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.
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.
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.
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
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
And the lenswork is made possible by way of a hinged temple
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.
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.
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).
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.
Onto the frame and the reason for the size - venting!
The frame has a channel above both eye which allows venting of the lens.
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