Rustpot

M Frame Lover
8,749
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Clarkston/Romeo MI
A few of the people that expressed recent interest in these;
@schnitzeraffe @JOHN Oakley RadarFan @Ventruck @Iridium Fear @Eric Short

I've been a fan of the M Frames for a while now, and I've felt that every new iteration of the M Frame (I do not count the M2) has been a step forward in terms of design, fit, utility, comfort (arguable between the 2.0 and 3.0), and other factors. The Alpha doesn't disappoint.

Note: This review is not for the entire 'Ecosystem', which includes the Helo and Halo, only the glasses.

Initial Impressions
When I first unboxed the pair I was a bit surprised at how bulky they looked. The lens does need to double as a goggle lens, but as soon as I set them with my 3.0 pair it was even more evident.

27576050-71AC-4F03-A923-0F31A724AC85_zpswav9mopy.jpg


Wow.

But overall positive. They feel light on the face, not tight, no movement, great sight lines, a touch short on the cheeks for me (but it's hard not to be). From a cursory glance the other night they got the thumbs up.

Weight
Immediately after seeing their size comparison I wanted to get them on the scale and compare them to the 3.0

Ballistic M Frame 3.0 weighs in at 29g
Ballistic M Frame Alpha is a stout 34g!

Referencing my old weight thread, this is on par with a Jawbreaker and a Fandango, not exactly the lightest "sport" pair Oakley makes.
How do they measure up? Weights of some different pairs

Features
Once we start getting into the frame we can see where all that bulk and weight comes from.

First off, these behave less like an M Frame and more like a Radarlock. FINALLY they've ditched the goofy clip that has been a trademark of the Ballistic M line since before the 2.0 debuted. Instead the lens is inserted sideways by way of an angled slot in the lens.

One of Oakley's more intense lens cuts
EB52527F-50A0-426C-9189-DE359D1C9F3B_zps3m0db9fc.jpg


And the lenswork is made possible by way of a hinged temple
F4FF1EE6-3752-4F82-887C-D9F4FBB728E0_zpsghbol3h0.jpg


Overall, lens swaps aren't difficult. Pop open the hinge, unclip the temple, pull out the lens. Slide the new lens in, line up the switchlock, snap it shut.

The major difference from the Radarlock mechanism is that the Alpha uses a simpler clip over the spring-loaded latch.
267D377A-9833-4B0D-AD9E-4C6FC7CD2534_zpsclz9u7qr.jpg


And this also shows us a nifty feature - the stems have overtravel stops at the hinges to keep them from contacting the lenses.

Here's the other temple, which is also sprung into place from the O Matter frame.
A988BC39-5154-45C2-A0BF-E155953B38DD_zpseobuk96g.jpg


And that also shows us MADE IN USA. Not sure why, I just like seeing that on my Oakleys.

The markings on the other stem include Ballistic M Frame, Z87+, and the Alpha logo (which has a certain Metallica feel to it I think).
F30C51C8-18B7-46E8-BF5A-DAEC5FEB785A_zpsv0llrc6n.jpg

32DC0F1E-318C-4119-BAF7-4E84E7802704_zps7d7raxwh.jpg


Regarding the fit of the stems, the fit is all-new for an M Frame. It still relies on arm tension over ear socks like the 3.0, but instead of the entire stem acting as a spring clamp only the end is contoured to give the frame grip, which gives it a softer, looser feel over the 3.0, but still very secure.
67EB406F-BC31-4C5B-965B-F1EB8DB008B2_zpsc3m3dkuf.jpg


Onto the frame and the reason for the size - venting!

The frame has a channel above both eye which allows venting of the lens.
99A11EA7-6C38-4203-B387-6B081F8271BB_zpsmazbub8w.jpg

695CFDA6-6BCC-48C1-AED2-4C8652D3F8C7_zpsdcp5apnt.jpg


Heck, even the nosepiece is vented. It's worth noting that the trend of M Frame nose pieces continues, this is the hardest nose piece I've ever felt, which bodes well as my 3.0 noses are holding up much better than the older generations made of softer rubber.

PART 2 CONTINUES BELOW
 

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Rustpot

M Frame Lover
8,749
2,023
Clarkston/Romeo MI
The lenses are marked clearly with Z87+, as well as the month and year of manufacture.
A7684732-56AF-4AED-B6D9-9BAC5249FE2E_zpsraaaca7q.jpg


The size of the lenses is very comparable to the Agro/Extended Strike of the 3.0.

Taller only by way of the center frame hook
E178CFF6-7FF7-42C8-9864-B4C70F5E2B1F_zpswh6raaar.jpg


And about even on lower and side peripheral
3AF2A6D3-E5F2-4B25-8BF9-8C6226344FFB_zpsfkfkrtz0.jpg


Comparing photos of the fit they're pretty similar

35B767C5-95AA-4BAB-B66D-15146FC02073_zpsrfy6wnod.jpg

4523158B-5462-4AF5-9E1D-1E02A1006F60_zpsdugrdetu.jpg

03F0DFEC-8C79-4DD6-8449-B27BD441BD8E_zpsrzsqoyup.jpg

CC87BCFD-EF77-4BC9-9D3C-D6A19147937F_zpsmkppkap3.jpg


Conclusion
This pair is VERY feature packed. Definitely the most advanced, purpose-driven pair Oakley makes given that the Ecosystem as a whole includes a variety of lenses, frames, goggles, gaskets, straps, etc. The lenses are anti-fog treated, vented frame, switchlock, etc.

You see, most glasses go to 10. You're at 10, all the way up, all the way up... where can you go from there? Nowhere. But these, these go to 11.
 

Ventruck

Oakley Expert
3,467
693
Thanks for the tag. Definitely wanted to find out about how these pan out as a dedicated performance pair. Not sure what I should applaud more: the detail of the review, or the detail by Oakley on designing this pair. The swapping system is very cleverly executed. Most people unfamiliar with the pair wouldn't think for a second it had a Switchlock. I slept on the details early on and didn't expect it myself. Seems you caught everything.

Venting was an awesome solution to not compromise coverage. That's the one feature I wish carried over to general release pairs.

Only thing hanging in my mind is the stops for the stems. The Radar EV could collapse without lens contact, but I guess creating such geometry for the Alpha's would conflict with narrow spacing and the tension-dependent fit. If the stop isn't hitting your face in use (er, no offense; just know you have a big face based off previous lens demands), guess it's a non-issue. Also noticed that the lens cut has decent spacing from the cheek bones.

Plain awesome.
 

Rustpot

M Frame Lover
8,749
2,023
Clarkston/Romeo MI
Only thing hanging in my mind is the stops for the stems. The Radar EV could collapse without lens contact, but I guess creating such geometry for the Alpha's would conflict with narrow spacing and the tension-dependent fit. If the stop isn't hitting your face in use (er, no offense; just know you have a big face based off previous lens demands), guess it's a non-issue. Also noticed that the lens cut has decent spacing from the cheek bones
I didn't notice they were there at first, until I played with the stems a bit. The temple area on these fits a lot wider than the 3.0, so there's no pressure or contact, very much a 3-point-fit pair, compared to others that have a lot of contact with the wrap - specifically the 3.0 which wraps like a headband on my head.
 

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