My job as a customer advisor at Bike-Discount allows me to interact with hundreds of customers every week that have the same passion as I do. The topic varies a lot, but when we talk about cycling glasses the most mentioned name is definitely Oakley. The California-based company’s eyewear can be seen everywhere when we turn the TV on to watch a bike race. It couldn’t be different, since top professional athletes have been working close to Oakley’s development teams to guarantee the final product is world tour level.
Oakley’s Helmets are also well known and the ARO5 MIPS, the most balanced option from their ARO series, was already seen a couple of times in the pro peloton. I had the chance to test the ARO5 in combination with the famous Jawbreaker, and a couple of their new road cycling clothes for 2022. In the next lines where I’m gonna explain why the ARO5 and the Jawbreaker are more than worth the investment and why I think that Oakley’s bib shorts and jerseys are the right choices for customers who are looking for a nice fitting kit that is surprisingly generous at the waist but still looks slim.
Aro5 MIPS – The perfect balance between Aero and Ventilation?
When Oakley launched their ARO series the Aro5 was immediately picked up by pro athletes. While the ARO3 was designed for ventilation and the ARO7 for time trials, the Aro5 was engineered to be a balanced option, as a well-ventilated and aerodynamic efficient helmet. Oakley’s mission was a success. The big vents at the front and the top guarantee a well-ventilated head. The helmet’s performance has been tested by Oakley and the helmet was already used by professional sprinters, including Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish. Just for reference: the two main vents at the front are around 30mm wide and 130mm long. That is big. The BOA® FS1-1 System uses a thin cord instead of the traditional plastic strips to keep the sides clean and to improve the eyewear integration. The sunglasses can therefore be easily stored on the designated eyewear dock at the front. I’m not a fan of keeping my sunglasses on the helmet but I have been making the effort “for science” and so far, no problems. The helmet does what it promises. Oakley equipped the Aro5 with the MIPS Brain Protection System, which reduces rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head. Despite the MIPS system, the helmet has a relatively low profile.
The Polycarbonate shell is light and the narrow shape gives the helmet an aggressive look. The padding is also very minimal: A stripe in the front and a small piece at the top of the head, which combined with the BOA chords makes the helmet feel very light on the head. The already known X-Static brow padding uses silver to inhibit bacteria growth and can be found in the box since this helmet is delivered with a silicone sweat guard on the forehead area. I could not find a lot of information about it online, but the experience I had was that the sweat was redirected to my temples instead of dripping down on my forehead. Feeling my temples wet was a new sensation but my forehead was kept dry, and the sweat was kept away from my eyes, so the concept works. The only downside to this silicone guard is that it left a big mark on the forehead every time I used the helmet. I tried to play with the settings, and lose the BOA chords a little bit, but after every ride, the horizontal stripes were there. To be fair, this isn’t anything new and I had helmets before that did exactly the same. It doesn’t bother me at all. But if that bothers you, you can simply change the front pad to the traditional one, included in the delivery, and voilá: problem solved. Also on the box is the much-needed helmet bag, that will avoid your helmet from getting all scratched when you throw it at the trunk of the car.
I had the chance to test this helmet on sunny days and even on the climbs, when the low speed and the elevated heart rate warms things up, my head was kept cool and comfortable. This is important because I did find a review online criticizing the helmet’s ventilation at low speeds. That was not my experience at all. But I didn’t compare it to 200 other helmets, I compared it to what I expected from it and to what I needed, and the helmet exceeded my expectations. I found the helmet very well ventilated and customer reviews around the web show major satisfaction. There are many aspects to be considered when choosing a helmet and I think the ARO5 has many positive points. If you like Oakley products and you wanna give their road bike range a try the ARO5 MIPS is definitely the choice for you.
Jawbreaker PRIZM Road Jade
The Oakley Jawbreaker doesn’t need an introduction. Developed in collaboration with Mark Cavendish, the Jawbreaker combines protection, ventilation, and a huge field of view. When you open the package and get the glasses in your hands you notice immediately that you are not holding some fragile expensive accessory. The full-rim frame is robust and according to Oakley provides good protection against anything that can hit you on the road, no matter the speed. It is also very durable, you can keep these glasses for years. Despite being very strong, the frame does not compromises ventilation, which is excellent in this model. My lenses haven’t gotten foggy at any moment during the tests, no matter how much I sweat.
The PRIZM Road lenses were developed specifically for road cycling and they make everything on the road crystal clear. Oakley developed these lenses to boost contrast in the environment. I knew what the lenses were engineered to do but I must say that they perform much better than I expected. The tones are accentuated everywhere and everything stands out. This version has Jade lenses, with a visible light transmission of 15%. Naturally, Oakley offers a list of replacement lenses that meet all wishes and tastes. The glasses’ field of view is huge and allowed me to give quick glances in all directions without missing anything that was around. If I was in the drops with my head angled down, the tall lenses allowed me to have a clear view of the road just by glancing up. The Jawbreaker was the highlight of my tests. If you haven’t used Oakley’s cycling eyewear yet, run to the closest shop and put one on. You can naturally also make a quick search at our Oakley page. High-quality sport sunglasses is what the company is known for, and the Jawbreaker has everything that Oakley has to offer for road cyclists.
