We review the Oakley Jawbreaker Sunglasses to see if they can actually improve your performance, or if it’s all marketing.
We got our hands on a pair of the latest Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road sunglasses. And we’re ready to put them to the test. Our Oakley Jawbreaker review will cover the frame, lenses and design of this high-tech pair so you can determine if they’re right for you!
Table of Contents
Oakley Jawbreaker Review
Initial Impressions and First Bike Ride
The Oakley Jawbreaker sunglasses are the latest in Oakley’s sports range of sunglasses, specifically built for cycling. Featuring the ability to swap lenses for varying light conditions, the process is easy and convenient. Plus with a large visor-like lens, the increased viewing range offers superior performance! Keep reading as we dive into our complete Oakley Jawbreaker review covering every aspect of this frame!
Now to get a first impression, we got these home and took them for a first bike ride. In short, these are a fantastic pair of sunglasses, but there are a few challenges we experienced.
A lot of these initial judgments are relative to the Oakley Radarlock, another Oakley shield pair, and a go-to of the cycling community since it was introduced.
Oakley Jawbreaker Lenses vs. Radar Path
Let’s face it, if you’re looking at the Jawbreaker you’re likely interested in maximizing your viewing range and performance! To review the Oakley Jawbreaker lenses we’ll compare them against the Oakley Radar Path, another top Cycling pair.
The Jawbreaker lens definitely has a larger viewing range than the Radar Path. However, it only mildly beats the Radar Pitch in upper visibility. Overall the lens size is smaller than we initially thought from the photos online. If you’re worried about the Jawbreaker lens being too larger for your face, it’s definitely still worth a try on. You might be surprised!
The image below outlines the shape and size comparison of the Oakley Jawbreaker versus the Radar Pitch Lens. Overall, the Jawbreaker has more visibility towards the top of the lens than the Radar Pitch. In the end, they are both similar, but if you’re concerned with visibility, you’ll likely prefer the Jawbreaker.
Peripheral vision of the Jawbreaker lens isn’t that much better than the Radar. Nonetheless, if you’re a cyclist, this is still a step up from the Radar and Radar EV line. The Jawbreaker only seems a bit bigger than the Radar XL when considering the “jaw”, which adds a bit of bulk.
The reality of the lower “jaw” is if your eyes are looking that low, they likely shouldn’t be there (especially during cycling). In comparison, with most other lenses you’d be looking at exposed daylight. Overall the visibility is fantastic.
Vented Lens Design
The vent design worked out nicely while cycling. Compared to the Jawbone and Radar/Radarlock, the vents are a bit more inward (towards the face). And of course there are now two added vents to the center of the frame like the Radar XL.
Wind was not a problem, and when riding with a mask, neither was fogging. Honestly, the airflow was noticeably better across the ride.
Overall, I had no eye irritation, but I could really feel the flow in cold weather. Enough to make me consider a different lens in cold conditions. When we first saw the Oakley Jawbreaker on Mark Cavendish, it actually had no vents, so it is possible Oakley will release this option in the future.
One perk of this pair is the lower jaw that makes it more friendly to handle. You can set it down knowing the lens isn’t sitting directly on a table. Removing and shifting the pair on your face also comes with knowing you’re less likely to smudge your lenses.
Prizm Road lenses
Our Oakley Jawbreaker review pair features Oakley’s Prizm Road lenses. I’ll cover these lenses below but be sure to check out our complete Oakley Prizm Guide here.
Overall, I had no vision fatigue on my ride despite Prizm Road supposedly having letting in more light than a neutral lens. The light transmission for this pair is rated at 20% for reference.
When I initially wore these from the O-Store, my first impression was these can definitely be used as everyday lenses. They work for both sunny and low-light conditions. Oakley Jawbreaker Photohcromic lenses are also available. Similar to what we saw on the Echelon edition frame. You can read more about Photochromic and transition lenses in our complete guide here.
Overall, Prizm Road is a fantastic lens, but it can differ from the perceived tint on Oakley’s website. Regardless, this would likely be my favorite Jawbreaker lens, especially for cycling sunglasses.
