“They’re so big and bulky”, I thought when industry leading Oakley first launched the Jawbreaker. Word has it that uber cyclist and former world champion Mark Cavendish had partnered with Oakley to create a first line of vision defense, an optic to harken back to the Lemond days of old, a blow their socks off lens and over the top frame which would leave all others off the back. Since I first got them a few months ago I’ve put a little over two thousand miles of wind, spit, sweat, rain, sports drink, cappuccinos and more than one insect over, at and through my Jawbreakers. So what’s the verdict Coach?
They are large, in your face and obnoxious but in a way a Hermes belt buckle is. It’s a statement. It’s so ugly, it’s beautiful and you know you want one. They aren’t for everyone’s face and I didn’t mind them while riding once they were on. I will say that I have seen athletes running in them and well, it just doesn’t go. Stick with using them on two wheels as they were designed. The Jawbreaker coverage is incredible and I did find my helmet, a Specialized Prevail, was a good fit. The Jawbreaker is supposed to be like a wind screen and when paired with the Prevail it is just that. It feels like the visor on a Formula One race car so you keep perfect peripheral vision. The frame is made from their proven highly durable plastic. The frames also use the Switchlock technology so you can have the ideal lens for every scenario. I use the Prizm lens and I’m not sure about all the tech talk Oakley preaches but I did see better out of it. Everything in sight was very crisp and the best part was they never fogged. Oakley puts some NASA kind of coating on the lens so even in the soggy swamp of a summer in Miami I never found a foggy situation, aside from my overall level of fitness at the moment. There are also a variety of Polarized lens options to go with the Jawbreaker which Oakley says will eliminate 99% of glare without any distortion. I believe them since I’ve used the Polarized option in other frames.
One very cool feature are the telescoping, adjustable arms. Have a short face, no problem, there’s a setting for that. I chose the middle setting which allowed for a snug fit OVER THE HELMET STRAPS. Yes, I just yelled in an article. Put your helmet straps under your sunnies arms. It’s just the way it goes. The Jawbreaker nosepiece fits snugly and one small gripe is that due to their slightly heavier weight I felt a few times as if they were sliding down. This didn’t happen often but coming from the perfect fit and feel of the Radar Path EV anything else would pale in comparison. Maybe a Jawbreaker SL lightweight version is in the making.
All in all the Jawbreaker is a fun, high performing, brash and smartly engineered optic like no other. Barring installing a windshield on your helmet I would recommend them. They’ll help you sight the competition in your next crit race, tri or in my case the next croissant at the coffee shop. Ride on!