Block Color Icon Bib 2.0
The Block Color Icon 2.0 have a very nice fit on the legs. The fabric is very light and flexible and wraps the muscles very comfortably, making these bib shorts a very nice option for the summer. The leg fit also make the bibs look very good on the body. The quick-drying material used for the short portion feels very soft on the skin. On the left leg, the californian company’s big logo can be seen in high contrast. Silicone grips keep the seamless leg endings perfect in place. The Cadence seat pad provides good support and is relatively strong. The mesh straps are well ventilated and keep the bib shorts well in place. Since I wasn’t simply using the bib shorts, but testing them, I took them to a couple of longer rides without an undershirt or chamois cream, to really feel the materials. In the first 4 hours under the sun, the Block Color Icon 2.0 performed as expected but after that my skin started really feeling the pad’s top layer and the fabric used for the straps didn’t feel so good on the sweating skin. To be fair, that’s not how we really ride. With a bit of chamois cream and a nice base layer, these bib shorts can be used even on the warmest days.
Sublimated Icon Jersey 2.0
The Sublimated Icon Jersey 2.0 has many features from jerseys sold at a relatively higher price. The elbow-length sleeves have no seam on the cut and are made with aerodynamic fabric. The panel construction provides a great fit on the shoulders and does justice to Oakley’s aero intents. The reflective stripes are another nice detail on the sleeve. Despite the slim fit, the jersey is very generous on the waist, which is exactly what many customers that contact us are looking for. With 1.80m, 92cm chest, and 78cm of waist I got the “S” size. Even so, the jersey was still loose on the waist area. The Material is also very flexible which will make the fit even easier. The side mesh inserts help with colling and are colored differently to add a bit of style. The same white and grey were used for the stripes on the back, which I found pretty cool. Another nice touch is the almost “V” cut of the neck. The pockets on the bag are big and can be easily accessed. Since the waist was a bit too generous for me I did experience the pockets sliding a bit to the side when heavy. They also moved a bit too much when I was accessing them, but that happened probably simply because of the sizing. A look at Oakley’s size chart can give you a hint if this Jersey is perfect for you or not. I had the chance to test this jersey under the sun and unfortunately on a “climbing day”, I did get my back rather sweat. Maybe I pushed the test a bit too far that day but I needed to see what the jersey could do. Overall, this Jersey offers a very nice performance for its price range. I really liked the shoulders fit and the construction is ideal for customers who want a nice slim fit jersey that doesn’t demand a skinny waist.
Endurance pkble Jersey
The green jersey on many of the pictures above is Oakley’s Endurance pkble Jersey. I got this one in “S” and the fit was exactly how I expected. So my recommendation for this one is very different from the Sublimate Icon 2.0: Check the size chart for the Oakley’s recommendation and, if in doubt about the waist circumference, get a size bigger. The fabric stretch in all directions. The sleeves are made with a mesh fabric that extends through the shoulders and shoulder blades, with only 55mm separating both mesh panels at the back. These panels play a big role on the jerseys breathability. The pockets are big enough and stay well placed behind the back while cycling even if full. The zipper pocket can easily be accessed with the right hand and is the perfect place to store important things like documents or money. This pocket is actually a very nice touch for an “endurance” jersey. The color scheme is really cool, and reflective details were added at the back to keep cars aware we’re there. At the front, the Oakley logo couldn’t be bigger so if you’re a fan of the brand, that’s your jersey.
Oakley Drops Road Gloves and Cadence Socks
To complete the kit I got the new Drops Road gloves and the Cadence Socks. The Gloves are light and the padding is not very thick and is concentrated on the thumb and palm. The 4-way stretch material allows unrestricted movement, which is an issue in many cycling gloves. The gloves fit very well and are very comfortable even on warm days on the road. The Cadence socks are also light and the material is very breathable. No matter how long the ride was, I felt no discomfort on my feet that were kept cool and dry. The back and calf were constructed with ribbed material to guarantee good contact between feet and shoes. A couple of good socks are worth having, and the Oakley Cadence is a great option.
My Oakley Road Bike Apparel Conclusion
The Oakley Aro5 and the Jawbreaker will be used by me the whole summer. Actually, since I got the Jawbreaker for testing I haven’t used any other glasses. As mentioned before both helmet and glasses exceeded my expectations. The Block color Icon Bib 2.0 combined with the Sublimated Icon 2.0 offer a very comfortable fit and the Endurace Pbkey Jersey is a very nice option for all types of rides. Every year Oakley is getting closer and closer to the traditional road cycling brands and if you are a fan of the brand, their 2022 collection is definitely worth a try.