Oakley unveils a new sunglass design at the Tour de France
By Matt Pacocha
Last year Oakley revamped its most popular sport sunglass the M-Frame into a new sunglass. Though the M-Frame is still available its predecessor, the Radar, has become as instantly popular as the decade old staple of Oakley’s line. Using the opening stage of the Tour as a springboard, Oakley introduced a complement to the new Radar in the form of a newly styled Racing Jacket.
Columbia’s George Hincapie and Credit Agricole’s Thor Hushovd are the two riders charged with introducing the new shade, and the only two riders who currently have it.
The New Racing Jacket isn’t a pro-only item, however, and it will be available for sale in 2009.
In the late ’90s Oakley introduced the Racing Jacket as an alternative to the M-Frame, meant for those looking to pull off an edgier style. The new glass did exactly that yet maintained a level of performance expected for a technically adept sports sunglass from Oakley. While the M-Frame remained the favorite of the more conservative GC riders, those looking to steal the spotlight were instantly attracted to the new aggressive looking Racing Jacket.
Now, starting the 2008 Tour, the Racing Jacket gets its own update after almost a decade of service. The new sunglass, which is simply referred to as the New Racing Jacket, brings some new technologies to the table.
The first is Lens Suspension. Oakley says that because the lenses are secured into the frame using a compressionless fitting, the optics are better than even its own standard High Definition Optics. The reason for this is that lenses held in place via compression, like the Radar, have a slight distortion due to the stress on the lens; by alleviating this, Oakley believes it has achieved superior optics.
Part of the compressionless fitting includes a hinged lower frame, which also acts as a mechanical quick-release for changing the lenses. Easier means of removing and installing lenses means less of a chance of them getting scratched or dirty.
Finally the frame itself has been re-engineered around the concept of not compressing the lenses as well. The ear stems are said to flex more than previous editions and the bridge is engineered to flex so that the lenses don’t. The nosepiece itself is replaceable by way of a twist lock so that you can change it, but it remains more secure when in use.
Like all of Oakley’s Sport Performance glasses the New Racing Jacket is made in the U.S. and carries ANSI’s Z87.1-2003 rating as well as total protection from UVA, UVB and UVC light radiation.
The New Racing Jacket will be available in an array of Oakley’s tints with polarization, hydrophobic and photochromic technologies.