Oakley has evolved from being a manufacturer for BMX grips to one of the most popular brands for glasses. It doesn’t matter whether they’re sports glasses, sunglasses or conventional glasses. And still the US-based company has a lot more to offer. After my colleague Felipe has tried the road bike outfit a couple weeks ago, I was the lucky one who got to ride around my hometrails in the mountainbike outfit. Newly equipped from head to toe (or should I say head to knee?) I hopped on my bike.
On the safe side – Oakley DRT5 MIPS
The DRT5 MIPS mountainbike helmet has been co-developed by the multiple world champion downhill racer Greg Minnaar and to me, I have to admit, the helmet is nothing new, since I have been using it in my free time for about a year now. I was convinced to buy the helmet when I saw how many innovations it has, that I haven’t known from any other helmet, e.g. the special glasses holder, the sweat-wicking silicone strip and the non-existent pads. No pads??? This can’t be comfortable!!! Yes, it can. And it is. Although – no pads is a little bit exaggerated. A small pad is located on the back of the head, but other than that the rest of the head is in direct contact with the MIPS-shell. The non-existant pads are forgotten after just a couple of meters and you can’t feel a difference to other helmets. Sounds weird, but it’s true.
However, no pads also means that there’s nothing that can absorb the sweat. So what are you going to do to prevent getting sweat in your eyes? The solution is a silicone strip, that wicks away the sweat from your face to your temples. This way your eyes and also your glasses stay sweat-free. However, these silicone strips leave a funny stripe-design on your forehead, which could cause some laughter. Anyone who’s not comfortable with that can just use the regular pads, which are included in delivery. MIPS® technology protects your head from multi-directional impacts with an industry-leading, patented brain protection system.
As a manufacturer for glasses, Oakley has thought of something very special. If the light conditions get too dark in the woods or whenever you want to stow away your glasses during a break in a beer garden, you can easily click them into the innovative holder on the back of the head. It also holds your glasses in place while riding on rough trails and it doesn’t only work for Oakley glasses exclusively, but also for glasses by competitors. If the weather gets worse or the trails even more rough, you can switch to wearing goggles thanks to the 60° adjustable visor.
Another innovation is the BOA 360 closure, which provides the perfect fit with a completely adjustable design. Unlike other systems, the head is surrounded by a fine textile cord instead of a plastic strap, which offers more space for glasses and a cleaner look. However, this thin cord cuts in slightly above the ears on humid days or when the head swells a bit due to high exertion. This is something you get used to very quickly. Otherwise you can simply make the helmet a little bit looser.
I would have liked for this visually appealing and innovative helmet to have a Fidlock magnetic closure. I also don’t want to hide the fact that with a weight of over 400g this helmet is not a lightweight, but this has never bothered me during my rides.
Perfect view – Oakley Sutro Lite Sweep PRIZM Sapphire
It’s impossible to imagine Oakley’s product range without the Sutro. By now, there must probably be about 50 different variants of it. The models differ in frame color, frame shape, lens color, lens shape and lens technology, which makes sense, since mountain bikers have to deal with completely different light conditions than road cyclists on a country road. It’s not that easy to get an overview.
The model, which I tested, is called Sutro Lite Sweep PRIZM Sapphire. „Lite“ refers to the half rim frame shape. They are, of course, lighter than glasses with a full rim. „Sweep“ refers to the shape of the lenses, which, in this case, is the version with slanted lenses. This also saves some weight and looks really good. However, the glasses are a little bit in the field of view, which you only notice when you glide along easily. As soon as you’re focused on the trail and you’re in your zone, you barely notice it. Maybe you won’t notice it at all. „PRIZM“ is Oakley’s exclusive lens technology and has been developed to optimize colors and contrasts and to improve the visibility of details – which is very noticeable. „Sapphire“ refers to the color of the lens.
Basically, you can never go wrong with purchasing Oakley glasses. The frames made of O-Matter® material are well-designed, exceptionally lightweight and robust. The nose pads and the temple ends made of Unobtainium® offer best wearing comfort and prevent slipping even when sweat starts to build up. Anyone who’s looking for high quality bike glasses in a retro design will make a find with the Oakley Sutro.
