By Matt Pacocha
The questions came in to us here at VeloNews after stage 5 of the Tour Down Under: What sunglasses did Lance have on? The answer: Oakley’s new sports spec, called Jawbone.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these shades. We reported that they first appeared at last year’s Tour de France on the faces of Thor Hushovd and George Hincapie. Back then, Oakley simply called the prototype sunglass the New Racing Jacket. Hushovd, Hincapie, Armstrong and the rest of Oakley’s heavy hitters are set to formally release Jawbone to the public on Stage 6 of the Tour of California, February 20, which is the individual time trial.
The original Racing Jacket, introduced in the ’90s, was built for the bad boys of the peloton, those riders who needed something that left more of an impression than the brand’s subdued shield type sunglass of the era, the M-Frame. Oakley intends the Jawbone to provide the same contrast to the Radar. Columbia’s George Hincapie called Jawbone “the baddest racing glasses Oakley has made.”
It’s not all about looking tough, though: there’s motive for much of the design of this new glass. And now that it’s almost ready for public consumption Oakley confirmed the sunglass’s name and features.
The reason for the two-tone look and the circular feature on the outside of the lens carrier is the locking hinge design of the frame. The Jawbone has replaceable lenses, but unlike previous designs — M-Frame, Racing Jacket and Radar — the lenses don’t snap into the frames. Instead, the frames lock and unlock at the nosepiece and pivot at the outside to mechanically capture the lenses for easy changes. The unique system, which Oakley calls SwitchLock, also has the effect of cradling the lens with virtually no extra tension, versus locking it into the frame rigidly. This, Oakley claims, rids the lens of any sort of twist or pressure that could cause optical distortion in the lens.
Jawbone incorporates many of Oakley’s patented technologies, including its XYZ lens optics, Unobtainium nosepiece, in multiple sizes, and earstems — the material increases grip with perspiration — and Oakley’s Hydrophobic lens coating that repels dust, water, skin oils and lotions. The Plutonite lenses filter out 100 percent of all UV light, and offer impact protection that meets ANSI Z87.1 standards.
The new sunglass will be available in May in a range of colors including the new “Atomic Orange,” “Retina Burn” and “Infra Red.” Lens options include venting, Iridium lens coatings, photochromic technology and Oakley polarization. The Jawbone’s price is not yet set.
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