the video closely enough, you might even notice the low-profile, straight bows that are slightly different than the ones on our photo sample—a nice option for narrow helmets or perhaps even your full-face helmet if you’re into going goggle-less.
I pilfered our photo sample and have been wearing them for several weeks. Minutes into each ride, I completely forget I'm wearing them—exactly what I want in a pair of riding glasses.