April 29, 2015, @YakuzaFloralGangsta brought attention to Oakley's new attempt at creating a premium eyewear to go with their then-collaboration with Scuderia Ferrari. Forgive me for missing names, but I also recall @supersharp being a bit in-the-know as well.
(prototype version; picture sourced from @Shade Station 's product page — please let me know if you want this picture removed)
Ferrari Edition " Ferrari Carbon"or "Oakley Carbon Prime MotoGP"
- Extremely limited
- Carbon, Woody. Carbon everywhere
- Designated as the "SF-16C" (thanks @supersharp )
- 2,000 USD
- 2,500 USD — no, 4,000 USD for the Ferrari edition (shows 2,155.17 USD on the ShadeStation product page, which I don't think ever sold a pair since they never hit true production)
- We joked about how much cooler the case was than the actual pair (if you can find a pic of it)
- "Big Big Chubbies"
(original thread started at OakleyForum)
But long story short, over two years passed. We saw the take-down model, the Carbon Shift, hit shelves for some time now. Word finally got out around Q2 2017 that the (first) collaboration was to be with the FIM MotoGP, with a price "scaled down" to 610 USD and limited to 100 units (or so we continue to speculate). Included was a MotoGP microfiber bag and a canned case quite obviously re-used from the Madman/Badman. The official designation of this uncertain über pair? The "Carbon Prime".
This particular edition is the "Carbon Prime Limited Edition MotoGP"
SKU OO6021-0463~(I619XX -I62XXX)
CARBON PRIME MOTOGP™ LIMITED EDITION | Oakley
To me it doesn't seem to read in completely proper English. Pretty sure "MotoGP" should preclude "Limited Edition". Could just be me. Luxottica is technically based in Italy, and it sounds like they just cobbled this up to recover from the terminated collaboration with Ferrari. They literally considered white icons as a highlight feature (at the website). I guess it's the true color to go with, but of all things to know where your money went....
On the first of June, I just checked my usual sites in the morning before heading to work. I noticed @Oakleynerd posted in the thread linked above, alerting the members of the OakleyForum that Oakley launched the Carbon Prime online. I threw in my "bid" presumably 5 hours since launch, and it was very unlikely that I would have a successful transaction for one of the "100" pairs available.
*apologize for the pics looking blurry due to compression. I'm staring at this very photo in my phone as I type this and it's literally as crisp as snap, crackle, and pop.
Someway, somehow, along with others who ordered later than me, Oakley successfully took my money. I hope this review helps summarize the existing threads, and covers whatever needs to be covered for whoever is considering hunting down a pair or any future Carbon Prime release. Lots of words.
Carbon. Carbon Fiber. Carbon-injected O-Matter. Carbon Prime — what is it all?
The stems are carbon fiber. Simple, flat carbon fiber. There is a curve/contour as well as hammer profile.This has been showcased on the earlier Carbon Blade, and take-down model Carbon Shift to an extent. Earsocks slip over the ends and screws secure these carbon fiber arms to the temples. I am concerned about if/how Oakley plans to support replacement earsocks, because I'm pretty sure these can slip right off.
This isn't like the machined carbon fiber you'll find in the C-SIx. Dare I say it's not all that impressive from an engineering standpoint in modern day. We just rarely see it on eyewear so casual consumers get a bit of a rise out of it. I mean it's just...nice. I personally would take more intricately-shaped alloy over this any day of the week.
This is what it looks like when you're drunk
The orbitals,are carbon-injected O-Matter. Some people have their doubts on this material setup. It's not a marketing ploy. It's a legitimate approach to creating a strengthened material with the upside of having multi-directional reinforcement. In some ways, it can be better than simply-laid out carbon fiber.
Windy day, which explains why a lot of dust and stuff got on the lenses.
Carbon injection has been used in various applications before. First example that comes to mind are Shimano's higher-end pedals. They have that same flat appearance, but you can make out scattered fibers in sunlight. You have to look closer since there's less estate in which its applied. I had my own doubts to how much carbon is mixed into this blend, but in the picture below, it is apparent.
This particular edition of the Carbon Prime comes with Prizm Daily Black Iridium polarized lenses. In brief review, I find these to be more neutral than VR28 BIP, but there is that tad bit of contrast over Black Iridium. Unfortunately I cannot comment on the comparison to OO BIP or regular Prizm Daily, latter of which I assume is simply a difference of light transmission and finish. In all, PDBIP seems nice, but too soon for me to say where it stands in my all-time favorites.
The highlight feature to most consumers: the temple and hinge setup. Much piston, so titanium, very hinge. There's a very positive feel to the opening and closure of the arms. The cuts into the titanium housing are finished very nicely. It really comes off as one of life's fancy things — no, fancy tings. No "h".