Oakley Jawbreaker Frame
The Jawbreaker frame is composed of Oakley proprietary “O Matter” material. This reduces the overall weight of the frame plus makes it durable. Combined with the Unobtanium earsocks, grips, and advanced airflow design, this is definitely an innovative and well thought out Oakley design.
In summary, the Jawbreaker fits very similar to the Jawbone but with longer ear-stems. I ran these sunglasses on full length (more about this feature below) going for the tightest hold possible. This makes the stems almost just as long as the Radarlock.
The Jawbreaker hold on your face is really dictated by pressure rather than the Unobtanium strips. I hated how the M2 was the opposite. Oakley clearly gave attention to detail in flaring out the tips of the ear-stems to help prevent sliding even on the longest settings. It’s also clear that the lower jaw is sculpted strategically to aid airflow.
The photo below captures how the profile slims near the vent. This is designed to better follow facial contours and aid airflow.
Nose Piece and Bridge Design
The nose piece is a major highlight of the Jawbreaker frame. It’s “bridged” like the other shield pairs but the bridge is wide and supported (so it doesn’t move). This actually offers a more effective grip on the face, especially when looking down on a bike. We’re not sure if this is why it was designed that way, as the design could exist to allow it to bend with the Switchlock mechanism. But it works.
The center link to the nose piece is a thinner piece. Of course, the Oakley M Frame eliminates this centerpiece entirely, but such is life with a different swap mechanism.
Oakley actually did away with the nose pieces slits and flares from previous frames. Instead the nose pads are solid. They’re also deeper than the ones found on the Radar/Radarlock. The mounting surface is also more whole, compared to the the little pins of the Radarlock. However, it is a bit of a fight to make work, like working on earsocks. And it certainly feels like you might break them when you’re trying to swap grips.
Helmet Fit and Compatability
I found it a bit difficult to clear helmet straps, but overall it wasn’t a deal-breaker. I found it easier to go over the helmet straps by swapping in the Asian Fit nosepad, otherwise I would go under with a regular pad.
Going back to how the jaw is sculpted, I have high cheekbones and I’m very surprised I can use the regular pads. On the M2 and Jawbone, I needed the Asian Fit pads. I can go either way on a Radarlock (even better than the Jawbreaker) but considering Jawbreaker still has extra material below the lens, I still find the fit impressive.
In full transparency, I do have a large 59cm head. My nose is pretty narrow and like I said I do have high cheekbones. Like with any pair these aren’t necessarily a “one-size fits all”, even with adjustable stems. The Oakley Jawbreaker on your face is a large frame and you should know that before buying.
The Oakley Jawbreaker sunglasses offer several features including Switchlock technology, and adjustable ear stems. From my initial impression, I also found some challenges including swapping the lenses. Keep reading to see where we ultimately landed with our Jawbreaker review.
To start, the lens interface design is fantastic. Oakley found a way to do without the typical “hooks” in a locked-in setup (well, Switchlock as we know it).
But to be honest, it’s still a bit of a sticky process. Namely in terms of closing the jaw. It’s a pretty flimsy component and there was a post here citing that it’s very easy to remove. It doesn’t help that the upper rim is isn’t that rigid either. Maybe it’s just my pair, but there’s no way that jaw just goes right on without some careful aligning and fiddling. Edit: I found days later there’s actually a very easy way to do this – details and guide below.
Adjustable Ear Stems
The ability to adjust the ear stems of the Oakley Jawbreaker sunglasses is definitely a cool feature because it allows this frame to fit mutiple head shapes and sizes. But I do feel very uneasy opening and closing the latch. It’s a thin piece to start, and requires more pressure than say, the Jawbone/NRJ nosepiece latch.
I really feel like the interfaces are getting worn fast and I’m worried about these taking frequent changes. I’d also point out that the hinges for earstem adjustment are pins, not screws. So replacing the latch itself is a real question mark.
