The Oakley Sutro S are a scaled-down version of the somewhat over the top Sutro model. With a smaller overall size, these will suit either the smaller of face or those who don’t want to make quite such a statement with their eyewear. They’re available in a range of six frame and lens combinations to suit a selection of fashion and activity proclivities.
The Prizm Trail Torch lenses fitted to the pair I have here are designed for Medium light conditions and offer 35% transmission. They have a rose tint which is designed to increase contrast on the trail for better depth perception and picking out trail textures and features. They’re also part of Oakley’s Impact Protection range, offering some protection for your eyes from debris flying at your from the trail.
The glasses come in a lightweight but protective case, and a spare nosepiece is included. The rubber – sorry, Unobtainium – nosepiece is deigned to stay grippy even when sweaty, and is the only rubbery element on the glasses. It’s flexible, but not adjustable – it just sits on your nose wherever the fit takes them, rather than being a more Plasticine like substance that can be moulded into different positions. The frames and legs are ‘O Matter’ plastic, which is thin on the legs to accommodate helmets. Replacement lenses are available for £70, and you can even buy special Oakley cleaning kits – but I just take mine into the shower at the end of a ride.
I like how these glasses fit on my face – they sit snugly and don’t annoy me by slipping or being too much in my field of vision – which is just as well given there’s no adjustment on these glasses. With some helmets I have felt that there can be a bit of a pressure point behind the ears, but a bit of jiggling usually relieves this. Even though they are the Sutro S model, I still find that they sit quite high, coming up well above my eyebrows. On the one hand this is great for protection and keeping bits of moor out of my eyes, but on the other hand I have found some helmets clattering against the tops of my glasses on rough descents.
With their high position, they strike me as a shape better suited to road or gravel riding than mountain biking – in the drops the lenses are large enough that you’re not looking into the frames. Plus, if you have a less bulky road helmet rather than a mountain bike one, you’re less likely to get the bashing of helmet on glasses.
The clarity of the lenses is good, however I personally am not sold on the tint. It’s too dark for dull days and evenings, but in bright sunshine I find there’s not enough protection from glare. And while the colour makes green things look quite lush and distinct from brown things, I don’t find that the pink hue helps with picking out the various shades of brown that where I live make the difference between rocks, mud, deep mud, sloppy mud, and solid ground. Having said that, I may be particularly sensitive in this regard – my contact lenses don’t help me see quite as well as my usual glasses, so with any sunglasses I’m starting from a point where I feel my eyes are a little more strained than usual. I’ve had other glasses where I’ve also struggled to pick out light and dark, and these were by no means the worst. Indeed, you’ll have spotted them in many a photo shoot these last few months, proving I’ve been happy to wear them time and time again. During that time I’ve not managed to put any scratches on the lenses.
For not too gloomy and not too bright riding, you may well find that these offer a comfortable option, though you may need to pay attention to how well they play with your helmet if it has quite a low brow. Personally, I’ll be using these more for drop bar action rather than mountain biking, and seeking out something with more glare protection for the bright days of summer. They’re coming, right?
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|Tested:||by Hannah for 6 months|
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