But on the flip side, it's a small assembly. I wouldn't be surprised if there are not even springs in there because it's not smart that something under pressure is so close to your eyes. That's an impending lawsuit or injury just begging to happen. Nonetheless, this assembly can still pass as impressively intricate, but nothing that makes a statement. It won't be noticed on the street, but rather in conversation. The onlooker wouldn't even bring it up, but rather see the "O" logo and look it up on their computer at home to further deliberate their interest.
Believe me when I say the entire pair looks bigger in pictures. The orbitals are smaller than the Jawbone's. With my limited amount of reference pairs on- hand, I'd say borderline Flak 2.0. The end opening of the stems is very narrow, more-so than the Radarlock. Pair that with the fact the earsocks cover the tips, and you do need both hands to put on the Carbon Prime. It's not brain fissure-tight, though. The carbon fiber stems have some give. If you look through the pics, you'll notice there's space for the temples to deflect a bit further outward from the resting position. But yes, the Carbon Prime on the smaller side.
On the face, it's light. You could say it feels like a wire pair. The nose piece is preset a bit narrow, so Asian Fit nose pads need not apply — although you can adjust narrower/wider carefully if need be. Yet the resulting hold is very secure. The frame/lens spacing is relatively casual with minor gaps. Perhaps some may dislike the bottom coverage or lack thereof if you're used to sport/wrap designs.Nonetheless, cheek and brow interference is expected to be a non-issue for most.
The Carbon Prime cost me a total of 663.68 US dollars to be exact. This is more than three times the price of the average Oakley pair. Included is a not-so-original case I mentioned early on, which the Carbon Prime doesn't really fit into — I'm not kidding. On the upside, it's not rattling, but I'm personally not a fan to putting undue stress on such a pricey frame. Add the also-reused microfiber bag, and the obvious "plan B" of a collaboration...This really hasn't been the best overall package by Oakley. To me, the money just went to the eyewear itself, and the hope that there really are only 100 pairs. At the time of this review, @pjd1234 has got been on scalp patrol, noting attempts to drive up the resale value upwards of 2,000 USD. I'll get into value later, but I'll tell you already: don't be a sucker.
I wouldn't say this is the worst Oakley has done. In fact, far from it in my mind. The Madman Raw, with its cooler case, magnesium make up, limited run of 150 units and I think a book....was also a twig of a pair retailing for a whole grand. The retail Madman and Badman have been discussed thoroughly. Ask anyone if those were truly worth 400+ USD. There was also Carbon Blade, which was seemingly re-hashed from a Ray Ban design and can also break in very non-Oakley fashion.
But on that note, the Carbon Prime is a far cry from bombproof. I haven't found reason to expect it to be any less reliable than your typical eyeglasses, but you're going to be as careful/selective of when and where you wear it just like the pairs I mentioned above.
Oakley Carbon Shift Polarized in MATTE BLACK / BLACK IRIDIUM POLARIZED
I never took ownership of the take-down Carbon Shift, which literally takes every design cue (sans pistons) of the Carbon Prime and softens it a bit — like the Pit Bull vs. Pit Boss. I originally thought I'd be having the Carbon Shift instead of the pair I'm currently reviewing, and call that end of story....but it just didn't fit me at the nose (too wide for me), and I was disappointed that it didn't come with rubber nose pads to start. I don't get why a pair would cost above 300 USD and not have something as simple as that. However, if it does fit your face, it's still a very good-looking pair. Color options are in your favor, it's likely a bit more robust than the Carbon Prime, and you can find pairs below 200 USD if you try hard enough. Like I said, I thought I'd be owning a Carbon Shift instead of the Carbon Prime.
My last recollection of the fit comparison is that the Carbon Shift lenses seems a bit bigger and run closer to the face.
And so all that discussion leads me to the last pair I believe to have lived up to a premium price point (apart form the unfathomable C-Six).
Lenses cut by and purchased from @Chris A Hardaway
The Pit Boss II was a functionally-improved version of the original with tweaked geometry and Unobtainium contact points. A functional derivative of a pair that Jim Jannard was involved in. Undoubtedly stylish pair with a lot of substance, which was effectively capable for active use and quite frankly meant to be worn, topped off with a solid wooden box you could sniff all day. Their only fault was their retail price hike at a similar 600 USD. Combined with the simple lack of Elite logos, these were slept on to the point they could be had for as low as 1/3rd their retail value.
Now I don't mean to go on a tangent, but a depreciated Pit Boss II is one of the best buys out there. At least in my mind it was the last "premium" pair that anyone could put on with the same peace of mind and expectations of protection as with any regular Oakley pair. I definitely would say, go to the Exchange Forum or whatever, and get a pair if you haven't already, before bothering to chase down most anything else in the premium price bracket that isn't an X-Metal.
So where does the Carbon Prime stand?