Protection and grip – Oakley Drop in
When you look at the Drop in Gloves, you immediately notice the knuckle protection. The small pyramids made of PVC are supposed to protect your knuckles from abraisons that can occur from contact with the ground or trees. The strategically placed silicone prints on the palm make sure that your hands stay where they belong – on the grip. Thanks to the mesh lining between the fingers and the ventilation system on the palm, the inside of the gloves will not get too warm, even on hot days. The 4-way-stretch material also makes an appearance here. To all influencers reading this: yes, these gloves are also touchscreen-compatible. You can easily keep the gloves on while taking a selfie. Oakley sells the Drop in long finger gloves in a variety of colors.
Trail comfort – Oakley Flow SS Jersey
The Flow SS is a short-sleeved jersey for hot summer days. The airy, but robust fabric made of moisture-wicking material makes sure you won’t get sweaty too quickly. Since the jersey is equipped with 4-way-stretch material it’s stretchable in all directions, which ensures freedom of movement and high wearing comfort. Also, there is enough space for protection gear. A small, hidden pocket with a zipper is located on the side, which offers enough space for a lift pass, energy bar or keys. When you can’t stop riding and it starts to go to dark outside, you won’t have to worry about not being seen. Reflective details on the lower back area make sure you will be visible when the sun sets. Anyone who thinks black is too boring can take a look at all the different color options that Oakley offers for this jersey.
Maximum freedom of movement – Oakley Reduct Berm Short
The Reduct Berm Short MTB Shorts come with a removable, padded liner short. Thanks to the silicone strips on the legs and the elastic hem the liner shorts always stay on their place. The pad is very comfortable and the comfort stays even on longer rides. The shorts, as well as the liner short, consist of 4-way-stretch material which raises the freedom of movement extremely. Just like the jersey, the Reduct Berm is equipped with reflective details to increase visibility in low light conditions. Besides a small pocket on the back, these Oakley shorts come with two regular pockets, which can hold as much as any „regular“ pair of pants would. Phone, wallet, keys – not a single problem for the Reduct Berm. Due to all these features these unpretentious shorts also look good off the trail. Another plus – according to Oakley, the sustainable fiber technology helps reduce environmental impact.
Packable wind protection – Oakley Elements pkble Jacket
I’m pretty positive that I’ve never carried a piece of clothing in my bag that’s as lightweight as the Oakley pkble wind jacket is. Even though it doesn’t weigh much, it still offers good wind protection and is durably water repellent. The longer cut back protects your rear side from unpleasant weather conditions, while the shorter front area offers high freedom of movement. The best feature of the jacket is the fact that it can be stowed in itself. Literally. All you have to do is stuff the jacket into the small pocket on the back. That’s how you receive a handy package, which easily fits into any backpack.
Knee – and elbow protectors – Oakley Drop IN RZ-LABs and All Mountain RZ Labs
The ergonomic design of the knee protectors Oakley Drop IN RZ-LABs and the elbow protectors All Mountain RZ Labs ensures a comfortable fit even on longer rides. The silicone hems and the additional velcro closure on the knee protectors make sure that the protectors always stay in place. The thin neoprene pads don’t add a lot of thickness, but are still certified after EN 1621- Level 1 CE. There’s an added EVA-padding on the sides, which offer additional protection. In case of a fall the kevlar material on the front will make sure that the protector won’t rip. All in all, the Oakley Drop IN RZ-LABs knee protectors and the All Mountain RZ Labs elbow protectors are very comfortable and well ventilated guards, which should not be missing on any trail adventure.
For rough trail action – Oakley Elements long pant
The Oakley Element pants are perfectly suitable for some bike park action or trail tours in milder weather. The adjustable sliding waistband, which acts as a sort of belt, keeps it where it needs to be. The pants offer enough room for the thighs and the 4-way-stretch material offers a lot of freedom of movement. There’s enough room in the knee area to wear protection underneath. This area is reinforced with kevlar, so that in case of a fall your pant won’t rip. To reduce contact with the chain, it is cut a bit more narrow in the lower part. The laser-cut ventilation openings on the inner side of the thighs and the hollow of the knee ensure some air exchange. Just like the shorts, the Element Pant comes with two zip-pockets with plenty room. Reflective details, which make you more visible in low light conditions, aren’t missing either.
My conclusion of the Oakley trail outfit
Once you’ve removed all the labels (9 for the shorts!) all the mentioned products are comfortable to wear. They convince with their high quality and show, due to detail solutions, that Oakley really has put their mind into it. The helmet impressed me the most – I actually own two of them now. If you like fancy designs, you probably won’t like the unpretentious Oakley ones and dark colors too much, but if you do -> GO FOR IT!