My best take on opening the ear stem latch is to avoid pulling at the end, and instead closer to the pin/hinge. This should reduce the likelihood of bending and breaking. But still, this all adds up to a delicate process and pair that just doesn’t work well in a sports frame.
There are supposedly 27 pieces that go into the Jawbreaker. Between this and the jaw closure, I don’t believe it’s fair to say Oakley cut any corners here. I really just hoped and expected the lens swap would be perfectly smooth and the ear-stem latches were an easier action.
On the Mark Cavendish Jawbreaker, the pins and metal center link/clip are green. My pair actually has some wear on one pin. This was my fault since the store associate let me inspect them before buying, but I was overexcited (literally the first buyer). I’m not really upset, but it’s something to consider if you’re customizing your Oakleys through OCP, etc.
The final details are that the ear-stems lock into place like sport pairs should. And you’ll find those same rubber pads in the lens interface as you do with the Jawbone or New Racing Jacket. The Oakley Jawbreaker sunglasses weigh more than a Radarlock XL. But it really doesn’t feel heavier than a regular Radarlock.
How to Easily Swap Jawbreaker Lenses?
Update: Took me a while to figure this out after fiddling with these, but there’s an even easier way to swap the Oakley Jawbreaker lenses:
- Bring the jaw up to the lens of the sunglasses.
- Then simply close with your fingers behind the outer portions of the jaw with a slight bit of forward pressure while making your way towards the center if necessary
Like the Radarlock it’s something to learn, but it can become very quick once you get it down. I originally found the process for that pair a bit tedious as well. In all, swapping Oakley Jawbreaker lenses can take under 20 seconds, so it’s not horrible by any practical stretch. Just not Jawbone-smooth of a process like I thought it’d be.
In the instances (multiple, so I can’t single anyone out) I’ve seen the swap demonstrated, everyone skipped a step, and that’s what I went on. In Oakley’s defense, the instructions (I ignored) are clear on it.
What is this step? Simply close the nose piece again with the metal hook folded back before opening the jaw. This gives so much more clearance than shown above.
I’ll admit I’m not the most complete Oakley fan and mainly look out for sports pairs. When the hint was dropped to keep an eye out at the start of last year’s Tour De France, I’ve been hyped ever since.
The M Frame 2 was a letdown (as well as to others), and generally, Oakley lately has been releasing a lot of gimmicks. While I do have concerns over the durability of the Jawbreaker’s mechanisms, the pair in its set and ready-to-wear form is great for me. This pair isn’t quite blowing my mind, but it does feature steady improvements and innovation compared to previous frames. From speaking with others, the new Flak 2.0 and Radar EV seems promising too.
It’ll be some time until we all know how worthwhile some of the complexities of this pair are. Once I got the lens swap down, my gripes with the process and execution imrpoved. I just wish it could be as simple as the Jawbone.
Where I’m on the Fence
I’m on the fence about the adjustable stem length. I feel like it only works for how tight the fit is. The profiles are flat so I can’t imagine the feature being a huge difference-maker for helmets.
To be honest, if Oakley would just make anything resembling a Range or M2 lens for the Radarlock, that’d pretty much be everything I could look for in a cycling pair. That could actually be what the Radar EV is. Maybe we can argue the original M is/was an end-all pair for function. But regardless the Oakley Jawbreaker sunglasses are a cool piece to change things up.
If Oakley wanted to produce something that got the job done on simple terms, this wouldn’t exist, Oakley wouldn’t exist. I Will re-iterate that this is an imperfect pair, but I undeniably like it. Also, I’ll admit to favoring the sense of excess and vanity that comes with the Oakley Jawbreaker.
Overall while there have been some improvements over existing Oakley shield designs, against the Radar EV, I’d say this is the only alternative in terms of fit and vanity.
- Lens shape/visibility
- Lower rim is nice to have for general handling
- Fit options
- Lens swapping process
- Questionably sophisticated
- Some parts feel fiddly and/or delicate
- Small parts (stem latches and pins) appear to not be replaceable if broken (at least my impression)
Note: Original content provided by member @Ventruck. This was adapted to article format and additional details added, but all credit to him for this amazing review!