It’s all in the name; zero means everything. In the cycling world, we are all familiar with the weight game. Save some weight Remove some grams and make the cycling experience better. And for the non pro athlete that means making value decisions about lightweight technology that comes at a certain cost.
Enter Oakey and EV Zeros
Over the years we all get exposure to eyewear for fashion, lifestyle and sport. And often they get sat on, lost and scratched in your bag or glove box. Sometimes left in the plane and dropped in the toilet if you are really unlucky! Sunglasses are amazing in a sense that it always feels like you should spend less money on them but in reality, we never regret spending more because we really appreciate what the extra delivers in terms of clear optics, eye protection or simply a more comfortable fit. Not to mention the hugely understated confidence gained by sporting the look you really wanted or aspired too, that mental boost of confidence cannot be forgotten.
After experiencing a lot of Oakley designs I recently got these EV Zeros as Oakley say “introducing next to nothing. Again” couldn’t be closer to the truth. These things are light, significantly lighter than all previous eyewear, weighing in at a scant 23grams. Do you know how a lightweight high-end helmet feels in comparison to your regular minimal vented commuter helmet? – yeah, it’s like kinda that. It doesn’t seem much in hand, but when you put them on you really feel it. For regular glasses wearers, you become sensitive to weight on your face and a few grams can feel amplified. But that’s sort of the icing on the cake, these glasses are built on a long list of technology and features which im sure will be best sellers.
Weight and Fit
Judging the experience wearing the glasses and the feel out of the box, clearly, these are lighter in hand, and feel better on your face. Oakley’s are generally no heavyweights but try a couple of pairs on back to back and it becomes really noticeable, those few grams in weight savings make a comfort difference for sure and maybe very discernible in long days in the saddle. For comparison a regular pair of Radar Paths (not a heavy sunglasses) weigh in at 29grams, the new EV’s are a scant 22grams or 25% lighter.
Also, EV’s have Oakley’s 3 point system which fits your face amazingly with 3 points of contact, ultimately removing hotspots and making them wearable for 10’s of hours on end.
Then there is the real money making feature behind the glasses (IMHO), the optics. Fortunately, the new EV Zero’s come with Prizm technology, perhaps the best lenses to date. they have optimized for your sports, whether it be golf, cycling, fishing or daily use. Prizm outperforms all other coloured lenses and it’s simple to select your sport to have great vision.
The frameless design of the EV’s means no hard edges or obstructions, because they are frameless there are no opaque edges, from the top or the bottom, this makes for a really nice ride experience without restricted vision. Of course, this is somewhat personal as some don’t mind frames as much as others. For me I like the no frame feel, makes me feel a touch securer, like nothing is hidden, even for 100th of a second.
The general hue is warm and clear.The road version offers 20% light transmission and a definite improvement in contrast.
Clarity – as with all high-end optics is top shelf, I’m always impressed by distortion free crystal clear sight. the image below says it all and I can attest that it’s a true image.
Note: The lenses in this model are not interchangeable, fortunately, the Prizm technology works in bright sunlight and also low light, but they are by no means the same performance of a yellow, permission or clear lens.
The eyewear comes in two subtle style differences called PATH and RANGE, this refers to the shape of the lower part of the lens, most noticeably at the exterior lower edge. The ones in this review are the PATH . The RANGE, in my opinion, is a little more of an aggressive shape to the lower and side of the lens. You can see the shape of the RANGE lens here
Like all Oakley’s these protect you from UV filtering 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400nm. Then, like all eyewear, they protect you from rocks, dirt and rain spray that right be flicked up from a rider in front of you. Oakley holds themselves to high standard and testing for extreme conditions, read more about it here.I love that they say their level of testing is absolutely unnecessary – because it’s so high!
I can attest from riding behind people, road rocks and dirt, Oakley’s are super durable no matter what the model.
Construction and Engineering
Frameless- These are a fully frameless design where the lens makes the structure of the glasses, this is what makes them so light.It also makes the frameless field of vision perfect, no hard plastic all soft transition to the field of view.
Design Detail –Looking from the front of the glasses, instead of a full surface of the plastic, Oakley chose to add a design detail which outlines the eyes, providing another cosmetic shape. I’m not sure how they did this in the manufacture and is only visible from the outside.
Hinges – comparing my experiencing with other Oakley’s, the EV’s you can feel where they are saving weight. Sadly the hinge is not as inspiring or secure feeling as some other models, I am guessing this was not possible when engineering for the lightest weight, maybe a small price to pay for the face comfort gained. (Image below EV Zeros on left, Radar paths are on the right)
Flexibility – One thing to note with the EV’s, since they use less material and use the lens as part of the structure, they feel a little more flexible between the arms, this also contributes to a lighter feel on the face.
Fit to helmet
Needless to say, this depends a lot on your helmet, but on the EV Zero’s the arms are some of the slimmest designs I have recently seen, the mass has been substantially reduced when compared to Jawbreakers, Jawbones an even Radar’s. Thus, in theory, they should be easier to accommodate on more helmets and helmet vents. (You can see the comparison of the two in the image above)
Design & Appeal
Now for the fuzzier side. Like all Oakley gear, these EV Zero’s push the boundaries not only in terms of technologies but also in terms of fashion, appearance and acceptance. These EV Zeros are no exception, a little bit trendy, a little bit edgy with a dash of retro appeal. The lens shape is less “pro” serious and more “retro” fashion inspired with a little bit of Jackie O “bug eye” to them, only a smidge mind you, but you can feel it.
When I say “pro” – cycling glasses come in two pro cuts. the Jawbreakers or Radar EV’s. these seem to to be the pro choice that you see in most pro level bike races and the masks of choice to shield the serious game face eyes.
The EV Zero’s will be polarizing for looks preference, but I don’t think a huge diversion. One of the aspects I love is the etched line detail (only visible from outside) which adds a nice design detail and definition of a more rounded shape while breaking up a large wrapping surface – well-done designers. This makes the Oakleys look unique and maybe contribute to the Jakie O character. On the subject of colour, I have the Prizm road lenses and love the external colour, it’s an iridescent indigo, flashes of yellow and red. Sporty looking and perfectly functional.
Airflow and vented lenses – in the past I have opted for vented lenses, because the way things fit on my face, I can tend to steam up. The EV Zero’s are not vented but I have had no problems with overheating or steaming up, the fit to my face ensure a little gap above the eyebrows and some clearance at the cheekbones.
So far the only concern I can find is that initially when I took the glasses from the box and unfolded the arms, something felt different, maybe even non Oakley, that was the hinges, maybe a touch less solid / durable feel than say compared to my favorite Jawbreakers or Radar paths, then on further inspection, less material and maybe removal of a hinge pin. This results in a weight saving. Did the designers go too far? Im going to say, it will be fine, Oakley has been designing eyewear for decades.
Im looking forward to using these all summer. The only way this could get better is if you were to buy the polarized versions (the ones I have are regular)
Available at All Oakley dealers and Oakley.com. The EV Zeros sell for $160 to $200 depending on the lens. The ones above are polarized and cost $173