Oakley recently released a brand new range of cycling helmets and apparel. A longtime player in the sports sunglasses department, riders can now deck themselves out head to ankle in Oakley gear. At the Crossroads Tremblant festival, Canadian Cycling Magazine had the opportunity to test out some of the new gear on the trails and roads of Mont-Tremblant, Que. Outfitted in the Oakley Jb Premium jersey and bib shorts, ARO3 helmets, and the new Flight Jacket and Field Jacket Sunglasses we were left impressed with the bold designs and performance attributes of the new gear.
The ARO3 road helmet
Whether riding the Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant on a brisk day or hammering through the first heat of the summer, the ARO3 kept our heads comfortable. The ARO3 is the most ventilated helmet in Oakley’s line-up. The large vents make it perfect for riding in on hot days. While we couldn’t distinctly feel air flowing through the helmet, our heads were kept from overheating. Most importantly, the ARO3’s padding does a great job managing sweat, wicking it away at the brow and ensuring it doesn’t fall into the glasses. A very important feature of all the new helmets is the use of BOA’s 360 fit system allowing precise and uniform adjustments. It ensures sunglasses rest comfortably on your face unobstructed by plastic or more bulky fit systems like are found on other helmets. MIPS is added to make the helmet safer in case of an impact. While many manufacturers put sunglass garages on their helmets, Oakley’s is actually very useful securely holding our pairs of Flight Jacket and Field Jacket in place. The ARO3 retails for $260.
Oakley’s race kit
The Oakley Jb Premium doesn’t reinvent the race kit. We rode the new kit first on a leisurely evening ride when we could appreciate the kits comfort and design. On harder efforts in the heat back home, it’s performance attributes made it ideal for the hammer rides. The jersey and bibs conform to the shape of the body. While the fit is tight, it’s comfortable and all the seams are in the right places. Instead of compression bands, the sleeve and bib end with a clean edge. Internal grippers on the bibs keep them in place without compromising their comfort. It’s a kit that makes you feel fast and was constructed with light-durable fabrics. The three pockets on the jersey are a little high for my preference but keep them from sagging down when fully loaded. The Jb Premium jersey and shorts are available in black and grey. The grey colour of the shorts is unique but did become a little revealing in the wrong lighting. The Oakley Jb Premium bibs retail for $280 and the jersey for $255.
The Flight Jacket and Field Jacket sunglasses
New for 2018 are the Flight Jacket and Field Jacket sunglasses. We tested the Flight Jacket with the Prizm Low Light lens and the Field Jacket with the Prizm Road lens. The bold new Flight Jacket frame offers a wide field of vision and is unobstructed on the top with the removal of a frame. Designed to address fogging and give cyclists who ride in an aggressive position a wide field of view, the frames generous size make the optics from behind the lens excellent. The Field Jacket offers a more traditional framed design but for most will offer sufficient coverage. What is new to both new frames is the Advancer nosepiece that allows the glasses to be pushed 5-mm further away from the face. This was perfect to prevent fogging on a cool evening ride when we stopped by the side to enjoy the view of one of Mont-Tremblant’s beautiful lakes. It also noticeably worked while riding in the city when we would stop at lights. It is also useful when climbing or at low speeds on trails in the forest when fogging could become problematic.
The Prizm Low Light lens looks a lot like a clear lens but offers superior optics. The lens significantly enhances colours that are dulled in low light conditions. Contrast is also increased to boost detail making it excellent for riding trails like the P’tit Train du Nord in Tremblant. Like a clear lens, it performs well at night offering 75 per cent light transmission. Worn at dusk, it provides the confidence to know when the light fades you’ll still be able to see. On a morning ride with overcast, we rode with the Prizm lowlight lens and enjoyed the protection it provided while allowing us to see more detail in our surroundings. Paired with the Prizm Road which offers less light transmission but the same excellent optics and enhanced vision, the two cover nearly the full range of conditions we typically ride in. The Field Jacket with Prizm Road retails for $278 while the Flight Jacket with Prizm Low Light is $248.