In respect to this limited(?) edition, it's only limited to me because of the number. It could've done without the MotoGP affiliation because it all seems so obviously cobbled-up. "Ooooh the case is rubber-ish like tyres!" Man, get out. What this should've been, to me, was a limited debut edition of the Carbon Prime that celebrates the brand itself instead of a collaboration. They went with the basic, fundamental colors: black and white, as we'd see on all Oakley signs and headers. It would've made more sense to me. But go figure: those pistons needed marketing context of some sort.
If you're a die-hard collector out to get every.single.pair to exist with the "O" branding, yeah I'd get it just to get it — expect to pay a premium, but nothing outrageous. A couple hundred up from the original price if unopened is not crazy to me, when we're talking about keeping a long-invested, otherwise complete collection intact.If we're talking over a grand, I'll honestly tell you that you shouldn't let this break your collecting bug. You'd have to be a certain weird-o who buys 10 of almost everything in life.
But yeah: it's not like it complements the X-Metals of this world. That is still a complete collection in itself.
If you are of the general Oakley fandom and hated to miss out because you simply wanted a pair, sit tight for possible future releases of the Carbon Prime. They can be limited again, or as cheaper and wider releases. For this particular edition, unless you want these exact colors, lens, and are into that MotoGP etching, the Carbon Prime isn't worth bending over for above retail. It's far from being the best way to spend 600 USD, however I do think this is a legitimately cool pair, and they feel pretty nice in-hand.
Unless it's discovered that the Carbon Prime self-implodes, I wouldn't quite say it's a rip off of any sort. I genuinely like my pair. I could return it ,or sell it with a possible minor gain, but I won't. I do like it. It is a showcase of Oakley in a new guise. If there is a more general release, especially if it can line up with a future F&F or whatever discount, I might just do it.
We have seen Luxottica take this brand, and re-shape it to appeal to the ordinary masses. What I find happening here, is that building upon the casual market, Lux is looking to establish Oakley in the designer market as well. I'd continue to expect some kind of sport or machine-inspired aesthetic, but nothing of the bold and intimidating character that originally drew many of us to the brand, and surely with less mind to performance practicality.
I don't want to be the guy who has to tell people to "accept it", but we are almost a decade into this brand changing hands and it's not going back. This is Oakley today. I never cared to buy something like Ray Bans for the sake of having a toned-down, more acceptable pair that blends better into casual settings. Coach, Prada, whatever. That stuff is also ridiculously expensive. But if I ever needed to fill that void, the Carbon Prime has done it for me. It can fit in, yet you still know it's different in the details, and perhaps still a smidge better in any arbitrarily Oakley way possible.
Bit of an update: I rode with it. Not really all that bold of a move considering Lance Armstrong has ridden with his C-Six before.
I dunno if @Oakleynerd can consolidate this post with my original since there's an attachment limit. And for whatever reason my browser isn't letting me make full edits in the first place anymore.
By no surprise, since I didn't crash, the Carbon Prime held up perfectly fine. Of course I won't do it often in order to avoid wearing out the earsocks sooner than later, but I wanted to experience how the pair would work out.
Between the float and security that comes with the fit, as well as the leeway for hyper extension of the stems, which allows the wearer to pretty much control the horizontal angle — if you're one of those people who can notice when one orbital seems closer than the other — it's actually remarkable stuff. I would like that last part to be incorporated with sport frames in the future because I sometimes feel some frames are a bit off-center for my face out of the box.
The Carbon Prime also seems to fare very well at holding an adjusted forward tilt if necessary, and I flat-out never adjusted the pair during the ride.
I would actually say that the overall feel is similar to the Zero EV, but a bit more secure since there's an actual frame in place. The hammer profiles are a bit more forward than I'd like (I've noticed this with the Radar EV as well), but helmet straps are more or less cleared.
The Carbon Prime's orbitals aren't EV-tier but I didn't have any issues with visual interference at the brow. Eyeballing the distances between bottom side of the stems to the top of the orbitals, it's comparable to the Jawbone.
Fogging was a non-issue. Granted, I do find there to be some spacing on the lower side of the orbitals. However, I had zero issues with with light leaks or wind at any angle.
It does look out-of-place being so small and all. If onlookers didn't catch the hinges, they'd probably think I was just wearing some transition eyelgasses or something.
Between riding and driving, my opinions on Prizm Daily BIP haven't really changed. It's pleasantly neutral, but if I had to dwell further, it's acting in true Prizm fashion. By this I mean it's coming natural to the (well, at least "my") eye for the intended purpose of simply looking out in sunny conditions. By no means did this improve any visual acuity — that's what Prizm Road is for — but I had no eye fatigue whatsoever.
It could just be me, though, but one nitpick is I seem to react slowly to green lights using this lens. Not 100% sure on the science/logic, but I guess it does wash out a bit.